Sometimes a classic game is just what the doctor ordered, or at least, something to fill the time on an old laptop. As I've recently started going back through old games I figured I would dust off the CD and give it a go. While the minimum specifications are laughable by today's standards, compatibility is another matter. With the help of a 1.1 patch and some No-CD magic, the game is brought back to life :-)
A total of 12 maps await, with increasing difficulty/complexity as they progress. What starts off as an easy mission of getting above a certain number of guests and overall rating soon turns into chaos/madness involving litter, drunkards, sharks, and the occasional lightning storm. Fun is still to be had though, progressing through each map and learning the pattern of the next. Sandbox mode also exists for each map should you wish to see what you can do without the objectives, but that seems a bit like cheating.
The basic principals of the game are simple; You have to manage each island to keep it profitable and the tourists happy, while working around different challenges on each level. These challenges can be simple (for example, getting tourists collectively drunk), to the more difficult (maintaining safety throughout the entire island and keeping it at a very high level). As you progress further through the game the challenges become more difficult (to be expected), and throw different twists at you. A good example of this is the map whereby you need to strike the balance between incredibly pricey services versus customer satisfaction.
As with all old games, there are always going to be quirks. Once you have played the game for a while you start to learn how the mechanics work and how you can 'make the most' of them. An amusing example of this is an island that has sharks visiting frequently and you must keep people alive, however there is nothing stopping you from simply closing all of the beaches and riding out the days. In some cases however things really do break, and switching between UAC modes shows this quite well. One of the quirks I discovered (and have screenshotted below) is where your previous saved game gets interlaced with any new scenario, resulting in any new map having building/tourists from your save game overlaid. It's amusing when it first happens, but does require a full reinstall to resolve the issue.
A little gameplay here and there, plenty of failed maps (these tourists really need to drink more), but more enjoyment to be had. If only I could get past level 8...