Review by NYu

Reviewed: 02/13/00 | Updated: 02/13/00

An incredibly addictive title, bursting with originality

Wow. This is a really innovative title that left me really floored after I first started playing. And I mean floored literally, too, as in I played it so much that I expended my Rest meter and fell to the ground in exhaustion. Okay, so that last comment is meaningless to anyone who hasn't played the game; but all that means is that you should run out and acquire The Sims right away.

The following rankings are based on a scale from 1 (''The Postman'') to 10 (even better than ''The Transformers: The Movie'').

PLOT: 9

Okay, so there's not really too much of a plot in this game, so I'll rate it based on its premise instead. In a nutshell, you chart the course of the lives of everyone in your little simulated neighborhood and lead them through the rigors of work, school, meeting needs, and relationshops. Depending on your disposition, you can try to make your Sims wildly happy or just be nasty and delete the doors to the restroom. Either way, it's a whole lot of fun and unlike anything you have ever played before.

GAMEPLAY: 10

I'd give it a score higher than 10, but I'm committing enough blasphemy by saying that this game is more fun than watching ''The Transformers: The Movie.'' After I bought The Sims, I forgot all about Alarik and Sarge. Unreal: Tournament? Quake III? What are those? This game is even more addictive than the games in the Heroes of Might and Magic series; it's also much more compelling as well. After developing your Sims for awhile, you get really attached to them and occasionally envision yourself in their place.

The engine is very well designed, finely done down to the most minute of details; but this is no surprise with a Maxis product. Unlike many other games released nowadays, the game instructions are thorough and well-written. Besides a few sore spots with The Sims' AI, I don't have too many complaints. The game has an intuitive point-and-click interface that can be mastered by playing the brief tutorial.

The best thing about The Sims' gameplay is the immense replay value. No game will ever be the same as another. Also, Maxis has been regularly releasing updates (there are new skins and objects available on their site). If you're ambitious enough, they have provided the tools for you to design additions yourself.

EYE CANDY: 7

So this is where The Sims falls a little short. The graphics are just fine, mind you, but you won't find anything ground-breaking or eye-popping here. If that's what you want, wait until Bungie releases Oni and Halo. The bright and vivid graphics are more than adequate to display the world of The Sims, and they are thoughtfully animated. Although this is not a ringing endorsement of the game's graphics, I have absolutely no complaints about them, either.

EAR CANDY: 8

The sounds and music for The Sims are well-designed and fairly catchy. I know other people found The Sims' speech to be grating after awhile, but I never found it so. Imagine a slightly more melodious variation of the speech of adults in a Charlie Brown cartoon, and you'll have something pretty close to how The Sims sound. I really liked being able to configure the music that the radio stations played. I replaced all of the country MP3s with some catchy anime tunes; so, amazingly enough, my Sims ended up listening to the country station all the time. ;)

OVERALL: 9

I was almost tempted to give this game a 10. Although the game is revolutionary in its design and original gameplay, I didn't feel it was quite enough to push it into the 10 category. But it came pretty darn close. Now don't get me wrong. This game is *not* for everyone. Lots of people will probably prefer a good gore-infested session of multiplayer deathmatching over The Sims; but I'd say those people are really missing out. Just make sure you have a healthy amount of time to invest, because it's really hard to tear yourself away from The Sims once you've gotten started.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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