When we saw our first trailer of Frontier Developments' RollerCoaster Tycoon 3, we spent the whole day running up and down stairs twirling our heads around pretending to be the Coaster Cam. We've stopped that now, but we're still excited every time we clap eyes on the minutely detailed 3D world into which Chris Sawyer's classic formula has been transplanted.
We're still waiting to get a feel for how the third title in the series has changed in gameplay terms, but for the moment the visuals are arguably enough - having waited so long to see the game make the transition to three dimensions, the artificially lit midnight theme parks, glassy water shimmering in the moonlight and trees hugging the contours of spiralling rollercoasters are a sight for sore eyes. And we imagine anybody working on a rival management sim will have sore eyes when they get through with Atari's latest, E3 trailer, which is now available on Eurofiles.
The 75-second clip explores some very detailed shots, often pulling back from right up close or within the spiral of a 'coaster to give a massive overview of various theme parks, set in the aforementioned moonlit canyon, on the sunny shores of a tropical island, and more besides. The people may be flat-faced and simplistic, but there are plenty of them, and there are some darling little touches like the way the individual cars jerk into position one by one as they move around the track.
It's hard not to be enthusiastic, even if the sameyness of RCT2 and its expansions managed to irritate us. If RCT3 can live up to the level of detail Atari is trailing, it's going to be a very exciting spectacle. If the game has grown enough to match, then it's going to be better than a month in Alton Towers on a sugar and caffeine trip when it comes out in late 2004.