Version tested: Retro
Before GTA taught us the joys of gratuitous crime, games were a lot more na´ve. So when it became clear that most gamers had understandably assumed that the main character of Rollercoaster was some no-good carnie scrounging cash from a deserted funfair, a new back-story was written. Our hero became a beleaguered employer named Colonel G. Bogey trying to reclaim his takings that were stolen by a nefarious ex-employee.
The good Colonel, who bears a striking resemblance to a young Hen-House Harry (from the Chuckie Egg games), must explore his Pleasure Park collecting money bags strewn in and around all of his wondrous rides and stalls whilst avoiding being run over by dodgems, electrocuted by rollercoaster rails or drowning in the thrice green water of the log flume.
Though nothing more than a traditional platformer at heart, it's the fantastic interpretation of the theme park setting that gives Rollercoaster its golden ticket. The 60 screens are cleverly layered to give players the magical sense of wonder that childhood funfairs provide. The necessity to 'ride' many of the attractions to reach those elusive cash sacks raises the fun and makes most other Manic Miner-a-like's seem more Fleetwood than Florida.
The park's crowning glory is reaching the towering Big Dipper, where the brave and bold put their life in the hands of the Gods for a white knuckle thrill ride, and who knows, maybe a few more elusive sacks of that missing payroll.
Going back to Rollercoaster is like going back to Blackpool; you know it can never compete with Disney World, but you wouldn't want it to. It has a kind of pure and tacky British charm that never ages or fails to make you smile.
8 / 10