Review by tectactoe

Reviewed: 09/01/05

A Sim Game That Is Actually Worth Playing!

I'm sure we've all had our dream of being able to run our own city. It's natural. Fortunately for us, there is SimCity, where we can live out our dream in a simple, yet addictive way.

Many of the newer games such as The Sims or SimCity 2000 include tons of dazzling features, items, and requirements. Most of the time, all these extra features and needs get on your nerves, and simply are useless. If you think like this, too, then welcome to the world of the original SimCity, when things used to be simple.

First off, there are two modes in SimCity. In the first mode, you are placed in a scenario of an already built city, and some sort of disaster has taken place. Your job will be to fix and restore the city within a certain amount of time. For example, one scenario is Detroit, where the Crime rate is exceptionally high. Your job will be to make it a safe place to live under a set deadline.

In the other mode, you start off on raw land, and some money at hand. You build your city from scratch. Continue building outward and your city will grow. You must nurse it through all of the disasters, and make it a suitable place to live. Otherwise, people will being to leave, and your city will become a failure. As your city gains people, it evolves as well. As certain milestones in the population are reached, your town will be called something different. You start off with a village which turns into a town, then a city, capital, metropolis, and then the grand-daddy of them all... a Megalopolis.

Essentially, the second mode's only main "goal" is to reach a megalopolis status. Otherwise, you can build and expand as much as you want, trying to pack in as many people as you want, or can fit.

How It Works
When building, there will be a sidebar on the left. This is the bar of things you can build. Like I said, SimCity is a simple game, so there is not a ton of stuff. Just enough to keep it interesting. You can build roads, train tracks (for mass transit), power lines, parks, residential zones (houses), commercial zones (stores), industrial areas (factories), police and fire departments, stadiums, seaports, airports, and coal or nuclear power plants.

Now the main idea is to build a source of power (coal or nuclear), then build residential, industrial, and commercial zones. Then, to get power to the zones, attach powerlines from the plant to the zone. Touching zones transfer power. Next you should build roads so the Sims can get to where they want to go. Now consider building a Police Department to avoid crime. After that you can build other things in your free time. See how simple it is?

Well, at first glance it seems simple, but there are many factors that this cartridge will throw at you. The cool thing about this game is that it has actual, life-like feedback. The Sims will respond and tell you what they think is wrong with the city, which you can view on the top bar of the screen. You can also view a graph map of the city, which can show you many important factors like crime rates, pollution, and traffic.

SimCity isn't trying to pull any stunts - common sense is something you should use. If Sims are complaining about the crime rate, go to your graph map and look up crime. In the areas where it shows extreme amounts of crime, go over there and build a Police Department or some parkland to fix up the land. But, alas! SimCity strikes again! You would think, "Why don't I just put a ton of Police Departments everywhere? I can afford it!" Well, sure, maybe you can afford it now, but just like in real life, you must pay your policemen. This pay is included at the end of the year budget plan. You better make sure you are gaining enough revenue to be able to pay the police and still make money.

So now are thinking, "Why don't I just pay the police less money?" The answer is: the less money you pay them, the worse they do at their job. Either way, you have to plan out a good route to make sure all factors of the city are under good living conditions. You still might get some people complaining, but as long as you're making money and gaining residents, you are on the right track. Hey, you can't make everyone happy.

Bottom Line
Well, I pretty much gave you a crash course on what you can expect from SimCity. It's so simple, yet so complex all in the same breath, which is why you can find me glued to my TV set, playing this game over and over.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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