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Zoo Tycoon (PC)

Released: 02/11/2001   |   RRP: £29.99   |  Save:  100%

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Zoo Tycoon (PC)

Release Date: 02/11/2001
Paltform: PC
Developer: Microsoft

Zoo Tycoon bears more than just a title similarity to Roller Coaster Tycoon: it even looks as if it's based on the same basic game engine. Building pens and paths, decorating, placing buildings and managing your staff, even the way your patrons look and how you tweak pricing all are extremely similar to the fun of Roller Coaster Tycoon. The game play consists of a series of inventive scenarios, sometimes building a zoo from scratch, and other times taking over a failing or failed zoo and bringing it back from the brink. Specifically, you've got to build pens and habitats with an eye toward the needs of each animal species. For example, putting bears in a savannah setting results in depressed, possibly sick, bears. You also have to tend to your human animals by including gift shops, restaurants, drink stands and bathrooms. Then you've got to adopt animals and hire zookeepers to tend your creatures. All of this costs money but cutting corners can result in irate customers and unhappy animals. Unhappy animals bore people, and worse they make it difficult to adopt more exotic and finicky creatures, such as pandas. Happy and well-fed animals will cavort and play, making your guests very happy. And happy guests mean more money for you to improve your zoo.It's a balancing act, keeping all the animals, keepers and little wandering people happy, but the game is also a decorator sim. You've got to beautify your park and it's easy to forget the specific scenario objectives and lose yourself in building the ultimate zoo. If you ultimately tire of the objectives, you can delete some of your fences and watch the animals run amok on your guests (sometimes, through negligence, they can break free on their own). The carnivores grab, pin, and fling your guests (no blood, and no killing here) and this lowers your zoo rating and dissuades people from visiting for a while. Still, it's great fun to watch.--Bob Andrews

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