RollerCoaster Tycoon 3: Complete Edition review - Gastronomic amusement

Written by Stuart Thomas on Thu, Sep 24, 2020 4:08 PM
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How well optimised is RollerCoaster Tycoon 3: Complete Edition for PC? 7.8


This is my status symbol. 

Weird? Yeah.

Disgusting? Sure.

But hear me out.

If I design my amusement park just right, then along the path from my entrance I pop a well placed cash machine. Then along to a food vendor to let them gorge on overpriced junk food and finally the path ends with them at the front of a queue. A queue to perhaps the most exciting and probably most dangerous rollercoaster ride ever to be allowed to open.

I am the Rollercoaster theme park manager. 

And the hallmark that proves I am doing my job perfectly? Well, despite the mountains of sick piled up at the exit to my lethal coaster, the disembarking customers will happily wade through the puke, buy more junk food and then pay me to get on the next rollercoaster as they navigate my path of gastronomic horror.

Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 came out years back, and while this is the modernized version, spruced up graphically for our larger monitors and more powerful machines, this enhanced edition still delivers what made that original a timeless classic. 

This is an addictive management sim, that has an appealing amount of humor, that doesn’t get in the way of the business and economics that make RC3 have purpose. You can zip around the park and fine tune pretty much every aspect of it. Everything a person can purchase can be micro tweaked up or down, to maximize your profit margin. Of course you don't have to get bogged down in that, but if you want to have ice in your soft drinks on one particular stall then you can set that if you want.

Obviously, the key game attraction in your, err, attraction is the rollercoasters. This game series has been around the block and the guys over at Frontier Developments definitely know how rollercoasters work. The game is bursting with a variety of coasters to choose from, with about a dozen categories and then you can literally build and customize them to however you want and even ride them yourself. Once you have run tests on them you can see how fun or exciting they will probably be for potential customers. 

The rollercoaster design tools let you adjust every corner and loop to a dizzying level of detail. But if that’s too much like hard work, there are tonnes of pre-built coasters you can just select and plop down, once you clear a space. Then you add where and how long the queue will be, where do you want the exit to come out, as you might want to feed your customers to another quieter part of the park. 

There is so much to sink your teeth into with Rollercoaster Tycoon 3, from managing and keeping staff happy, through to setting up a safari area, to designing themed sections of your park or even having a water section that uses the surrounding natural water features in your land. You can also arrange a firework display and set event triggers, perhaps getting the scenery nearby to move, as a coaster reaches a certain point around the track.

I suppose a negative could be said that the graphics still look a little dated. But in a genre where retro graphics could enhance gaming nostalgia and perhaps arguably improve immersion, it’s definitely not really that much of an issue.

Something that caught my attention with this latest offering is that Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 will also release on the Switch. My mind boggled at how difficult the control mechanism would be, trying to get a management system as comprehensive as this, boiled down to work on a handheld device. I gave it a go and while it takes a moment to get your head around, within 20-30 mins of playing the Switch version you'll be twiddling the left and right sticks in tandem to open and close menus and place the various attractions around your park. 

In short, the left stick controls the core menu selections, the right stick controls a menu for the individual item you wish to interact with in the park, like a specific ride. The rest is all standard affair, like shoulder buttons to zoom in and out, Y to buy and place an item and so on.

Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 is a timeless classic that is always worth being reminded about. Some things were done well to begin with and the Complete Edition brings us back to the thrilling excitement of management sims. And to top it all off you can get Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 Complete Edition for free on PC this week thanks to the Epic Game Store.


  • Easy to manage
  • Fun to master
  • Attraction/item variety


  • Old title



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