advertising information

CNN.com
 MAIN PAGE
 WORLD
 ASIANOW
 U.S.
 LOCAL
 POLITICS
 WEATHER
 BUSINESS
 SPORTS
 TECHNOLOGY
   computing
   personal technology
   space
 NATURE
 ENTERTAINMENT
 BOOKS
 TRAVEL
 FOOD
 HEALTH
 STYLE
 IN-DEPTH

 custom news
 Headline News brief
 daily almanac
 CNN networks
 CNN programs
 on-air transcripts
 news quiz

  CNN WEB SITES:
CNN Websites
 TIME INC. SITES:
 MORE SERVICES:
 video on demand
 video archive
 audio on demand
 news email services
 free email accounts
 desktop headlines
 pointcast
 pagenet

 DISCUSSION:
 message boards
 chat
 feedback

 SITE GUIDES:
 help
 contents
 search

 FASTER ACCESS:
 europe
 japan

 WEB SERVICES:
COMPUTING

SimCity 3000's beauty is in the details

February 9, 1999
Web posted at: 3:07 p.m. EST (2007 GMT)

by Nash Werner

From...
Games.net

sim city

(IDG) -- Twelve years ago, Will Wright created a happy little computer simulation called SimCity -- and the world of computer and console gaming was changed forever. Who knew building and maintaining a city could be so much fun? Who knew how addictive and challenging the entire process, no matter how exhausting, could be? Well, Will did. And now, with over a million fans worldwide and an entire decade behind us, SimCity 3000 has been released. And a starving, sleep-deprived city-builder named Nash couldn't be happier.

Gameplay

SimCity 3000's gameplay picks up right where SC2K leaves off: You're in charge of transforming an ordinary countryside into a sprawling metropolis. Gameplay consists of building a water and power supply, connecting these two structures with pipes and power lines, and then building the first of your residential zones. But those things alone won't draw people to your town. You'll also need to provide industrial zones where your residents can find jobs, and have commercial zones in which your residents can spend all their hard-earned money. sim city

Longtime SimCity fans may not be immediately overwhelmed by new features, as the only additions come in the form of new building types, modifications to the charts (for pollution levels, traffic, and money-managing), new graphical features, and the NewsTicker. But this is a good thing. Rather than overloading the game with a plethora of new options, the team seems to have cooked up the perfect blend of subtle features whose sole purpose is to perfect the franchise, not change it.

Of all the new options, the NewsTicker helps gameplay the most. It runs below your view window and scrolls news and information about your city's status horizontally across the screen. The NewsTicker basically does what the Newspaper did in previous versions of the game. And its resemblance to a Wall Street stockticker will help tulip-trading baby boomers feel right at home.

Like all the SimCity games before it, SC3K's gameplay is good -- if you know what you're doing. On that note, I'd suggest that Maxis include an in-game tutorial next time around. Something for the newbies. Something definitely more visual, educational, and interactive. Something where their eyes are on the screen while they learn the ropes, and not squinting at the manual. Newcomers to the series may have a tough time getting started.

MORE COMPUTING INTELLIGENCE
IDG.net   IDG.net home page
  Games.net home page
  Download free PC game software fast
  Cheat codes! Never die! Gain secret powers!
  More games reviews at Games.net
 Reviews & in-depth info at IDG.net
    IDG.net's desktop PC page
  IDG.net's portable PC page
  IDG.net's Windows software page
  IDG.net's personal news page
  Questions about computers? Let IDG.net's editors help you
  Subscribe to IDG.net's free daily newsletter for computer geniuses (& newbies)
  Search IDG.net in 12 languages
 News Radio
 * Fusion audio primers
 * Computerworld Minute
   

Graphics

The first change you'll notice is the zoom capabilities: You can zoom in closer and zoom out farther than ever before. It's the little details that make the series beautiful, and SC3K is no exception. For instance, in the farthest zoom setting, not only do you get a bird's-eye view of the action, but the audio fades out as well to enhance the sense of distance, and you'll spot clouds floating by as if you were looking down from a mountaintop. Zoom into the closest setting, and you'll see the city come to life in an explosion of sounds, sights, and day-to-day activities. From commuters struggling to beat the clock to busy military bases complete with troops marching across the fields, the SC3K art team paid great attention to detail. And the results are very good-looking.

Maxis will also be supporting the graphics side of SC3K by releasing various freebies on the company's Web site (link below). True fans will be able to download free landmarks months after the game's release -- structures such as San Francisco's TransAmerica building and Nevada's Area 51. Any day now, Maxis will also release the Building Architect Tool, which will allow you to design your very own buildings.

Sound

SimCity 3000 packs a lot of great sound -- from the hustle-bustle of downtown traffic to the sounds of boats sailing around the marina. And you get more than digital sound effects: there's also an outstanding musical jukebox that'll play any of a dozen-odd scores at the drop of a hat. Plus, you can process the audio in 3D mode if you have the proper hardware.

Overall score: 8.5 out of 10

A brilliant addition to a franchise with a huge following, SC3K does a great job of satisfying the hardcore SimCity fan, but it doesn't go out of its way to appeal to newbies. Casual gamers curious about the whole Sim phenomena may want to look for something more Sim-lite.

Related stories:
Latest Headlines

Today on CNN

Related IDG.net stories:

Note: Pages will open in a new browser window Related sites:

External sites are not
endorsed by CNN Interactive.

SEARCH CNN.com
Enter keyword(s)   go    help

  
 

Back to the top
© 2000 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.