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Reviewed: Sim City 3000 Unlimited
Author: Chris Kim       Date: July 12th, 2000
Page: 3

Since all of the Sim City games have had no real AI to them, Unlimited is really no different. The needs of the sims with their petitions and requests are still here with an on-going news ticker that informs the player of events and happenings within his city. This information and request tip the player off with what the citizens and groups around the area are demanding. The balance and amount of requests that the people make is reasonable and keeps with accordance to what and where the player is building such structures, even though some of the animations of sims and traffic is hilarious to watch. Even if the player were to build roads all around the city, there can be only one busy intersection while every other street is completely barren. Sims on the road will sometimes just walk around the city even when disasters are striking, making them look like complete idiots with no idea what is going on.

One of the strongest elements of the game is the balanced difficulty. While it might not be balanced per say on the various difficulties, but the amount of money that is initially invested to the player significantly impacts how well the player can start off. Even on the easy setting, where the player is given $50,000 to start their city off, it is still a difficult game to get a solid city going that produces a steady income from the get go. This is of course made easier in the scenarios, where the player must aid an already accomplished city. The learning curve is alleviated by built-in tutorial lessons that teach the player the ins and outs of playing a scenario.

Space Junk Falling
Huge City
Scenario Completed!

Inside the game, the interface remains just as intuitive and simple as the original game. A full menu on the right with two more levels of submenus divides the building selections with large icons that are easily identifiable. There are several zoom levels for the player to select, from way out to see the whole map and so close that the small sims are visible on the ground walking around. The camera angle used is a nice isometric view that can be rotated 90 in any which way. The way the mouse is used is very smart with the left button for all of the selections and the right button for movement of the map. Think of The Sims, and that is how the basic control schemes and interface are built.

Even the scenario editor and architect designer have nice interfaces, although not as intuitive as the game itself. They are pretty hefty and largely influenced by the more expensive and extensive CAD programs with multiple view 2D side angles and the full 3D image for the architecture tool. With various shapes and tools to choose from, the multi-viewed tool works great. The same goes for the scenario editor, it is pretty simple to use and shouldn't be a problem to design new scenarios. One word of advice, however, only try using these tools if you have a lot of patience. Gamers without patience will have a frustrating time playing around with these tools.

Walk Fools!
Toxic Clouds
Locust Attack!

Graphically, the game isn't stunning, but it does look very good, especially for a 2D game. Each building is rendered stunningly in 3D with lots of detail, everything from the windows to brick layering. More stunning are the landmarks and special buildings, which have intricate detail that truly make the city look amazing. All of the disasters have a nice graphical touch to them and they stand out as quality graphical measures. What is amazing is the amount of zoom that can be accomplished with the engine. Players can even get so close-up and personal that the sims can be seen walking and doing what they do normally. Of course, when the player zooms in so much the graphics tend to get a bit pixelated because the game doesn't use any form of 3D Acceleration, that doesn't distract from the overall beauty of the game, however.

Of course, all this beauty doesn't come without a price. While the game will run fine on the minimum system requirements, it can slow down... a lot. On the setting of 800x600, there is major slow down when there is a large city to be rendered. In fact, the system actually compensates for the mass amount of graphics it has to render by filling in the buildings not currently onscreen with a bunch of boxes that don't require lots of processor power to render. This is a major problem, even on a C450MHz that is well above the recommended specification on the box.

Welcome to European Life
Busy Intersection
Building Crazy

As with most Maxis' games, Unlimited has excellent sound effects that fit in with the game using sounds that match perfectly with the environment. Cars honking and people chattering while fumes fill the air from factories and water flowing are all part of the air. Such mood sound effects as the boos and cheers of the people when certain ordinances and offers are accepted or declined add to the nice touch of sound effects. The music is a quite cheery mix with nice laid back tones to listen to. They add to the overall feeling of being a relaxed mayor with tasks at hand to do while having a good time doing it.

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Added:  Wednesday, July 12, 2000
Reviewer:  Chris Kim
Score:
Page: 3/5

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