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Platform(s): PSP, PlayStation 2, Xbox
Genre: Simulation
Publisher: LucasArts
Developer: Frontier Developments

About Rainier

PC gamer, WorthPlaying EIC, globe-trotting couch potato, patriot, '80s headbanger, movie watcher, music lover, foodie and man in black -- squirrel!


'Thrillville' (PSP/PS2/Xbox) Developer Diary #4 - Screens

by Rainier on Oct. 30, 2006 @ 7:10 p.m. PST

Thrillville combines elements of simulation, party games and social interaction like nothing before it, all in one of the most console-friendly theme park titles ever to be released. Its charming, laugh-out-loud story centers around you and the theme park youÂ’ve inherited from your eccentric Uncle Mortimer. Only by keeping your guests happy and completing most of the hundreds of missions they present can you stave off the threat posed by the nefarious Globo-Joy corporation.

Thrillville is very different to other theme park games. Our main objective from the get-go was to re-create pretty much everything you might associate with the "theme park experience" - that feeling you get when you walk through the main gates, when the hairs on the back of your neck stand up as you realize just how much there is for you to do and what a great time you're about to have...

And the only way to do that: Depth. Lots and lots of depth.

In Thrillville, you're the boss, and so you're in charge of the park. EVERYTHING in the park. The building, the chatting with guests, the overall park management - EVERYTHING! And the BIG difference is that in Thrillville, YOU get to ride and play ALL the attractions.

Building Perfection

What would your theme park be without roller coasters? Fortunately, we have that covered, so you can build and ride the craziest coasters your imagination can come up with - it's been designed from the ground up to be easy to do on a console, and it's a blast! In fact, I'd say the coaster building is deep enough to be its own game by itself.

The building in Thrillville isn't done there, though: As well as coasters, you can also design race-tracks and mini-golf courses, which of course you can play and share with your friends.

The Customer Is Always Right (and Sometimes Worth Flirting With)

The depth continues in another game unto itself: Pleasing your customers. How do you know what they want? Try talking to them! In Thrillville, in addition to overhearing snippets from the guests as they walk past (they'll make sure you know if they need the bathroom!) you can chat to ANYONE in the park. And as well as seeing what they think of the park, you can talk over a wide variety of other stuff and make friends with them. This makes them happier, and happy guests spread the good word about the park (and spend more cash!). They'll also remember you between conversations, and once you are friends with them, you can challenge them to play on the attractions - or even flirt with them (if you're feeling brave, you can even do this under the noses of their current partners...). You may snag yourself a sweetie (or two, or three...)!

So as well as hearing about what rides your guests like, you'll also learn whether they're hungry, thirsty, think the place is a mess, or whatever. Again, Thrillville does things differently here. Sure, you need to hire groundskeepers, mechanics, entertainers to help you keep things running smoothly. But to train them what will you do? Click on a button? Nah! This is Thrillville!! You have to SHOW them how to do their job better - blast away gunk and suck up litter for the groundskeeper, solve fiendish puzzles to fix broken rides, and strut your funky stuff in a dance game to get the entertainers up to snuff. The better you do, the better they do at their jobs and the better your park gets!

Maximum Fun in Minigames

And don't think those minigames are the only ones Thrillville has to offer - in fact, there are so many, we've actually had journalists tell us, "The minigames could be their own product just by themselves!" We don't disagree.

In Career mode, they're spread throughout the park wherever you choose to place them. Want to blast some alien baddies in that "Shootzone" first-person shooter? Go do it. Want to build a mean race track and challenge your friends to a four-player monster truck race? No problem. Want to play the shoot-'em-ups in the video arcade? Want to trick up on the trampolines? Want a game of soccer? An RC destruction derby? Shooting gallery? You get the idea - there is a whole lot of fun to be had by playing each different attraction as a minigame. Each one is a great, fun gaming experience in its own right, and you'll have a ball.

Missions, Marketing and More

How "good" your park is depends on how much money you have got coming in and how happy your guests are. To help you on your way through the game, your Uncle Mortimer (oh yeah... Thrillville also has a real story!) provides pointers for you in the form of missions to do in each park. These might range from challenging a guest on a particular attraction/game, hiring and training some mechanics, making friends with some guests, building a new coaster, and so on.

You can progress to the next park by successfully completing a certain number of the missions. For example, from the first park you only need to do 50 percent of the missions. In each park there are about 25 missions, so you can do the type of things YOU enjoy and still play the game through.

Early on, you may simply be asked to do one or two direct things to finish a mission. Later in the game, the focus becomes more indirect, so you'll have to learn how to manipulate prices, market your park to attract more guests, and generally think your way through some of the objectives. Everything you do in your park has an effect on its rating. How you do on each mission is rated, bronze, silver or gold. In each park there is a park value mission, and in order to finish the game, you have to complete all missions to gold. So just when you think you've cracked it, those "little" park-value missions suddenly take on a whole new significance and will have you trying every trick in the book that you've learned on your journey through the game to complete them!

And That's Just Career Mode...

So, Thrillville's Career mode offers a massive variety of gameplay types for you to choose from, enjoy and master, all seamlessly integrated in to a vibrant theme park experience. But there's a deeper level of play that allows the game to become greater than the sum of its parts, as you try to use the skills you've developed to make your whole park successful.

I haven't even talked about the Party Play mode and Tourney mode, where you can dive straight in to any of the minigames and play with friends or construct tournaments from them...or the Turbo modes of some games
that you unlock during Career mode, or...

...well, anyway. Heed this warning: Thrillville is so deep, you will be playing it for far longer than you ever imagined, both in Career mode and as a party game. And the team who made it will still be playing it as well!

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