Last year’s RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 arrived as an enjoyable addition to the franchise, but it was incredibly buggy at launch. Half a year (and a good patching) later, the roller coaster-building/theme-park management sim is a smooth ride that practically demands an equally slick expansion pack. And, boy, did it get one.
RCT3: Soaked! compliments the original game by adding everything and anything you could possibly find at your local water park and then some. Aquaman couldn’t think of more uses for the wet stuff—you can build splashy pools complete with whirlpools, lifeguards, springboards, and wave machines; create refreshing new rides like lazy rivers for rafting, and winding paddleboat and windsurfing courses; and you can even litter your park with water jets so visitors (aka “peeps”) can soak each other silly.
Soaked! has a new nine-mission career mode, but all of the expansion’s features—including its two new themes (Atlantis and Paradise Island) and more than 50 new rides—are available in RCT3’s free-form play mode. The expansion improves on the original’s park-building utility by allowing you to tunnel through hills and underwater so roller coasters and flume rides can pass through, and it also incorporates a very easy-to-use waterfall designer to enhance your park’s peep-pleasing ability.
One of the coolest features in the original RCT3 is the fireworks Mixmaster utility for conducting elaborate nighttime displays. Soaked! makes an even bigger splash by adding laser light shows and water fountains to the “Mix,” and allowing you to synch the choreography with your own music tracks.
And just because it’s got water, don’t assume that Soaked! has traded all of RCT3’s coasters for killer whales. You get several new coasters, most notably a water-powered roller coaster called The Roller Soaker, and 16 new car types. In addition, existing coasters can be customized with water splashes and jet streams.
The expansion’s downsides are those that afflict the game in general. Path-making, in particular, can be a headache, especially when dealing with ground of varying elevations, and frame rates suffer when parks get too large. That said, Soaked! is as wet and wild as the rides themselves!
– Chuck Osborn