|Publisher: Maxis Genre: Simulation|
|Min OS X: Not Supported CPU: 601 @ 180 MHz RAM: 64 MB Hard Disk: 260 MB 4x CD-ROM|
As a sequel, SimCity 3000 is more evolution than revolution, more a refinement than the groundbreaking leap from 2D to 3D marked by the release of SimCity 2000. Rather than messing with the totally classic gameplay of this award-winning series, the developer Maxis chose instead to merely polish it, adding eye candy, simplifying the interface, and generally making it more fun to play.
I say ďgenerallyĒ because there are still a lot of little nitpicky things such as the total lack of food resources or farming, the mysterious behavior of water pipes, and the often-maddening randomness of the Simís demands that did not get fixed in this iteration of the series. In fact, if you had a pet peeve about SimCity 2000, Iím willing to bet dollars to donuts that it made it intact into SimCity 3000.
Fortunately, the general gameplay of the SimCity series remains intact as well. You build your city by laying out zones (residential, industrial, and commercial, for example) and supplying those zones with power, water, and transportation. What transpires from that point is entirely up to you: You could make a monster megalopolis covering every square foot of a map, or a light and airy mountain community with eco-friendly industries. You can configure the landscape any way you like, try to simulate the birth of a major city such as Los Angeles or San Francisco, or load up an existing city and throw disasters at itóit is your choice. Along the way the Sims, your little citizens, will make various demands and, in general, react to your policy decisions. As long as you donít bankrupt the city or allow it to burn to the ground, you will probably do OK.
City Lifeís the Life for MeThe visuals of SimCity 3000 have undergone a major revision from the previous incarnation, which could fit on three floppies. Now with two more levels of zoom and two unique faces to each building, the artwork is all in 16-bit color. The addition of three extra types of zones (medium-density housing, industrial, and commercial) has made room for dozens of new building types, and there are over a hundred unique buildings and landmarks. All are crisp and attractive, and many of the landmarks available (with dozens more available for download online) are very accurate.
The disasters have also undergone much visual refinement, adding new effects and results. If you let your industry get too big, disconcerting pollution clouds hang over your city.
There is also lots of new music and ambient sound, a welcome relief to the incredibly annoying (and often downright bizarre) tunes from SimCity 2000. Thatís not to say you wonít find some of the new songs annoyingóIím sure you willóbut now they are at least in CD-quality sound and you can pick and choose which song you want to hear.
Furthermore, if you look close enough, you can now see the Sims themselves, ambling around the city streets. At high levels of zoom, though, the surrounding buildings take on a heavily pixelated look.
The interface itself has also been spiffed up considerably, with a nicer look and more logical layout. In general, tools and services are easier to find, and data on your cityís condition is clear and concise. While the interface isnít particularly Mac-like, it isnít PC-like either, and should not be an obstacle to most users. The entire game can be run with the mouse, if that is your style of computing.
As an added bonus, the Mac version of SimCity 3000 gets colored mouse cursors, a small treat but a nice one indeed. However, there is no Mac version of the BAT (Building Architecture Tool) so Mac users cannot create new buildings from scratch.