Review by Shot2Hell

Reviewed: 02/07/00 | Updated: 02/07/00

Maxis has done it again!

Fans of SimCity will love this game, as it takes all of the micromanagement, addictiveness, and challenge of SimCity and scales it to a more personal level.

First, the graphics are decent. Even at the highest zoom level, characters tend to be a bit small. However, they're very well animated, and I haven't detected any signs of polygon problems (like a chunk of arm mysteriously vanishing into the torso or whatever). The tiles and backgrounds are pretty cool, too, and there's enough of them to keep most decorating freaks busy for a while (or until their cash flow runs dry).

Sound is fairly cool. If you buy a stereo, you get access to... background music! But it's actually quite good, and you can turn it off or switch genres if you get tired of it. Sims speak, but never in English. There may be a few traces of Japanese or German in there, but rest assured that none of what they say really makes sense.

Gameplay is where the game really takes off. First, there's a LOT of things you need to keep track of. As in real life, there aren't enough hours in the day to do everything you need to do to stay in perfect condition. However, as time goes on and you make more money, you'll be able to get more/better ways to stay happy, clean, and fit. The interface is really simple to learn, and after going through the tutorial, you should have all the basics of the game down.

There isn't really an end to the game--you keep playing until you get tired, save, then leave. The big goals in the game tend to center around getting enough money to improve your living conditions, advancing in your career (why bother being a test subject when you can be a full-blown scientist?), and working out new relationships with the rest of the neighborhood. It sounds complicated at first, but it gradually gets more manageable.

The most annoying part of the game, however, is depression. Your Sims might get sad to the point where they no longer do anything productive, and then by the time you get their mood back into the positive, the opportunity has passed. This is hard enough to do for a bachelor, let alone a family of four or more.

In general, the Sims is a great game for the megalomaniacal, warped, or for, believe it or not, a family. There isn't material in the game unfit for kids to see, and it's awfully fun watching your sibling's in-game persona turn into a master criminal or depressive failure. All in all, I'd say buy it. Maxis has done a great job on this, and it shows.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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