by KOCH Media
Developed by NovaTrix GmbH
Platform: PC CD-ROM
Released - 12th September 2003
Price : £29.99
few years ago now we looked at Zoo Tycoon. Zoo Tycoon allowed you
to take charge of your own zoo. You had to look after the animals
and customers alike. The animals had to be satisfied by pairing
them up with mates and making sure their enclosures met the correct
conditions. It was a very enjoyable game, not perfect but still
enjoyable and very popular with sales hitting the million mark earlier
this year. Wildlife Park, by NovaTrix, is for all intents and purposes
very similar although it becomes obvious with extended play that
it's not same. Let's take a look at Wildlife Park.
this game being so similar to Zoo Tycoon I had to go back to Zoo
Tycoon and for the sake of fairness play the game without the two
expansion packs. Statistically speaking Wildlife Park is rather
more impressive than Zoo Tycoon. It offers more animals and more
buildings and it is fair to say that in many respects Wildlife Park
takes things that little bit further than Zoo Tycoon. Of course
it still boils down to keeping both the animals and customers happy
but here it isn't quite as easy.
most single player only strategy games, there is no multiplayer
mode in Wildlife Park, the main focus of the game is the campaign.
Wildlife Park includes 20 campaign scenarios. The first 4 of these
scenarios though are tutorials and scenarios 5-7 are very basic,
while these won't really offer any kind of challenge, they help
to reaffirm what you have learnt. The other 13 scenarios range from
fairly easy to downright difficult and will have you proving your
zoo keeping abilities in a wide range of environments.
some respects Wildlife Park is more of a simulation than Zoo Tycoon.
In Zoo Tycoon you always felt that is was simply a case of satisfying
the animals and then after that it was straight forward. Of course
it could occasionally be tricky but generally you created the correct
environment for an animal and you were all set. In Wildlife Park
the animals are more difficult to please. They even get the urge
to mate, tussle, climb and swim amongst other things that they would
do in real life. You'll also have to keep an eye on your staffs'
happiness. Speaking of which there are 10 different staff types
in Wildlife Park and these range from animal keepers to refuse centre
you're done with the campaign, which will take a while, you have
Free Play mode to take on. In Free Play mode you pick 1 of 20 territories
(that include the likes of Central Europe, Florida, Serengeti, Russia
and China), an amount of money to begin with and a difficulty level
before attempting to create the ultimate zoo. There are 3 difficulty
levels. Easy allows you an unlimited overdraft and there will be
no demonstrations and animals cannot die; medium will only allow
a limited overdraft and demonstrations can occur if you don't look
after your animals but your animals cannot die; hard really makes
you sweat as your overdraft is limited, demonstrations can occur
if you don't look after your animals and your animals will die if
they are neglected.
of the key areas where Wildlife Park clearly improves upon Zoo Tycoon
is landscaping. In Zoo Tycoon the landscaping options were very
basic. Even with the Marine Mania expansion installed everything
still remains basic. If you build a tank for an aquatic animal you
simply place down the walls and it automatically fills with water.
In Wildlife Park it's more sophisticated. Once you've placed the
outside walls you'll have to lower the ground within the tank and
then you'll have to place a water pump in order for the tank to
fill. This may seem like it's making life more difficult for the
gamer but in actual fact it's giving you the ability to create elaborate
waterfalls and multi-tiered enclosures. Take a look at the screenshots
to the right of this review and you'll see the kind of impressive
landscapes that just aren't possible in Zoo Tycoon.
Wildlife Park is perhaps as good as any other 2D isometric strategy
game out there. The animals look and move perfectly well too which
is always pleasing in a game of this nature. The ability to create
elaborate waterfalls and multi-tiered landscapes also give the game
something extra. You can zoom in and zoom out if you wish. Zooming
in gives a horrible pixelated appearance though and does nothing
but make things look ugly. Zooming out though is useful if you want
to take an overall look of your zoo but I suspect most people won't
bother with either zooming in or out.
Park is fine for deaf gamers. There isn't any speech in the game
and all information is given in text. Any messages you receive during
the game are displayed at the top of the screen and these messages
can be recalled at any time. All tutorial messages are shown in
text too. The mission objectives can be recalled at any time which
is good because it helps to keep you focused on what needs to be
achieved. Information can by displayed on any animal (by simply
pressing the 'i' button when an animal is selected) and this helps
inform you of what the animal requires to live satisfactorily.
course what you are all wondering is if Wildlife Park is a better
game than Zoo Tycoon. If you compare Wildlife Park with the original
Zoo Tycoon (and ignore the expansion packs) then the answer is yes
as it improves on almost everything if only by small amounts. The
Zoo Tycoon expansion packs, particularly the Marine Mania expansion,
helped fill the game out but even then there's still not much in
it. Personally I would pick Wildlife Park because it's more of a
challenge and seems to have more of a realistic feel to it, particularly
on the hard difficulty level.
Game Rating: 8.9/10
of Zoo Tycoon, and strategy games in general, should definitely
give this one a go. Wildlife Park may not be wildly different from
Zoo Tycoon but it does things slightly better and is definitely
All important information is shown in text and objectives and messages
can be recalled at any time.