Simcity – Will You Build The Ideal City?
By Shaun Rogers
Start with a underdeveloped town (you name it yourself) and build it into a metropolis. Or, take on the challenge of rescuing a city overwhelmed with problems. Either way, taxes, zoning, crime, transportation, education, fire control, and other critical issues are in your hands.
Time is passing, and every decision you make has a future consequence. Your assistant, Dr. Wright, can help you make the right decisions. Just ask! Surprise catastrophes also threaten your growing city like fire, earthquakes, airplane crashes, even a giant Koopa who has a nose for industrial pollution!
Will you build the ideal city? Or will disgruntled citizens leave you with a ghost town?
SimCity was released for the Super Nintendo in 1991, being one of the first games released, right after the initial three (Mario World, F-Zero and Pilotwings). There really is not a whole lot to say about the story; You have been elected mayor of a barren land form (Plus some water) and your goal is to turn it into a Megalopolis of 500,000 citizens. Sound easy? It’s not.
The Graphics do fit within the game well and by themselves they are genuinely above average. The music is just simply great as the game play fits perfectly within the game structure. Making it all blend together very nicely, making this very enjoyable to play.
This game was not a showcase for the SNES’s graphic capabilities, nor was it meant to be. Nonetheless, there were some pretty cool effects here like when the seasons change every three months, thus changing the color of the forests from green to brown to white. The ”zones” do not look as they would in real life, especially when they are first built.
Airports and Seaports look pretty nice. It is also fairly easy to tell what is going on, which is always a plus for example when a zone needs Power, you will see a lightning bolt flash on and off it. Some structures are also animated, the Industrial Zones in particular.
Sound & Effects:
To be honest, until you get to Metropolis (100,000 citizens), the music is really kind of annoying but before that, the Disaster theme will be one of the best you will hear. The music does seem to fit whatever stage of development your city is in. Of course, when the music does get annoying, it really does not help.
Sound effects wise, there’s a really slim selection, besides the clicking of icons and the placement of zones. Sometimes you get a rail car starting up, or a Plane taking off (Or crashing down, right before that cool disaster music). Other than that, there is not really a whole lot to the sound effects through out the game.
While it is true that the game would really benefit from a mouse device, this game predated the SNES mouse by a year or so, so that was not an option. In spite of this, the game controls really well, and there’s quite a bit to do, even in the light of this game’s sequels, Simcity 2000 and 3000. You can set game speed, wreak disasters on your city at will (Though you can not invoke the almighty Nuclear Meltdown… ), or go to Dr. Wright for some advice.
Of course, in order to accomplish your goal, you will have to listen to your citizens, and give them what they want. The Icon interface allows you to access this info whenever you need it. As far as building your city goes, it’s really simple: Just click on the structure you want to build, find a place for it, push a button, and “BAM” there is your structure.
While it’s not really a story, the basic premise was very original for its time. You are the mayor of a city that you have to guide to Megalopolisdom. Keep in mind that Story was not a very important part of video games in 1991, not that the premise would have been any different. But let’s face it, it is not the story that will keep you playing this game.
Quite honestly, I’m of the belief that pulling off a Megalopolis the right way is the single toughest feat in all of video gaming. And the Big Money Code you probably already know about does not really make it any easier. As with any game of its kind, you have to go slow and build up a solid financial base before you can build at any sort of decent pace (As such, you spend a lot of time with the Game Speed set to Fast, just waiting around). The Big Money code can make this faster, but not any easier trust me.
Admittedly, there is not a lot to do after you beat this game. Of course you probably never will beat the game, in the Megalopolis sense. If you get bored, you can challenge one of 6 scenarios, in which you are given a city with a problem ranging from the mundane (Traffic, Crime) to the near catastrophic (Nuclear Meltdown). You have a set period of time 5 or 10 years to make the situation right.
It is quite a challenge to stay within your budget for this amount of time, given that you will probably lose several hundred dollars a year, besides having to improve the city. Before you beat them, it’s fun to play the game a lot, but afterward you really get kind of sick of it.
This was really the first Sim game that spawn all the others, and it is still one of the best. The functional graphics, ”Unique” soundtrack, great control, and of course, the disasters, make this a game you will want in your collection if you are a fan of the Simulation genre.
You won’t be disappointed. Overall this is just simply another classic game that exceeds on various levels. While it is not a terribly rare game like ”Final Fantasy III” or ”Mega Man X3” it is not a highly common one as well. (Though fortunately at least its price range is generally reasonable.) Its sequels may be bigger but the original title is still going strong…
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