Game Over Online ~ SimCity 3000

GameOver Game Reviews - SimCity 3000 (c) Maxis, Reviewed by - Cyrus

Game & Publisher SimCity 3000 (c) Maxis
System Requirements Pentium 166, 32 MB RAM, 4x CD-Rom, 2MB Video Card
Overall Rating 91%
Date Published Sunday, January 24th, 1999 at 10:33 PM

Divider Left By: Cyrus Divider Right

The "Sim" series of games from Maxis has been one of the most prolific series in the history of software. They have created everything from SimWorld to SimLife and even SimCopter. The heart of the series however has been and always will be, in my opinion, SimCity. The concept behind SimCity is simple but quite addicting. You are placed at the helm of a new city and it is your job to nurture the city from village to metropolis. This is accomplished through shrewd management of money, land and public services. There are also various scenarios that you are able to play in case you get bored of building. SimCity 3000 is the third incarnation of this gaming classic and it proves a worthy successor to its predecessors.

The graphics are beautiful in this game. I see a new type of building every time I play and the old one's are still as impressive. The game looks much better in 800x600 mode and scrolls relatively smoothly considering the large amount of items on the board. The new version also has a couple of nice new touches. Even under far zoom the sprites still look clean, crisp and detailed. It is also pretty cool to be able to see the different layers of strata in the earth. The car and train graphics are well detailed and change according to what action is occurring around them. Therefore the industrial zones have more trucks going through them and whenever a new building is being constructed it is possible to see dump trucks roaming the city streets. The disaster effects are pretty cool to watch as they tear through your well laid city and it actually makes losing the last three hours of work somewhat fun. I found the game to scroll smoothly even on my friends Pentium 200. The engine does bog down when you make large jumps across the landscape but this is to be expected and I decided to not hold it against the game.

The sound is not as good in the graphics. Where as I found the graphics to be perfect I found the sound to be annoying. When you spend hours playing this game the music starts to get a little bit old and the sound of birds chirping makes you want to join the NRA. To their credit I think the sound is well recorded and the stereo imaging is very cool. It is possible to enable 3d audio but I was unable to get it working on my A3d card. It's too bad the sound gets annoying very quickly.

The gameplay of SimCity is the most important part by far. In my opinion I think the gameplay is entertaining but there are several quirks. The good things include the fact that in general the concept is a fun and a great time waster. Since the first version of SimCity the game has become much more involved and realistic. In addition to regulating power you must also now regulate water distribution, provide for mass transit and garbage disposal. This was first implemented in SimCity 2000 but was done very poorly and was an incredible hassle. The engine that allows you to lay piping and subway tunnels has been revamped so that it is very easy to join them and not the pain that was before. There are now advisors that help you decide what to do and my favorite new ability: the ability to sell power, water and garbage to other cities. As mayor you are now responsible to broker deals and regulate commerce. There are more ordinances now and even lobbying groups that try to sway your decisions. As your city grows you discover new technologies and receive gifts for being a good mayor. A news ticker alerts you to events and concerns within the city as well as emergency situations. All of this is well executed except for a couple of bugs that I found very annoying. The most troublesome is the fact that your people get upset very easily. If you do not provide police and fire coverage immediately they will start to gripe. They also complain of traffic problems even if you lay roads and build subways all over town. Water and power do not fill new pipes until the first of the month and often you lose deals to other cities because it appears that you do not have any surplus water. Little things such as this put a damper on the overall sim and I find them to be very disappointing. A couple of cool features that didn't fit under any other category were: the large number of scenarios available as well as the new ability to pick terrain copied from real cities such as New York and Los Angeles. Overall with its new features gameplay is pretty solid and better then its predecessors.

Fun Factor:
Mileage will vary. If you liked the first two ones then I recommend picking this one up. It is entertaining and ensured to keep you amused if not frustrated for hours on end. Fans of action games will probably not like this one and fans of the Real Time Strategy genre might be disappointed as well. If you like this game though it will become an addiction that will not be satisfied until your city has reached metropolis status..

Overall Impression:
I like this game a lot but I don't feel that it deserves a high rating due to its difficulty and a couple of the quirks that are fine at first but slowly become more and more annoying. I really like the graphics but abhor the sound. As I have said several times before, if you were a fan of the first two or have never played a Sim game before, I recommend picking this one up.


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