If only I could talk to the animals, I'd tell them to eat the visitors! Here's your shot. In Zoo Tycoon 2, you are responsible for making both your zoo guests and your animals happy. All this animal husbandry makes for a good potential educational tool for young children, giving them the opportunity to learn about various animals and their habits, environments, and needs, while a handy zookeeper icon available on each animal's panel provides the means of satisfying these needs. Although this does flatten the learning curve quite a bit, it's probably preferable to sifting through hundreds of pages of the "Zoopedia." And though some of the vocabulary and concepts in the game may be too advanced for its intended audience, Zoo Tycoon 2 does a credible job of entertaining the player...for a little while.
The main problem with Zoo Tycoon is its lack of a fast-forward button: A single year of gameplay consumes a grand total of six hours. In challenge mode, this is a huge drawback, especially if you're trying to meet one of the photographic challenges. In order to take a picture of a camel using a scratching post, you must wait until the camel is dirty enough to itch. The monetary rewards for such inane tasks aren't usually worth the boredom, since you normally end up breaking even because you have to adopt the necessary animals and create the proper habitats first. If you're an aspiring photographer, this might be appealing, but for everyone else, it would be much more satisfying to take a nap while your revenue increases on its own.
Campaigns feel like a similar waste of time. Although the different background stories are somewhat interesting, such as another zoo's failure to provide for its own animals, this mode is extended way beyond what's necessary. Unlocking a single extra feature like a flowered arch doesn't require you to complete just one scenario, but three, which generally takes four-plus hours of gameplay.
Even if you're not an artsy person, landscaping will soon become your favorite part of Zoo Tycoon. Construction is easy, though a tad costly--but that's OK, you can't go bankrupt unless you're deliberately trying. Creating pretty exhibits may seem time-consuming and difficult, but it is a decent enough way to pass time. As with most tycoon games--and CGW internships--when you're finished building, you only have two main choices: spend your time scooping poop or hire zookeepers and become obsolete.
Might be good for a biology credit, but not much else.
PUBLISHER: Microsoft DEVELOPER: Blue Fang Games GENRE: Strategy ESRB RATING: E REQUIRED: Pentium III 733, 256MB RAM, 900MB install RECOMMENDED: Pentium III 1GHz, 512MB RAM, 32MB videocard MULTIPLAYER: None
Source Citation:"Zoo Tycoon 2." Computer Gaming World (Feb 1, 2005): NA. General OneFile. Gale. Alachua County Library District. 19 Oct. 2009
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