Reviewed on PC


Reviewed By: Rick Casteel

Computer Platform: PC
Produced by: Electronic Arts
Price Range: $35-45
Learning curve time: 30-90 mins.
Age level: 10+
ESRB Rating: Everyone
Patches / Upgrades: Yes
Game Web site
System Requirements: Win 95/98, P200, 300mb free HD, 32 RAM

Genre: Simulation
Christian Rating: 4 of 5
   (slightly offensive)
Gameplay: 3 of 5
Violence: 5 of 5
Adult Content: 5 of 5

Simulators or "Sim's" as they are known in the gaming community, differentiate themselves from other types of games by having no real end points or completion for the player. Games like "Sim City", "Flight Simulator", or “Links” don't have an ultimate goal in which the game is completed. The idea behind a Sim is for the player to master the games primary theme. In "Flight Simulator", it's flying a plane; in “Links” it's golf; and in "Sim Theme Park", it's building and managing an amusement park. I can't fly, I have always restricted myself to Putt-Putt golf but managing an amusement park is right up my alley, or so I thought!

The idea behind “Sim Theme Park” (STP from now on) is a humorous one. The player gets to build and run a large “themed” amusement park. You select the rides, decide on how many rest rooms to have, how much to charge for fast food and who to hire. You have to layout the park, place the rides, set all the pricing research new technology, make sure the toilets are clean and the vomit is cleaned up.are we having fun yet?

“STP” gives the player 4 differently themed parks to manage. There is Halloween Land, Lost Kingdom, Land of Wonders and Space Zone. Two of the parks are open for development at the start of the game while you must earn golden tickets and golden keys to open the other two as you progress past the first pair. Tickets and keys are earned by keeping customers happy and encouraging them to spend a lot! One way the player keeps patrons happy is by researching and opening progressively more expensive and complex rides. Use Proverbs 8:12 to guide your park management; "I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions." The rides are fun to watch and you can actually “ride” them to a degree. There is also a roller coaster design mode you can earn which is one of the most challenging aspects of the game.

“STP” is actually a business sim wrapped in a fun looking package. Development and management is much the same in each park. Despite the change in theme, each park's rides and amenities are similar, as is the path to success. There is an ever-present helper that continuously pops up as you play to guide and direct you. He's great at first, but can get irritating after you learn the ropes. I kept hearing my son say "I know, I know!". In addition, when you cut him off while he's trying to tell you something, he makes sounds to let you know he's annoyed! Don't get me wrong, “STP” is a great game suitable for any member of the family. There are no adult themes or violence and no unwholesome activities (well, you can charge outrageous prices). My 12-year-old played non-stop for weeks through all 4 parks. But the game is too much like a real day at the park, you really anticipate going, its fun at first, but tiring and trying as the day wears on and when you get to the end you aren't in a rush to go right back!

Ultimately, “Sim Theme Park” suffers from taking itself too seriously. While the premise is humorous enough and the material and art comic in nature, the player just doesn't get to take part in the fun.

This is a game that's good for getting away from the regular pack of death and destruction games. With this said, there are still a couple things about the game which could still be annoying or even offensive to some. The main thing is the habit of “sims” vomiting when then get off rides. It can get rather obsessive after awhile (not to mention the misfortunes of those they depict in the introductory scenes). The other objectionable subject matter pertains to the themes of the parks. One is a Halloween park. As such there can be several different items to put in your theme park which pertains to death or dismemberment, for instance the bouncing ride is a brain that squirts blood. In the H. park there is also a statue of a demon possessed kid with a spinning head that pukes every so often. The point I'm trying to make is, even this seemingly innocuous game has its down sides. If you are looking for a good theme park game, it might be better to buy Rollercoaster Tycoon or the like. My Ratings: [3/4]
   —David, age 24

Comments from Young People…

Positive—It's a good game. Roller Coaster tycoon is better though. And in Halloween World the kid is not demon possessed--just sick. My Ratings: [5]
   —Daniel, age 12

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Christian Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Films for Christ or the Christian Answers Network.

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