I had teased earlier that Simcity 3000 was going to be my next review. After putting a lot more time into it, I believe it is time to complete a review.
Firstly, there are a couple of ways to play. The first is to start with a blank slate, get an area of land, adjust the physical features and then begin. But to be honest, its not as simple as you might think. These physical features can provide some challenges. For example, if there are large bodies of water, then you will need to connect everything with expensive bridges. But if you are a terra centric builder, then you wont be able to purchase water pumping stations which provide large amounts of water to your city. Its also important to consider elevation when creating your starting world as leveling it can be expensive or it will cost more to build buildings. You need to weigh all of these options when choosing a world. But the land layout is just the tip of the iceberg where choices are involved.
Another way to play is to use a starter city. These vary in terrain, zoning and certain buildings. Some are basic while others throw you to the wolves. These provide some unique challenges as you never know what will await you when you select one of these. This is the mode that people looking for a challenge should go to. After you select your level, you name your city, mayor and select your difficulty. The difficulties don’t really change any of the in game content but it determines how much money you start with. Easy gives you a whopping 50,000 dollars to start with (a large amount of money in this particular game) Medium gives you 20,000 dollars to use and hard destroys you by sticking you with a 10,000 dollar loan, meaning you have to pay it back eventually. To be honest, I’m perfectly content at easy right now as I am far from skilled at this game.
The final, and maybe most interesting game mode is real city terrain. This takes big cities from around the world such as Berlin, Tokyo and even Washington DC. These are interesting because you can create a better version of the city, or a worse one. Its a neat feature. You don’t get any of the buildings that are in these cities but its perfectly fine.
Now you have chosen your terrain or starter city, but you want to see some buildings. To do this, its time to add in some zoning for builders to build on. But its not that simple, there are multiple different zines that you can put down. You have Residential, Commercial and Industrial. Within each of these, you have 3 tiers. These are light, medium and dense. The light is for small density areas so for local businesses and low end housing. Medium basically represents the middle and upper class. And dense includes, malls and apartment complexes. But you cant just throw zones in randomly. There is a demand indicator also known as the RCI, this stands for Residential, Commercial and Industrial. You need to taylor your zoning to the demands that are given. There are other zones that you can place as well. These include, Airports, Seaports and Landfills!!!
But that’s not all, you need to consider the people themselves. Its a bad idea to place industrial areas right next to residential areas as the pollution will make them leave, and when people leave, you dont earn any tax money. On the subject of people, you will have to deal with them a lot. Its very common for proposals to be presented to you, some of these provide some great opportunities for your cities and others are downright annoying. To aid you in you city building, you get a panel of advisers. They will gladly tell you what they think needs to be done to make your city a success. To be honest though, this panel can be so annoying. They bother you about nearly everything but its ok as they are there to help you.
After all of your zoning is complete, it is time to attend to basic infrastructure. You will need to build roads, create water systems and electrical systems. Other necessary buildings are fire departments, police stations and schools. If you choose to start in the year 1900, these options will be limited but will increase steadily as you progress through the ages. This makes things fun as you will always be unlocking new technology. But of course, technology comes at a cost, the more high tech your systems, the more expensive.
Expenditures are handled in a rather unique way in this game. At the end of a game year, the computer takes your earnings and compares it to what you spend and then either adds or subtracts money from your coffers. Its simple but can break your city quickly if you aren’t careful. Of course, you can always increase taxes or reduce spending. But these options can prove to be dangerous. If your infrastructure isn’t very well funded, it will topple in on itself. And if taxes are high, then citizens and/or businesses will leave. This requires a careful balancing act, but you dont have to be too careful as its easy enough to handle.
All of the above, is all you really need to know to be successful, but there are other options that need to be mentioned. The first is the disasters. Every once in a while, you city suffer a natural disaster or an alien invasion. These can cause insane amounts of damage that will take many hours to fix. This is adds to the games difficulty and are almost like a giant slap in the face. Thankfully you can turn these off. To be fair, its a fun addition that adds a lot of replay value. I think the reason that I dont like them is because I have a lack of skill in this game. But I will overcome it and turn the disasters feature back on.
Other features include the ability to create different recreational areas. These range from ballparks, playgrounds and even zoos. These are mainly for aesthetics, but the citizens of the city will appreciate it. On top of all of this, you can make national landmarks. These range from the Statue of Liberty to the Parthenon. These dont really do anything special for your city but that’s not the point. Besides, who hasn’t wanted to have the Eifel Tower in their own city?
Finally, we get to one of my personal favorite things about this game. You can make business deals with your neighbors. These are done by connecting roads, power lines or water pipes to the edge of the map. This provides some fantastic money making opportunities. But not only that, if you are having trouble getting enough water, then you can get some from your water wealthy neighbor. Its an awesome feature.
All in all, this game is a lot of fun. There is a lot to think about but the majority of it is manageable. It provides limitless opportunities and is one of the most entertaining games that I have played in quite a while. I loved it and highly recommend that you check it out.