The Roller Coaster Tycoon 3: Soaked! Expansion pack brings the excitement of a waterpark to your PC. This new expansion to the hugely popular franchise brings a lot to the table, including several new types of thrill rides, scenery options, and terrain tools in addition to being able to build custom pools and waterslides. And you can ride each and every one of them as well.
The layout has remained simple, but the technique in constructing the new water rides has become much more difficult. You might need to go into the tutorials and follow all of them before you can understand how to properly build water slides and waterfalls. Most of the techniques are described in the manual, but are still difficult to put into practice. The tutorials are quite helpful, but some don't let you really try everything - sure, you know how to click X and Y to make a waterfall, but getting the edges perfectly flat so that the water will pour over the side is another thing altogether. That will take a lot of practice: you're best to open up in Sandbox mode and try a few things out first before trying to improve one of the existing parks or trying to make your park absolutely picture perfect.
The graphics with the new water items are, once again, spectacular. The reflections are beautiful, seeing the stars shine back at you in the twilight. Even riding the water rides leaves you feeling refreshed. But make sure all other windows are closed before you try to run this - having any other applications open will slow down the overall speed of the game dramatically. The price you pay for these amazing graphics is the time you spend waiting for them to load, as the load times and installation are somewhat lengthy.
The sound has improved somewhat since the original RCT3. The water sounds are incredibly realistic, as are the screams from your peeps when they dive down into the water. Adding some more animal sounds would have been a good addition, for example for the killer whale or dolphin shows.
New hotkeys and controls have been added to the game to make it easier to use. If you have a wheel mouse, you scroll through all the menus and dialog boxes quickly, and by pressing the Shift key on your keyboard while moving the mouse up or down will change the height of a ride station platform. The pathway menu has also become more user-friendly by being able to add stairs and ramps more easily and efficiently.
The fireworks show from the original RCT3 has been renamed to the RCT3 MixMaster, now that it includes more effects for different areas of the park. You can still create your own fireworks displays set to music from your PC, but now you can also include laser effects and water jets in your show. And to really give your peeps a memorable experience, combine all those together with either dolphin or a killer whale show for a spectacular effect.
Pathways and roller coasters can also go through tunnels now, bringing back a feature from the Roller Coaster Tycoon. Be careful not to go too deep underground, or it will be very difficult to come back up and finish your coaster properly - your finals coaster piece may end up being too high and it won't be possible to finish your coaster without going back and taking some twists or corkscrews out to make sure your coaster comes together right. Unfortunately, this is remarkably similar to a nasty bug that was present in the original before it was corrected in a patch, hopefully it is fixed quickly as it really hurts the entertainment value to build a massive coaster and not be able to finish it.
Building the waterslides is far from intuitive, a much more backwards process than would be expected. You'll have to build a pool complex first, then add waterslides to it. The waterslides must all be connected to a pool complex in order for you to be able to open them, and for peeps to be able to access them, it somewhat limits the freedom you have in building each slide. Building a waterslide is very similar to building a roller coaster - with the only addition being that a waterslide requires an "End Flume" at the end of your ride. You can also add wave machines, spas, diving boards, and diving towers to your pool complex.
Overall, RollerCoaster Tycoon 3: Soaked! is a solid expansion. Although it leaves a bit to be desired in terms of simplicity and a few of the bugs from the original have resurfaced, it really adds a lot of content to an already feature-packed title. The end results, once you've mastered it, are beautiful.