| "If I could talk to the animals, learn their languages..." |
Here's your chance to become your own Dr. Doolittle in this fantastic zoological micromanagement sim from Microsoft!
You will soon become caught up in Zoo Tycoon. You begin the game with a piece of land and some money. With this you must construct the zoo, including animal enclosures, paths, garbage cans, seats, etc along with restrooms, food and drink stands (among other things). Zoo staff must also be hired to care for your zoo (zoo keepers, maintenance workers and tour guides). Money can also be allotted to marketing and research.
To be a successful Tycoon you must keep both the public and the animals happy, whilst not going broke. This reviewer recommends doing most improvements etc with the game on pause as things can get out of hand if you just drop animals in an enclosure that is not yet suited to them.
I also recommend getting one enclosure perfect – the zoo keeper will tell you when the enclosure is suitable – before going onto the next one, or moving on to any other task. This is another way things get out of hand. If in doubt, pause the game!!!!
Try going to the Microsoft website and downloading extra items such as a yeti, or Magnet the polar bear, (from the Baltimore Zoo). The menu system makes it simple for you to grab new items from the official site and also has the facility
Graphics are quite good, with you being able to see a lion picking people up and shaking them (if you put them in an enclosure with a low fence). You can also see each individual as they walk around the zoo, along with being able to track them and read their thoughts. The game runs smoothly enough considering the amount of clearly visible animation taking place on the screen at any one time.
Reading your guest's thoughts is essential to the smooth running of the game. You see, running a zoo is a business and unhappy guests means no zoo and no you :)
Audio is good without really turning your head, however the focus of the audio is more of an ambient effect, to give you the general impression of day to day "tycooning" without being the focus of the game.
Anything you can think of has been included in this title and it will keep you happily playing away for hours and hours on end just by using the game's original scenarios and creatures.
One of the real beauties of the game is the exceptionally strong fan base behind the title. Visiting fan sites will open up many new scenarios for you to download and new creatures for you to use in the Zoo.
As previously mentioned, Magnet the bear is downloadable as are many other real life beasties from various zoos around the world. Some clever cookies are also using their real life pets as zoo animals in this wonderful game.
Longevity is even more assured with the arrival of Zoo Tycoon: Dinosaur Digs coming to a store near you soon. We cannot wait to add that game to our review list!
Zoo Tycoon comes with our strongest recommendation and is a must buy title!
- Tory & Melissa F