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Reviewed: Sim City 3000 Unlimited
Author: Chris Kim       Date: July 12th, 2000
Page: 2

Sim City instantly became a hit and was hailed as one of the most creative, addictive, and fun games ever to be released. It incorporated the idea of being the mayor of a city and building it into one of the most successful cities in the SimNation. Along came the sequel to it, Sim City 2000 which added the new years through 2000 with new buildings and new play styles. It introduced the element of more realism, improve strategy, and more options in general. It also introduced the element of scenarios, where the player must accomplish some sort of task. Soon after, 3000 was released. It contained even more refinements and enhancements to improve the gameplay. One thing was missing though... the excellent scenarios in the previous game! How did Maxis address this issue...?

Their response was overwhelming. Being a deliverer of games, they listened to the complaints of the fans and took those comments to the drawing boards. What they came up with was Sim City 3000 Unlimited, the follow-up to the original 3000. New in this version are new building architecture, buildings, scenarios, disasters, landmarks, terrain types, editors, and a bunch of other things too numerous to name. Probably the biggest new appeal about Unlimited is the inclusion of the scenarios, which add a lot of replay and goal-oriented play to the game, which was largely missing from the original.

Nicely Squared Off
FMV Movies
Should I Listen?

Going back to 2000, Unlimited adds the highly desired scenarios missing from the original. It includes about thirteen new scenarios, ranging widely in their tasks to be accomplished and difficulty. One of the easier tasks includes removing crime and improving the value of the land. It involves building lots of police stations and jails with giving what the people want, reducing pollution, and helping the environment in general. Another memorable scenario is the reunification of Germany after the Berlin Wall falls. It requires all modes of transportation between the cities be reconnected and strong community structure. These scenarios are definitely fun and interesting to play around with, giving players the opportunity to make something of these cities, rather than just build.

Another great feature are the new buildings and architecture included. There are now American, European, and Asian building types available in the game. The building count has increase from about 470 to a whopping some 840! Each type of building has a completely unique and different design that gives each city, depending on the building type, a unique and interesting feel. Unfortunately, these changes or merely cosmetic, as the game remains unchanged from each building type. But, players can change their building styles on the fly whichever tileset they choose initially. This also leads to the new landmarks, there are only about 20 new ones from the original. These new ones are nice additions and give more Eastern Hemisphere atmosphere to the game.

The City of Buildings
Scenario Editor
Building Tool

One of the major improvements with Unlimited is a much improved query tool. Unlike the original, where the tool simply gave simple information about each building or item, the new tool gives much more robust and complete information about that item that has been clicked on. It even gives indication of why a zone was abandoned and what the player can do to improve their city zones. A reason it might list It also includes a replace function, which depending on what is in the query list, will replace the 1x1 or 4x4 tile building with some other completely different building of the same dimensions. These and other enhancements to the game simply add more simplicity for the interface for new players to jump right into, which was one problem with the original. There is now a very robust tutorial included in the now very thick Unlimited manual that is comparable to some of the manuals found with another EA subsidiary... Jane's Combat Simulations.

Territorial and landscape editors are also included which significantly alters and balances out the terrain prior to building. Hills, rivers, and slopes can all be significantly changed to fit the needs of the user. Creating tons of forests and no rivers, or a huge river with few hills are all possibilities with the fairly robust editor. There is also a randomization feature that will allow the player to have any sort of balanced land layout to play with. Also there are various terrain and climate types that can skin the terrain. Unfortunately, the climate terrain doesn't play a real role in how the environment is effected. It does create some unique details, though.

Flying UFO
The Start of a Nation
Industry Pollution

Similar to the new terrain options, there are also new disasters to strike fear into the hearts of the sims living in the city. These four new disasters include a whirlpool, which is the equivalent of a tornado in the water, just five times the size; space stuff, which is much like the movie Armageddon with stuff falling from the sky crash landing somewhere on the map; locust invasion, where a breed of insects come and ravage a city; and toxic cloud, which is harmful to the industry sector by raining seemingly acid onto the city destroying everything it touches, it sort of has the effect that the TV show The Simpsons portrays. These new disasters are plenty fun to play with and add more replay value into the game, which it is already notorious for. Continuing with disasters, the shipping version of Unlimited is slightly buggy. Crashes were quite frequent with it, but downloading the new patch (with the auto-updater built into the game) alleviated the crashes and made the game rock stable.

There are also two new robust editors: the scenario designer and building architect. Just as they sound, they have similar functions as those editors that were included in Sim City 2000. The scenario editor allows players to design their own complete custom scenarios from the ground up using a simplified type of programming commands. Everything from news tickers to people's comments can be programmed. The building architect can design completely unique and interesting buildings using a fully 3D modeled program that is somewhat similar to a CAD designer. From here, players will be able to make any type of building using all the functions of building overlays, paint colors, and patterns. This translates directly into more scenarios and buildings to trade with friends and this is simplified even more by using the exchange program built into the game. Everything from cities, scenarios, to unique buildings can be downloaded and inserted into the game for maximum replay value.

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Added:  Wednesday, July 12, 2000
Reviewer:  Chris Kim
Score:
Page: 2/5

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