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Reviewed: The Sims
Author: Chris Kim       Date: February 20th 2000
Page: 3

One aspect of the game that truly adds to an exciting gaming environment is the dynamic AI of the various characters, this includes the characters that the player himself controls and the other Sims that aren't controlled by the player. As events occur and happen, the way that the particular Sim approaches and confronts the SimWorld and neighborhood can change a little or drastically. This is where the fights and falling in love comes into play, such events can trigger other events as the ones mentioned above. As mentioned before, fulfilling the needs of each of the Sims is necessary to maintain a happy life. If the various Sims are not happy, many consequences will happen. They can get depressed and not want to look for a job or associate with others. If this gets even worse Sims can sometimes shrivel up and die.

Environments that players live in are also quite important and crucial to proper living. Depending on the lifestyles and type of personality that such Sims possesses, various things can happen to them. For one, houses can become complete trash dumps, causing the Sims to get sick of living there and can cause other disgusted feelings. While the game is a lot of fun, it can sometimes seem to delve and fall under it's own complexity due to some simplicity factors. While that statement may seem like an oxymoron, it goes something like this. Players will never leave the block or neighborhood, there is nothing beyond the home. They never go to the mall or grocery store, in fact, players will just get money subtracted from their accounts when they take something out of their fridge. Perhaps, in future versions, there will be more added into the game to make it deeper. Something like Sim City 2000 did to the original then what Sim City 3000 did to the 2000 version.

One thing that players should not neglect is the online community where active users can download, upload, and share various player skins, homes, and players interchangeably. If you happen to get tired of your created homes or players, just trade them in and get another life to play around with. Toss in some extra furnishings from Maxis to download that integrate quickly and easily into the game, the game shouldn't lose much longevity.

Taunts and Warnings
Learn Well, Live Strong
Baby Paint?

Remaining in similar fashion to the previous Sim games, The Sims contains a very strong and simple to use interface that all gamers should appreciate to the fullest ability. The very easy and intuitive interface that players encounter is heavily mouse driven which gamers should be able to easily get into. All functions within the game is mouse based, this includes designing and movement of Sims and homes. One of the most intuitive parts of the interface that really makes it simple and easy to get into the game is the added pop-up or hint menus that gives a basic and often funny description of a certain product that the Sim chooses to purchase or build. These menus give the low down of what that an item does, such as the mirror, which allows Sims to practice their speech, which in-turn adds to their charisma statistic (a job characteristic). The organization and way the interface is laid out for the player to navigate and use is very simple and well designed. Similar to how simple the architectural design tool is to use, the rest of the interface allows even more simple usage.

On a slightly negative part of the interface are the rather slowly panning cameras that can become rather cumbersome. The clock that the game is built around is also insanely fast, making such quick tasks as going to the restroom or grabbing something to eat extremely time consuming. The sluggish camera angle also sometimes makes it difficult for the player to follow and chase all of the Sims around, commanding them what to do. But the added on-the-fly switch button very nice to control the various Sims. Another slight quirk is that pathfinding and navigation around certain objects can be troublesome, but this is usually only around the smaller objects such as tables and chairs.

Where to Live?
Nothing Like Surround Sound
Start With Some Java

Nothing Maxis has provided in the past has been revolutionary or even evolutionary in the graphical department, and The Sims is not any different from these past titles. The game offers a very nice graphical engine that doesn't even utilize the 3D Accelerator. While at first, the graphics may seem very displeasing and very poor looking at an idle state, once The Sims gets into action the real visual flare and taste comes into a league of its own. Each of the animated Sim models are all composed of many polygons and are smoothly animated. All of the animations lead to a very comical expression that will make the player at least grin. The environment created is very full of color and consists of many strong textures that give the game some distinct flavor. The various special effects such as fires aren't the greatest looking, nor realistic, but it ties in excellently to the rest of the game. One of the nicest touches of the game is the various zoomed camera angles, camera perspectives, and wall perspectives. Players can choose to have the walls "break" themselves down when the player wishes to look at a certain location or stay up at the choice of the player. Technically, The Sims supports many wide ranges of features, from 1024x768 resolution to anti-aliasing which is supported without much performance hit.

Oh, That's No Good
Second Story--Doll House
The Pleasures of Life

Aureally speaking, the game provides one of the most full and satisfying experiences to the player as the speech and chattering of the various Sims is something to really hear. While everything they speak is gibberish, the tones and the setting of the environment that the conversation occurs in makes the player really imagine and think of their own phrases to say. Sort of a fill-in-the-blank fashion, it's a lot like a fill-in-the-gibberish that makes it so enjoyable to listen to. The various sound effects that fill the air very closely resemble those sounds that one would hear within a home, which is what makes it so realistic. Add in EAX support, the world sounds incredible. Musically, the game really follows in the steps of what the characters are doing and/or if they are playing the radio, an item to buy in the game. The pleasant and nice to listen to music is a great addition to the game that keeps the game interesting and never boring to hear.

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Added:  Sunday, February 20, 2000
Reviewer:  Chris Kim
Page: 3/5

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