Review by Gizzmonic

Reviewed: 12/07/04

SimCity 2000: Shovelware edition

SimCity is almost universally celebrated as the father of all real-time strategy games. An amazingly creative game, it invited gamers to use their creativity to "play God." The payoff wasn't in the building itself, but in the way the Sims (virtual people) interacted with the city. Its nearly-as-successful sequel, SimCity 2000, added more depth to the experience, with elevations, more types of zones, more complicated problems, etc.

The Gameboy Advance port of this classic manages to capture the graphical experience of SimCity 2000, but little else. Unlike the original, it's hard to tell whether or not your Sims are happy. Occasionally, a ticker that says things like "Citizens Demand Police" scroll by, but that's it. The game doesn't even list your city's population.

The presentation of the game, critical in the menu-driven land of SimCity, screams "shovelware." Saving is a chore, buried deep within a menu screen. Odd glitches abound-water status is mentioned on each zone, but there's no way to build water pipes in this version! I was unable to view the zone map after holding down the "R" button while pressing select. I had to power of f the game to get it back to normal.

Music is nonexistent, sound effects are well done (but sparse), and graphics are "good," in that they look like the PC version. However, the isometric view in SimCity does not lend itself well to the tiny Gameboy screen. Outside of a few blocks at a time, it's difficult to tell how your city is developing. A 2D, top down view would have been a much better choice.

Developers Destination Software have focused exclusively on the graphics, forgetting the crucial presentation aspect of the game. All but the most dedicated SimCity fanatics should wait for a version that's actually playable on the GBA (perhaps a port of the original SNES SimCity?).

Rating:   1.5 - Bad

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