Product Type: Electronic Arts PC games
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An addictive simulation of town planning
SimCity 3000 (PC)
Member Name: SimonCook
SimCity 3000 (PC)
Date: 07/01/02, updated on 07/01/02 (260 review reads)
Advantages: Ver Addictive, Fun Graphics
Disadvantages: Get repetitive eventually, Annoying sounds
Simulation games are perhaps one of the most satisfying games around as they provide unique game play while still being realistic enough to allow you to experience real life situations.
One of the first games I played when I purchased my first PC (an Olivetti 386sx) was Sim City. The concept of being able to build a city, watch it grow, save it from disasters and ensure that it becomes a metropolis was intriguing and I spent many sleepless nights trying to create Simonsville.
The first thing I noticed about this ‘Sim’ game was that it was very addictive, and that no matter what was happening I just had to stay up five minutes more to see through another year.
Several years later, Sim City 2000 was published – I did play this version but was in the process of changing careers and buying a house so I wasn’t as gripped. So finally I notice that Sim City 3000 is topping the charts (this is particularly strange as the software is copyrighted 1999 – I therefore assume this is merely a re-vamped Sim City 2000) and as my wife said she loved to play Sim City, I felt that I was justified in buying this game.
For those who have never played the game before, the simple idea of the game is to start the game with some money and start building a small town. As you progress through time you should be able to build up your town until it is a metropolis.
The game is simple to play but has so many different connotations that it is difficult to summarize in an opinion, however here are some general pointers:
Zones (varying densities)
The main ‘building blocks’ of Sim City are called zones – initially you will concentrate on three zones; Residential – this is where your ‘population’ will start to build their houses; Industrial – this is where industries will grow; Commercial – this is whe
re shopping centers and other types of commerce will grow.
Initially you will build small zones while your city grows, you will need to ensure that there are enough residential zones to allow for an influx in population and also that the commercial and industrial zones have enough room for the demand. It is essential that you balance your development between these three zones – they are essentially the most important zones.
Other zones include sea-ports, airports – these will become important as your city grows and you need to have different methods of stimulating growth in your city.
In every town there is an infrastructure that essentially ensures that your city runs efficiently. This includes road, rail, buses, subways, garbage collection, electricity and water pipes. Each of these is important – initially you will have to ensure that there is enough electricity supply and water for all your zones, also you will have to ensure that there are roads to allow your population to move around – however as your population grows you will have to improve your infrastructure by including rail, subways, motorways etc to ensure that your city can continue to grow.
In every major city there is a need for facilities that will allow your population to improve; additionally there is also a need for police and fire stations to allow you to ensure that crime is low and fires are containable.
Sim City 3000 allows you to build many different types of facilities that include schools, colleges, hospitals, police stations, fires station etc.
While many people may be happy with a totally fully functional city, others will crave the need for ‘beauty’. You have many options that allow you to improve your ‘beauty’ of your city – parks, waterways, trees etc
can all help.
The game can be played by using the mouse; placing of zones, roads etc. involves dragging and clicking ‘squares’ to the relevant size and ensuring that you have enough money to pay for them. Placing of special features such as schools etc involves selecting the item and then putting a pre-sized square in an appropriate place. For both the system will tell you if the place you have picked is OK, i.e. if it is a good place your square will be green, if it is a bad place it will be red.
Much of the game play involves looking at information screens. There are several different types of screens ranging from graphs showing information about your city – e.g. pollution, population, crime etc; other screens include ‘advisors’ – these are essentially help screens and these advisors often clue you in on problem areas around your city – for instance in my latest Simonsville, one of my advisors tells me my seaport won’t develop – she explains that a sea-port must be large, must have water and electric, must have roads and must be on the coast (DOH!) – my sea-port has all these and still doesn’t develop!
Perhaps one of the most important screens is the Budget screen. This is a profit and loss statement and generally tells you if you are making or losing money.
You have the option to increase or decrease taxes; increase or decrease funding to utilities; set ordinances (these are measures that will help your city – e.g. you can set a curfew for teenagers, create parking meters, create a ‘reading’ ordinance etc – some of these gan money while some are costly); negotiate deals with bordering towns (if you connect roadways, rail, power lines etc you can negotiate deals with neighbouring towns – additionally if you have excess water, electric or garbage facilities then you have options to sell these to neigh
bours; negotiate business deals – sometimes large corporations will request to place large buildings within your city – these range from prisons, casinos (which will pay you) to lighthouse which cost money but protect your ships.
One of the most daunting prospects when building a city is having disasters. The disasters can range from simple fires, to tornadoes, to earthquakes, to space ships attacking. You can protect your city to a certain extent, but sometimes all you can do is watch as you city turns to rubble.
(Note: rumours have it that there are monsters out there too!!!)
Disasters are normally very difficult to stop - the tornado is paricularly disastrous and often involves a lot of rebuilding and fire control! Don't let the damage get out of control as fire can spread rapidly and destroy you whole town!
The graphics are good; an isometric 3-d view of the city allows you to zoom in or out of your city. As your zones build up, the buildings will change – sometimes they turn into skyscrapers (or large factories etc) if your population is growing, or sometimes will turn into derelict buildings as your city is in decline – essentially the graphics are cosmetic, but they do give you an insight into the success of your city.
The sound is initially good with a few nice tunes and sound effects; however I found that generally I turned the sound of as it became very repetitive after a while.
There are many pre-set or builder cities to use – some are fully developed cities that you essentially have to look after, while others are templates that have the general infrastructure built and then you have to improve. These provide a useful means for beginners to have successful cities, building a new city from scratch even on the easiest level takes a lot of care and attention.
Overall the game is very addictive, with the power of building a city and the ability to ensure its success somehow making the game exciting. After a while the game becomes repetitive and slow as you wait for new technologies or you build up enough money to build the super highway.
The game really hasn’t changes that much from the orginal sim city – the only main differences being the 3-d graphics and the ability to have more items such as subways etc.