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1 Player

Game Type

God Game

Mem. Card

Review Date

March 1997

Setting the Scene

Maxis have enjoyed a successful few years providing the PC market with a selection of quality simulated construction games. Playstation owners received a taste of this type of game with Bullfrogs Theme Park over a year ago, and although it was moderately well received, there were many who found that their hands were tied when all they wanted was to get stuck into the thick of the action. So prepare to play the role of God with a transition of the management game that combines engrossing gameplay with complex strategy, Sim City 2000.


Sim City requires the player to plan, design, organize and run a city within a limited budget. Beginning with a barren landscape and a predetermined capital, you must bring your city to life by installing services and roads to entice the sims from neighboring towns to construct their business' and homes within your boundaries. You must allocate areas of land for industrial and commercial use while maintaining a balance of budget.

The game requires strategic skill and thoughtful planning with the objective to influence outsiders to not only settle, but to remain within the city that you have built from the ground. As mayor, you must balance the books by carefully setting taxes on your citizens, too low and you will bankrupt city finances, too high and your sims will up and leave.


The 3D city is viewed from an isometric perspective that offers two magnifications. Although this first appears sufficient, it would have been a nice touch if you were allowed to zoom in and out of your city and this would have been more than helpful when your city expands to all four borders. Each of the building have a distinctive appearance that will prove useful as you plan your site positions.

The effects of the disasters were a little disappointing as a flood only results in a large splurge of blue suddenly appears where your buildings once stood, while a raging fire looks about as threatening as a tub of popcorn. The alien that invades your land has a similar appearance to one of those mechanical arcade gripping machines that never picks anything up and a mass riot has the town folk reacting in a similar fashion to the inhabitants of a disturbed ant hill.

The biggest disappointment was the drive through feature which allows you to tour your city from a sims vehicle but renders itself useless because of the poor graphical quality and the mysterious disappearance of the sims. I would have preferred to have seen the space used for a short FMV of each of the disasters.

Sounds and Effects

The music that accompanies the growth of your city is a non descript background score that you would associate with a shopping expedition at your city mall. It doesn't grind on your nerves, it's just...there, always.

The sound effects are no more than a few bangs and crashes as a building is demolished and the odd noises of transport moving around your city. Popular moves receive a rousing cheer from your sims while an unfavorable decision gets a rowdy response.


On loading Sim City you are confronted with an options screen where you must make your first major decision. There are two ways in which Sim City may be played. You may decide to take on the challenges of the scenarios, with each having a win condition. If you meet this condition within a specific time, you will be allowed to continue your job as mayor, but if you fail then you will be taking a stroll down to the Sim City unemployment bureau. If you prefer, you can choose to build a new city from the ground up, providing the essential services that will entice the sims to settle within your boundaries.

The scenario screen allows you to select a pre-built town that is about to befall a disaster. You must call out the city emergency services to regain control of the area , then implement a rebuilding program that will return the city to its previous condition. There are 18 different scenarios available from an earthquake in San Francisco and a nuclear device in Barcelona to monsters roaming Hollywood and an Alien Invasion over Atlanta.

Although the scenarios are fun to play, you will soon learn that it is a lot more challenging to build than destroy, therefore I would recommend that your first experience of Sim City should be a visit to the Edit New Map screen. Here you can adjust the terrain to suit your needs, free of charge. Reducing the level of the land will save you a fortune in demolition works while setting the position of the rivers and lakes can avoid a constant problem of water shortage. Once your terrain is set out correctly you may begin your construction program.

Sim City will offer you the opportunity to name your city, decide the year you will commence your program from 1900 through to 2050 and your opening capital , which in effect is the difficulty setting.

The controls are quite user friendly with the screen displaying a fast access menu for your immediate tools. Move the cursor with the directional buttons to highlight your selection of tool, then press the choose button to use the item. An ever present message bar at the top of the screen will keep you informed of your cash balance, population, hints and messages from your sims while in the lower right of the screen is a demand indicator which lets you know what kind of zones the sims need.

A little thoughtful planning is required before you begin laying roads and water pipes as a misplaced road to nowhere will cost a fortune to maintain with little or no benefit to the community, while a bridge across a river will be a wasted expense during your cities early growth.

The demand indicator will display a request for a power station as your first investment, so choose wisely from the nine available power sources. An expensive nuclear power station will provide ample electricity but will use a large slice of your allowance much too early in your career (and be warned about the threat of a radioactive leak), while a cheap coal fired plant will save you money short term but the pollution brigade will soon be knocking at your door.

Power and water installed? Then its time to allocate zones of land that will entice those little sims within your domain. The demand indicator will show that your city requires an input of industry. Heavy or light? It's your decision. Once you have allotted your building areas the next step is to take one of your roads to the boundaries of your city and connect it to a neighbors town. Now sit back, wait and watch.

Little cars will appear on your roads as the sims enter your region. If they like what they see they will begin to build their factories and businesses on your allocated zones. If you pamper their needs they will even settle in your city. Hey, this is a great feeling, it's like becoming a parent. Those lovely cute little sims are your children. Ah, isn't that nice, they are now building a pretty house with a garden at the front. What's this, you need more water to sprinkle your lawns, no problem my cute little sims, here have a water pump, in fact why not have two. Money in the bank and the sims are doing all the work, easy life.

My sims are requesting more building land for their little friends, isn't that nice, they must like my town. Okay, have some more land, after all I have plenty to spare. "Water shortage!" Have another pump. "Police station!" "Fire Brigade!" Fair enough, I'll place it quite near your homes to protect you all, my lovely little sims.

"Water shortage!" In a minute, I'm in the middle of a budget with my council who are advising me to cut back on public services so I will have to trim the police and fire service's funding. "Water shortage!" All right, but it's your last. "Hospital!" "Schools!" Bloody hell, the coffers are bare so I had better take out a bond at 4% interest. My adviser recommends that I increase property taxes to pay back the deficit, fair enough and while I'm at it I'll install parking meters and implement a 1% sales tax. Hang on, my sims are booing me and some are even leaving town. Ungrateful little gits, after all I have done for them. "Water shortage!"

My sims are requesting a debate on the pollution in the atmosphere, I wish I had installed an electric power station instead of that smelly coal fired plant. "Water shortage!" Get stuffed. "We want a park!" Up yours, in fact UP taxes. My adviser recommends cut backs on public services, so I reduced the road maintenance allowance. "You'll regret that" claims my chancellor. I did, the roads began to crumble before my eyes and the sims could not get to work, unemployment rose, offices were vacated, stores were closed. Water shortage! Piss off!

"Your town requires a new power plant to meet demands!" is the message that hit the screen. I know, I'll just take out another 10,000 bond against the cities assets, it was only 4% the last time. How much? 8%, daylight robbery. Well I'm not paying that, we will just have to make do. "The residents are demanding a Zoo". Fat chance. The power plant is breaking down and there are areas of my city without electricity. "We need more firemen". "We need more hospitals". "The residents are demanding a marina". Right, that's it. I promptly borrowed 20,000 against the cities assets, built a small airport, climbed aboard the first long distance flight and skipped town.

Sim City is about real life, that includes real problems with real people. It wasn't easy playing God, perhaps next time I would prefer to be one of the Disciples.

Value for Money

With a new landscape generated for each town, Sim City offers you the chance to not only build a wide range of cities, but to expand each project into a bustling metropolis. Once you have completed the building process you may, in effect, spend years as the city mayor budgeting and financing for your citizens needs.

If you have already attempted this type of game with Bullfrogs Theme Park, then you will enjoy the advanced features of Sim City. If not, then I cannot recommend a more worthwhile title to wet your feet in the world of simulated management games than Sim City 2000.





With every game being different from the last, this makes the life-span of this title enormous. Maxis have tuned this game to perfection, resulting in a game that must surely resemble some of the pressures of running a small town.











Although I initially found Sim City to be like taking a crash course in accountancy, I very quickly learned from my mistakes and on my fourth attempt at constructing a city I was fairing quite well and managing to balance the books, just. The setting of taxes against demand proved a successful move while the realization that a spend, spend, spend policy will only result in bankruptcy. Sometimes you must sit back and wait for a tax rise to take effect but this doesn't make the game boring, as there is always something to do in the mayors office. An excellent strategy game that will open your eyes to the world of politics.








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