SimCity 2000 Review

This classic city-simulation game will reach its 20th anniversary next year, as it was released back in 1993. In the good ol' days, Maxis's cash llama was this series of games before they started making The Sims series and its gazillion expansion and extra content packs... it was also a lot more respectable, as a heterosexual male, to say you were playing the latest SimCity than Virtual Doll House, I mean, the Sims. The game was more technical too and it was awesome seeing your small hamlet turning into a thriving metropolis.

Again, the replaying of classic games like SimCity 2000 are only really possible when I go on trips with my netbook (otherwise I'd most likely be playing more recent games). As it was before, I won't review this game as if it was me reviewing it in 1993 but as someone wanting to experience this retro game nowadays, either as a newcomer or an old fan wanting to buy into the nostalgia.

Plot (5/5)
As with a lot of the Sim games, the best part about them is that you use your creativity to make the story. The basic premise of every SimCity though is that you're the mayor of a city and you are responsible for its future development. You're also part of a nation known as SimNation which your neighbouring cities are part of.

I've always thought SimCity 2000 trumps the other cities in this category though. Unlike other SimCitys, you've actually got a city newspaper which not only contains humourous random articles, but also articles about yourself, the mayor. Don't be surprised to find articles on events you've attended and issues you've responded to. There's even a mayor approval rating column! As your city grows, you get more newspapers targeted at different demographics (just like a real city).

Gameplay (5/5)
As with other SimCitys, your responsibilities as a mayor sound simple enough: create a city by providing the appropriate infrastructure, residential, commercial and industrial zones. You gain money by taxing your populace and then use that money to zone new areas of development. The areas won't develop however without connecting roads, rail, water and electricity. To help increase the value of your city you have to ensure there are public services such as police, fire protection, health facilities (hospitals) and educational facilities (schools, colleges, libraries and museums). Parks, leisure facilities and nature also help to increase the value of an area. Things like crime, pollution, traffic, brownouts and high taxes however will scare off potential residents. Oh and there's also the occasional disaster to worry about too...

So there's a lot of stuff you can do in this game and, as mentioned before, there's an enormous amount of satisfaction in seeing your city grow from a humble village into a huge metropolis. All the other SimCitys are very similar in how they work however I believe SimCity 2000 is equal best with SimCity 3000, as the original is too basic and primitive, while SimCity 4 has too many performance issues and bugs, when trying to run it on a modern PC.

There are games like Cities XL out there nowadays which are basically spiritual successors to SimCity, but if you've ever played one of them, they are so inaccessible to new players that it might make Will Wright reconsider his statement about SimCity being too complex!

Sound (3/5)
Audio is of a low quality, but that's to be expected of 1993 sound effects. My favourite sound effect would be the crowd booing noise that seems to play every time your Finances Adviser recommends upping the tax rate!

Music (3/5)
The music in SimCity 2000 is basic but that's to be expected considering they are probably using MIDI tracks. It's also weird how they have a random mix of genres.

Graphics (3/5)
As you can see in the screenshots, graphics are at a low resolution and game developers were only just starting to dabble with SVGA in the early 90s. While the graphics may seem primitive by today's standard, they're still passable and cities still look impressive, especially when you get large skyscrapers as part of your skyline.

Replay (5/5)
The SimCity series is renowned for having high replay value. I mean you can play the game as many times as you like and have vastly different cities each time. The only problem with sandbox games like SimCity is that there is no end to the game, no goal. You stop whenever you wish to stop playing (although building a city to the edges of the map and attempting to get the highest population possible is probably the defacto goal).

SimCity 4 is probably slightly better in the replay department as it has an interesting hook where you can connect your cities up - i.e. you can build all the cities in SimNation if you wanted to.

Polish (5/5)
I didn't encounter any serious issues while playing this game, although I do know that in the old days, SC2K was very performance hungry - thankfully this is no longer the case.

Also, as SimCity 2000 is an old game, zooming using the mouse wheel doesn't work, which is a minor annoyance.

Score - 8/10

While the audio and graphics are rather dated, SimCity 2000 is addictive as it was almost 20 years ago.

If you want to get the game, you can get it off Good Old Games, DRM free.

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