reviews\ Dec 9, 2002 at 7:00 pm

Trailer Park Tycoon - PC - Review

OK … let me set the record straight on a couple of things real quick. I’m from Kentucky, and yes, we wear shoes. No, we don’t all wear overalls and John Deere hats, and not all of us have Richard Petty portraits on our walls or consider the person with a “double wide” to be wealthy. Still, Kentucky does have its share of trailer parks, so I of course opted to give “Trailer Park Tycoon” (TPT) a run and see how it was. Well, it’s funny as heck and while it won’t let your creativity flow like some other “Blah - blah - blah Tycoon” games out there, it is fun and will get a laugh out of just about anyone.


As the title suggests, TPT puts you in charge of becoming wealthy in the trailer park business, and it’s up to you to build trailers and add some great landscaping items like chicken coops, year – round Christmas decorations, or toilets in the yard to attract tenants and start building a profit. Some will want trashy or old school style, and some will want a little more modern or flashy, and it’s up to you to keep them happy or they may fight with one another. In addition, you get help along the way in the form of tabloid papers that come out talking about rat infestations or alien abductions to help figure out what may happen.


Up front, this game follows very closely to any other Tycoon style game out right now, but also stands out on it’s own in a couple of areas. You can select a handful of missions timed in weeks up front to see just how good you are, and they will have you racing to build parks and get a certain number of residents before some disaster happens like a tornado (didn’t see that one coming, did you?) or an alien abduction. If you’re not in the mood for a quick speed thing, there is a mode which allows you to build and get X profit while attracting X amount of tenants to lower surrounding property values and such. If you want to practice before doing either, you can choose a “sandbox” mode which will give you 100 weeks to build your very own fantasy trailer park.


Another neat feature about TPT is being able to take direct control over your tenants and make them do a few things. In order to help everyone get along, have someone go over and say howdy (Kentucky for “Hi”) or perform a kind act towards a neighbor. If they get a little annoyed about rent or something, have them line dance or whatnot out in the street which sometimes will lighten their mood. One funny way to get some aggression out is to make one get into a fight with one of the other tenants by telling them to be hostile, which can eventually lead into a hilarious fistfight and get some tension out … but may also bring happiness down in some of your other renters as well.


OK, now comes the tricky part … how do you keep everyone happy and not fighting or leaving? It can get pretty tough at times. Each resident who checks out your park wants something in particular in order to move in and stick around. Some may want a trashy trailer with a certain style of lawn ornament, like old school flamingos. As you progress for a few weeks and your park begins to grow, they may decide that they want a flashier trailer or new school stuff, and then you have to upgrade which costs money. In addition, some residents may want a lot of flash, but the majority of your other trailers and ornaments are trashy, which can cause them to get upset after a few weeks. Put a trashy tenant next to a flashy one, and a fight may break out. In addition, upgrading trailers and spreading ornaments around may overlap another tenant’s property and wind up causing some major tension as well.  


The “creativity flow” part that I mentioned up front comes into play like this; each of the four areas … swamp, urban, desert, or country … has it’s own set roads, paths, store and trailer plots for you to build on. The difference here is that in other Tycoon games, you pretty much get an open space and the ability to build whatever you want wherever you want until you have your ultimate whatever. TPT seems a little narrow in this aspect, since it becomes more of a pick what you want and set it where the game tells you to set it sort of style. Don’t let the closed building aspect fool you too bad though, there is still plenty of challenge here in managing rent, upgrading, and making sure everyone stays joyful. This leads me to my next point.


The other thing here that can be a downer and got a little confusing is the happy/angry thing with the tenants themselves as the game progresses. As you go through and check each person, the stats show that their trailer meets expectations and the rent is under or at what they are looking for, the store prices … which can be raised and lowered … are lower than when they started, but the park chart shows the happiness steadily declining or tenants start walking around with red clouds over their heads. There’s nothing which will actually say “this person is mad because”, like in Zoo Tycoon for example, to help you fix it … you just have to depend on looking at the neighbors around them or see if fighting will help them out a little. The closed building thing plays a part in this as well, since a tenant seems like they can get ticked off when they have to walk pretty far to get a video or groceries, but since you can only put stores in certain places and can’t move trailers around (even though they have wheels) you can get backed into a corner quickly.  


Graphically, this game really stands out overall. The detail is really colorful, and things like hovering UFO’s and the various yard ornaments are really quite hysterical at times … like big inflatable beer cans or a car riddled with shotgun holes sitting in a weed pile. Residents will pull up in pintos, 70’s Firebirds, and old ratty pickup trucks just to name a few, and kids or dogs will wander around aimlessly in the street (I have seen that one before when I delivered for Pizza Hut). The tenants themselves look funny with their mullet haircuts, halter-tops with hip hugger jeans, or pimp clothes, and the trailers themselves range from campers which need to be condemned to some nicer single and double wide deals, complete with dirt roads and gravel driveways.


The sound is really good here as well, even if there’s not a lot to it. The theme song is a typical country redneck style kind of beat that fades as the levels begin. The air gets filled with the sounds of cars, people hollerin’ (That’s Kentucky for “yelling”), and the occasional droning of an alien visitor or roaring of a tornado as it rips through. The voices for the tenants themselves are a little strange, since they don’t actually talk. It’s more of a jumbled series of excited rambling noises, which is odd but will also bring a snicker or two from anyone who has listened to somebody who has been drinking too much at a truck pull.


Well, overall I have to say that Trailer Park Tycoon doesn’t offer the major depth that some other games offer in the same style, but even with a couple of things that could have been done a little better in my opinion, this game was well worth the money for the continuous humor and some really challenging but continuously entertaining gameplay. Some of you tycoons who have done it all will want to try this one out and see how well you do in building your own trailer park, and those of you looking for something to do on a rainy afternoon will have a great time with this one.


Gameplay: 7.5
Everything is simple to figure out, and pretty much everything can be done using the mouse. The trailers and unlockable stuff while playing is really funny, and the camera utilizes the ability to stay in a


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