Thursday, 19 June 2014

Sim City (SNES)


Because real ones are a pain in the arse.

It's possibly an odd choice of game, though games akin to have taken off with huge support and a large following. The idea that you get to control an environment of your choosing, shape it, mold it and breathe life into it before slapping a shopping centre in the middle and screwing up the landscape with an industrial site, is just one of the many things you can do in Sim City on the Super Nintendo.

In a short while you can go from serenity to chaos.

The idea is the same as one would find on the PC and other versions. You're given a blank slate of land, a budget depending upon the difficulty and told to go and start a town. First you'll need power, but which type to you? Pollution heavy coal that doesn't power as many buildings, or more powerful nuclear power that runs the risk of meltdown and making your town uninhabitable for many, many years? Do you build up the industrial centres with houses too to make them cheap and affordable, but also encourage crime? Or do you build them way away from everything and have only the super rich afford it? Which means very few will come in.

"Paved paradise, put up a parking lot..."

There's many choices like this in Sim City and that's before we even scratch the surface to see the maps and reports one can find. Crime, tax, people's voice, fire control, roads and transportation; you can control all the taxes and where they're spent but not enough money will either leave roads and rail crumbling or the police and fire unable to do their jobs. You could raise taxes, but few will stay around for that, or lower them for more people but gaining less from them. It's a tightrope of economic balance and you'll have to do it.

Might as well, it's going to be full of shit anyway.

You're not alone, there's the Doc that assists by telling you the blatantly obvious and also updating you on things like when your town becomes a city, when you get prizes and bonuses, how to combat demand and most importantly, when something is ruining your city like a disaster, such as floods, fires, plane crashes or Bowser in a chariot... Yeah, we kind of departed from reality a little there.

Thanks Doc... Now sod off until I need a prostate exam.

There's no real end to the game, you can build and develop, save, come back, build and develop and go from Town to City to Capital to Metropolis and beyond in ranking. You'll invest in stadiums to keep people happy, airports and seaports for commerce and industry to develop and run further risks of plane and boat crashes. There's always a consequence for each action in this game and part of the fun is finding out what the impact will be to the small and minute changes that you make.

Crime map, aka, how badly your Police are doing.

The problem comes from not knowing straight away what will cause what and the impact is not always immediate within the game. You'll put down extra residences but people might not move in. Either because they're too expensive, or not far enough away from industrial areas, or not close enough to commercial ones. Unless you're careful too, you can waste the proximity bonuses of using Stadiums and such, while it's not abundantly clear how to remove a monster unless you've got a big population AND cash. Lots of little trick and traps to fall foul of.

The public are idiots, should be 100% NO at this point.

But if you want challenge, there's 1000 maps to generate and use as a land-start for your Town and City, each having you use the landscape slightly differently while also there's the challenge modes. Where you get given a city, and it's attacked in some fashion or another. Leading you to save the city while you can, some are a lot easier than others such as the floods (I just carried on anyway) the fires (bulldozed burning buildings and slapped in Fire Departments) while some are a lot harder like the nuclear meltdown one. Thankfully you are told what's in demand regarding Residential, Commercial and Industry, but not specifically what needs to go where to make the most of the opportunities.

Ooh! Pick the Boston Nuclear Meltdown!!!

It also has that quaint Nintendo charm of being lively, upbeat, chirpy and bouncy with the graphics and the music (which you can turn off, the music, not the graphics, that'd be fucking stupid). Everything extra from the PC version has Nintendo's touch upon it, which isn't necessarily a bad thing but there could have been better ways to present some of the information and as such this one isn't really intended for the younger audiences out there. But if you've the time and patience, you could learn to enjoy and even love this game.