Review by Toadsworth
A hybrid to say the least.
It's so many different genres, all tossed into one. Generally, this doesn't make for a very fun, enjoyable, and certainly not sensible game. This game is all of those things, minus the last. It certainly is lacking in sensibility, but the randomness, sparseness, sporadic nature of the game make it quirky and unique, a truly witty game.
Is it Sim City? The Sims? Animal Crossing? Harvest Moon? Is it Monopoly of all things? Is it all of these things thrown into a blender with some raw egg as to be some sort of Supplemental Power Energy Drink....or Game...rather. Is it a Bionic Nuclear Radioactive Super-game created by some unnatural means to fight off and best the other games inferior villain games of the time?
Not quite, but it contains elements of each, within reason, to make it an enjoyable game for anyone who enjoys any of the aforementioned games.
You start, as one would in Sim City, or similar Sim games. You map out terrain, create and place buildings (movie theaters, restaurants, police stations, etc.) into a town, given a variety of time, space, and money, and then must make it thrive. Rather than like the Sim City games, where you continually view from above, MetropolisMania allows you to go further.
Once you feel you've created a town, a Metropolis, worth a damn, you are allowed then to interact in the city, walk the streets, visit the restaurants, the theaters, speak with the quirky and comical townspeople, and even form bonds and relationships with them. Anyone who's played The Sims can relate to the creating bonds and friendships, as well as Animal Crossing, as it's presented in a "cartoonish", "kiddy" way, all while having some dirty deadpan humor for the older crowd (you gotta love the 30 something seductive hot cop!!).
As for Harvest Moon, you have a vested interested in the town. You are the Mayor (or at least some guy who wears a yellow suit and big yellow hat and is a stereotypical mayor looking guy), who must take into consideration the well-being and prosper of his town and townspeople. You take requests, hear compliments as well as complaints, suggestions, and the must have the wherewithal to do something about it...and if you fail to do so, your town fails, dies out, becomes a ghost town.
As for the part of Monopoly, as in the original board game, you desire to increase your profits, your gains, your property, your cold hard cash. Any liability is a no-no, and that is certainly how this game is set up, and meant to be played. As mentioned in the previous paragraph, if your townspeople are happy, you are happy, as your assets will be great. If your townspeople are upset, disdained, and in general discord, your town follows, your assets follow, and you find yourself in debt, and shortly thereafter at a point almost beyond repair. Better to destroy your town, your beloved child, your masterpiece, your motif, and to start anew!
Each aspect is present and quite so! If you enjoy the actual building, you can go very much in-depth, choosing different terrains to build on (required for certain missions and harder levels), factoring in mountains, water, hills, and other natural...things of nature, and then create your town in and around those things (ala Sim City). If you'd rather walk, talk, and socialize, you may do so by bypassing (at your own risk) the majority of the creation of the town, and go into your town, walk the streets, eat at the restaurants, drink at the bars, fish at the docks, and whatever else you've decided to place in your Metropolis to be. As for Harvest Moon or Monopoly, there's always work to be done. You can pick flowers/fruits and sell them, do odd-jobs for your townspeople, organize events and gatherings (fireworks, fishing tournaments, Holiday parades), all of which can gain you capital and asset if done correctly, as well as gaining you some good notoriety. Things go awry, the parades fail, the fish aren't biting, and your fireworks get rained out...well expect your notoriety! But to be of the bad!
Really, it's a quick and fun game, or it's an extensive and expansive one. It leaves it up to you, the player, to decide. It could be a game for young cousins or nephews, or one for older adults who like in-depth strategy. The game is so diverse in and of itself. It's is most unduly unheralded, and is a must have for any owner of a Playstation 2 game console!
Rating: 4.0 - Great
Product Release: MetropolisMania (US, 10/03/02)
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