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10-18-18 02:02 AM

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Review Results Remastered: Thrillville
Now with twice as much thrill with half the tracks.
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Mecha Leo
10-07-18 06:58 PM
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10-07-18 06:58 PM

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Review Results Remastered: Thrillville

 

10-07-18 06:58 PM
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Mecha Leo
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"As for your review, I feel that it drags a lot and has a little too much information that is not necessary in your review. You don't have to mention every little detail in the game to make a good review. Sometimes less is definitely more. And then, when you get to the recap, there are some things in there that you didn't even talk about in the main part of the article. Like the graphics and soundtrack..." ~ play4fun on the topic of my review.

Well, if that doesn't sum it up, I dunno what does. I mean, I still have way too much to say, but that's my problem. The graphics... make the environment pretty, but the people outside of cutscenes look like extras from Robot Chicken.

Thrillville was the Playstation 2's answer to a roller coaster tycoon-esque game. Now we have Planet Coaster, revolutionizing the theme park managing game industry with the implementation of cow mascots bouncing on their own udders. With such a lovely innovation in place there, what did Thrillville, and furthermore its sequel, Thrillville: Off the Rails, do to stand out? Quite a bit actually, LucasArts put quite a bit of effort into granting power to the player on top of making a theme park builder. They let you design a character, control the character as you travel around your own park, and interact with said park as that park's V.I.P. As such there's a good amount of content aside from just creating rides, though did such versatility come at the cost of focus?

The premise of the game is simple, you are the nephew/niece of an eccentric lab scientist who used his technology to create a wide-branch of Thrillville parks across the nation, and he will pass them on to you. In a disrupted, unfinished, or broken state. Thanks uncle Rick Mortimer. Let's start with the prospect of constructing your park. Each park is divided into three zones that match a, you guessed it, theme. Thrillville Timewarp involves different eras like the prehistoric age or an apocalyptic future war, Thrillville Paradise involves exotic locales like the Caribbean and Arabic deserts. Within each zone are three build zones, where you can place non-track based rides like ferris wheels and, uh, other spinners, as well as arcades and concession stands. And bathrooms, those are really important too. As for the main attractions, the coasters, race tracks, etc., you'll find ramps and stairways leading to the booths that allow for building those as well. You may think it would take a while to drive your character from point A to point B, but no, there's a sprint button that
turns you into The Flash. It's not even a fast forward, your character can just run at speeds that allow them to keep up with a smooth running highway! What is science!?

This is kinda my main gripe with the game, it's restrictive on how much control you get. The maps are already pre-designed, and you just fill in the blanks. There's a level of income, which was very lenient in my time playing, they basically give out free money for trivial things anyways like running around picking up litter at mach speed and doing mini games, but the real enemy is the power meter. Between the three zones, each park has a power capacity, and once it hits max you can't build anymore. So much for a perfect theme park, I can attest to all the times I was in the middle of crafting my super-coaster and then the meter went red saying I had too much, so I had to go back, delete part of the ride, make it shorter, or even worse, abandon the project all-together to remove some things. In addition, the roller coasters weren't even that cool, they play the build process very safe. Too safe...

Thrillville Off the Rails though is probably what I'd call the definitive version. I know, this is based on my review of the first game, but this sequel has just about everything that the original had except for different maps, and they refined quite a few issues. Now, as advertised by the game, you have a much higher degree of customization with your coasters, "whoa" parts that let you add extra pzazz and flair to the ride, and you don't even have to finish the coaster anymore! You can fling the car into the park and no one bats an eye, some visitors even revel in the carnage! Now if you run out of power, just leave the coaster as is, go delete the simulated Shrek Dragon Escape ride, then finish your project.

Remember that Mortimer guy though? The one who lent you his parks? There's a story mode. Great. Basically you have a set of missions and landmarks to achieve, build this under these restrictions, manage that, start this PR campaign, advertise on a London Proper magazine, color that thing eye-meltingly neon green, then once you have enough points to reach one of ten levels, you get more tools to work with, unlock the next park, and progress a forced conflict with a competing park, Globo-Joy, who makes their trampolines out of tofu or something. Also you interact with people in this game. Now the story-mode characters are pretty standard, you schmooze up to reviewers, challenge mini game experts, fulfill requests, but what is it like when you try and bond with average joes? Hoooo boy...

Now I dunno a lot about dating sims, I doubt a lot of them are accurate, but the Thrillville series is probably the most accurate representation of relationship building I have ever seen in any game. Lets say you find a hot... blockperson that you want to date. Step 1: Greet the person with a handshake and claim you want feedback on the park. Step 2: Talk about your pet parrot Salty Joe. Step 3: Randomly talk about ancient Greeks fighting in colosseums naked. Step 4: Say how polar bears weigh ten tons and how, "that might break the ice". Step 5: Kiss. As for the real technicalities of how this constitutes as "conversation", everyone has a like, dislike, or neutral opinion to a certain topic. If someone doesn't like the food topic, that means they hate every form of consumable known to man. Also there's an affection mini game, shoot targets on a wheel to successfully pull off your romance mind trick. Your character belongs in Professor Xavier's school of "gifted" individuals.

Lastly, there's the mini games ever-present throughout the series, and between both games, they're pretty good! I actually spent quite a lot of time playing them, as there's some modicum of thought put behind each one. You have the standard sideshows, shooting targets, perfecting a hammer swing, then you have RC Carnage, where you bash remote contro- oh, RC. Well, you drive toy trucks into each other until they explode, then saucer sumo, knock hovering disks off the arena, along with more technical experiences like saucer SOCCER, which is like Lucioball before Lucioball even existed, and a VR experience about shooting robots in an arena, with multiple weapons to pick up and just about all primary conventions of a shooter!?

Of course my favorites were the arcade games. You have a stunt rider game with a scarecrow, Sparkle Island, a cute game where you rescue as many chicks as you can, then run to the exit before being killed by a giant robot (sounds more gruesome on text), a top-down adventure where you fight hordes of enemies in each level as a warrior, archer, mage, or generic tough guy, Bandito Chinchilla, a brawl sidescroller starring, you guessed it, a chihuahua, and at the very apex of everything, the space shooter Event Horizon, and that one plane game I never remember the name of. Choose one of four space ships, or planes, fight enemies, gain points to upgrade your weapon, fight cool bosses, these games are why I've been playing Gradius more than anything on the Switch's makeshift emulator. Finally are the more "real" mini games, where you take control of an electrician, janitor, or food stall to play a game to benefit the park. Finish a puzzle or time trial and, if you do well, fix a ride, get some money, or even entertain guests as a cheerleader. Yeah, there's a rhythm game too, and this is the perfect segue into...

So, I never did talk about the music in this game huh? Honestly, I'm disappointed in myself, the soundtrack was actually pretty neat. Now a fair amount of music is from outside sources, but a lot of music was also made explicitly for the game. Most of it is pop, which I'm sure many of us have varied opinions toward, but don't knock the whole soundtrack until you try it. In particular, the main theme of the series is practically "Whiplash" from Monkeynaught. I put it on while writing this bit, and dang, it still holds up. Could've been in a concert if Monkeynaught was actually a
real music group.

Now with Thrillville as a series representing a more personal connection to a park, that being the exploration on foot, the interaction, spending an excessive amount of time playing the mini games over the actual park construction, Thrillville isn't so much a coaster tycoon is it? Like I said, many things hold back the creative process behind designing the park, and while I enjoy a lot of the aesthetics, if you advertise a park building simulator, by all means, let the player build more, manage more, influence more. Still, I'd be lying if I didn't have my fun while playing, getting high scores on games (cause I toootally paid attention to those back then...) or investigating just how stupid the conversation topics can be. And yeah, when I did get to make a cool coaster and simulate it, I felt fulfilled seeing what I accomplished, which in the end is the magic about these kind of games. Yet as my final, final note... there's a button to scream. So during the whole ride I would press it, even in the booth, so I was just wondering how everyone feels about the freak going "heeeyyyaauuugh" next to them when the coaster is stopped. Fine craft dear LucasArts, Thrillville makes you FEEL like a mutant with numerous mental conditions.
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What does it mean to lose all meaning? That's not a goth thing, it just sounds like something that would make a robot explode.


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