Go Back and Play: 5 Tips for RollerCoaster Tycoon 2

RCT2 TitleWith the ongoing Humble Jumbo Bundle 7 sale going on right now, I thought I’d help players new and old get their parks up and running.

First of all, if you have never played RCT2 or the original Rollercoaster Tycoon, GET THIS BUNDLE.  These theme park simulations are some of the best games around, and will keep you glued to your screen as you attempt to perfect your park.

The basic gist of the games is to build your theme park with rides (big and small), shops (food and souvenirs), and scenery.  You must also staff your park with handymen, mechanics, etc, while also building out the walkways and landscape.

RCT Full Park

The game is based around different scenarios which have different goals.  For instance, the basic scenarios require you to get a certain amount of guests in the park, along with a high enough “park rating” (basically the approval rating of your park), by a certain time.

You can upgrade and expand through ticket revenues at the entrance to the park and the rides.  To keep things fresh, you must spend on R&D to get new rides, shops, landscaping, and improvements.

RCT Winter Wonderland

Each scenario has its unique factor, with some requiring building a certain amount of roller coasters with certain ratings, some that have terrain features (like iceberg islands), and some that focus on the park value rather than guest numbers.

With the basic game explained, here are a few pointers to help you get started, or if you are a veteran, reacquaint yourself with some of the mechanisms of the game.

#1 Get OpenRCT2

The first thing you are going to want to get is OpenRCT2 here.

OpenRCT2 is a small download that just requires that you have the game installed on your computer.  You download and run the OpenRCT2 installer, and then launch the game from the OpenRCT2 shortcut.


OpenRCT2 adds tons of quality of life modifications for modern computers trying to play this old game.  It has resolution settings, as well as widescreen.  It neatly categorizes some things, and also makes tweaks to the UI to make things easier.

For some, the RCT2 base game, even on Steam, won’t launch on modern machines.  OpenRCT2 solves that problem.  Further, you can still launch the original game, if you want to use the modifications, just launch from the OpenRCT2 shortcut.  Very easy.

#2 Download the original RollerCoaster Tycoon scenarios

With the glory of the Internet, we can now have all the original Rollercoaster Tycoon scenarios recreated down to the staff uniforms for free online.

RCT Park

Download the pack of scenarios here.  The link will send you to a MediaFire page with a zip file.  Download the zip file, extract the folder where ever you prefer, then copy and paste ALL the files in the “Scenarios” folder into the Scenarios folder located in the install location for your RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 install (most likely in the Steam or GOG folder).

That’s it.  The files will be neatly sorted by game automatically.  That’s right, the pack includes every scenario from the original game and both expansions (Corkscrew Follies and Loopy Landscapes).

Personally, I am much more fond of the original scenarios than the newer ones.  The original scenarios are also, in my opinion, a little easier for beginners or those trying to get back into the game.

#3 Price your rides based on the excitement rating

Especially starting out, it can be difficult to determine how to price your rides.  With the great variety of rides and levels of intensity, it can be confusing to figure out how much each should charge.

Every ride has an Excitement Rating, Intensity Rating, and Nausea Rating.  You want the excitement rating to be as high as possible, and the nausea rating to be as low as possible.  Intensity you want in the middle normally, as it adds some thrill to big coasters.

RCT Ratings Panel

After testing out a ride, look at the ratings.  Match the price to the excitement rating, rounded down.  For instance, if you build a wooden rollercoaster with an excitement rating of 4.94, price the ride at $4.90.  If your ride has a low excitement rating and high to ultra-extreme intensity rating, alter the ride or destroy it altogether.

As for park entry price, you can normally start in the $10-$15 range, and then keep on eye on the news ticker to see when “guests think your entry price is very low.”  Then increase it by $5-$10.  Be careful not to go too high (like over $50) or guests wont have any money left to pay for rides (the alternative of course is to make all rides free).

#4 Control crowdedness with footpath design

One of the more frustrating complaints you will get is that the park is too crowded.  Some scenarios are designed to make this very difficult with small spaces but high guest requirements.

There are a couple design tips to keep in mind.  First, keep footpaths to generally one space in width.  That means you do not want to make the paths double wide if you can avoid it.

Second, make sure to spread out your rides across the full land of your park.  Do not keep everything smashed in the front.  Spread out the ride with space in between, and make sure the queue lines are at least 3-4 spaces for each ride (even gentle ones), with a couple spaces for exits as well.

RCT Micropark

Finally, make use of the sign banner early in the park’s life.  I’m talking about the banner/signs that you place across paths, built from the scenery tab.  These can be set to “Do Not Enter.”  Use this to prevent guests from wandering into the back portions of your park where you have not yet expanded.

#5 Increase excitement rating of all rides with themeing and weaving

The best way to bump up rides excitement rating (even for gentle rides) is to add heavy themeing around the queue lines, and the ride itself.  Putting up walls, laying down floors/dirt/colored grass will help bring the ride to life.

RCT Mt Everest

This is especially true for rollercoasters.  Adding statutes or other objects in the middle of turns or banks in the tracks can add to the rating.  Try lowering the ground one step and then raising water one step for part of the ride.  Adding these little details can give a nice bump.

RCT Through Own Loop

Along with scenery and themes, one the coolest things you can do is weave rides together.  Make a log flume go through a roller coaster loop.  Have a rapids ride spin around the carousel.  Just getting theme to interact in any fashion is good for both ride’s excitement.

RCT Mountain Town


Now is the perfect time to start into RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 for the first time, or come back to the series.  It’s hard to beat $1 to pick up one of the greatest games for PC.  While the game is quite old, its simple isometric style and strong core mechanics hide any aging.  With OpenRCT2, it can work with new machines.

Hopefully these tips will help get your park up and running.  Once you get going, its easy to lose track of time.


12 thoughts on “Go Back and Play: 5 Tips for RollerCoaster Tycoon 2

  1. Pingback: State of the Blog: 3 Year Anniversary | Particlebit

  2. I have not played this game, but I do have experience of playing other similar games. I enjoyed playing Theme Hospital and Theme Park, Inc. and this article reminds me of the little tactics I used to run the places as well as possible (particularly creating exciting rides). I would like there to be a downloadable programme that allows these older games to be run on modern machines.
    Are the scenarios linked? Does the player progress onto harder scenarios after completing easier ones? Or can the player just choose which scenarios to complete?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have lost count of how many hours I have spent with the three Roller Coaster Tycoon games, especially one and two. The first time I played it was when I rented one from a local shop, and after playing it to death I had to ask my parents to get me a copy of my own. This post made me ridiculously nostalgic! =P

    I would go back and play some maps if I weren’t focused on replaying Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga right now.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve seen this game and other “Tycoon” management games in my time. Stupid question: can patrons randomly die in these games, if you make a ride that is too crazy? Just wondering if working to rebuild an image is too complex for games made during this time.


    • If one of your rollercoasters crashes, everyone involved in the crash dies. Crashes may be more or less likely based on how you design and run your coaster and how well it’s maintained. So they don’t exactly die randomly, but yep, they do die. (You can also drop them into open water and they will drown.)

      Liked by 1 person

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