Genre: Simulation, Strategy / tactics
Perspective: Bird's-eye view
Visual: Free-roaming camera, Isometric
Gameplay: City building / construction simulation, Managerial / business simulation
Interface: Point and select
Published by: Maxis Software Inc.
Developed by: Maxis Software Inc.
Platforms: DOS, PlayStation (PSX, PS1)
“It is also clear that if in the game you have to drive, fly, or walk around the city, completing tasks, but who wants to just build a city? It's boring! " - so said the sales specialists. But gamers, as always, had no idea what games they should want to play, and the popularity of SimCity, the first city-building simulator, surpassed the most optimistic forecasts. No matter how stupid the specialists who sat in the galosh felt themselves, it would have been even stupider on their part to ignore the prospects of peaceful urban development. So, four years after the official release of SimCity, SimCity 2000 appeared - a logical development of a successful idea and another milestone in the history of the genre.
So, the player will again have to take the easy chair of the mayor and rebuild a huge metropolis literally from scratch. All the basic principles have remained the same: we also mark the territory for residential, commercial and industrial development, lay roads, power lines, build city service buildings, ports, airports, railways, fight traffic jams, pollution, crime, and sometimes resist disasters. The type of income is still the same - taxes. Even a convenient vertical control panel - and that migrated to the new version with minor changes.
Is there something new? There is, and a lot! The first thing that catches your eye is the isometric projection that has replaced the uncomplicated top view. The detailing of the environment has changed for the better, thanks to which there is no need to draw letters on the police and fire department buildings: now everything is clear. Further, a SimCity fan is surprised to find hills and mountains on the map that must either be leveled (at the expense of the budget), or tunneled through (also not free), or, disregarding the difficulties, build a new San Marino on the spurs. Well, if you can't stand all these irregularities, you can launch the map editor and create a landscape that suits you. The editor itself can be a lot of fun too. Some people enjoy breaking rivers, building mountains and planting forests as much as building a city!
A new aspect of infrastructure has been added to the game: in addition to electrification and road construction, we now have to deal with water supply. A large city cannot be otherwise; without water, only the houses of the lowest level agree to exist somehow. So get ready to build a network of pumping and water treatment plants, as well as go down to the underground level and lay pipes on your own to the districts of the city. The old infrastructures have not remained unchanged either: in addition to roads, we can now build highways and bus depots to help solve the problem of traffic jams. And railway transport now needs not only rails, but also stations, which is logical. In addition, an expensive but efficient metro has appeared.
The types of power plants have become much more, and the differences between them have become more significant. The choice has to be considered carefully: a coal-fired power plant is inexpensive to operate, but it smokes terribly; oil - more efficient, but more expensive and the air also does not ozonize; windmills are weak, depend on the weather, but are environmentally friendly and cheap; a hydroelectric power plant is stable and efficient, but try to find a waterfall for it ... And that's just the seeds, by 2050 the choice of stations will double!
One more important point should be noted: for the first time in the SimCity series, it became possible to mark out building zones arbitrarily. If earlier we were limited to three by three squares, now you can at least stretch out a strip of 2X15 shops along the ring road, even spank a lonely house on the island - there would be money, energy and a road nearby. Also, buildings are now divided into dense (more expensive) and light (cheaper). Do you want to make a private sector without skyscrapers? You are welcome!
As for the services - the residents now have few firefighters and the police, give them health care (hospitals) and education (schools, colleges, museums, libraries). If everything is clear with the first one, then education is needed in order for a profitable, high-tech industry to appear in the city. The section "recreation areas" has also grown: before we put only green squares with fountains, but now you can set up a large park, build a zoo and even a boat station on the shore (from which small boats will immediately sail).
Another important detail is that achievement buildings have appeared. Has your city reached a population of ten thousand? Receive a free mayor's house as a gift, which not only pleases the eye, but also increases the attractiveness of the land around you. For fifty thousand residents, they will give the city hall, and there it is already not far from the military base. The budget window has become much more detailed: now it immediately becomes clear what exactly ate up the entire last year's budget and what you can save on so that you don't go bankrupt next year. There is also a list of special urban projects - for example, mandatory first aid courses, installation of fire alarms, vigilance program, street decoration. They help increase the attractiveness of a city, raise life expectancy, reduce crime, and so on. You can do without them, but if there is money in the budget - why not?
Well, the most pleasant detail for many - the "Disasters" menu - remained in its place. The list of disasters has changed little. The same earthquakes, fires, tornadoes, floods ... Of the new, only riot, and even the old man Godzilla was replaced by a flying mechanical eye with tentacles. Nevertheless, thanks to the high detail, demolishing your city, perhaps, has become even more interesting. The principle of disaster management has radically changed: if earlier we only eliminated the consequences and looked helplessly at the flaring fire, now you can send firefighters and the police to the scene (if you have the appropriate buildings, of course). The mechanism is as follows. Let's say there was a fire. The time stops and the "go to event" button lights up. Next to the fire, on a section of the road or a small house, you can put up a column with a hydrant icon (this is a fire brigade) and the same one with a police badge. Firefighters, of course, will extinguish. The police will not extinguish, but at least they will not let the fire spread to the neighboring house by removing cars and combustible materials. With demonstrations and floods, the opposite is true: the police are much more effective than firefighters at keeping the crowd and organizing the construction of dams.
Not forgotten, and scripts - another legacy of the first SimCity. The player is offered a choice of many already built cities with a ready-made problem: forest fires, a hurricane, a nuclear power plant explosion, a monster attack - everything is in place. The tasks are quite difficult, so you won't be bored.
I also have a couple of nagging: for example, the game does not warn the player about the consequences of changing the landscape. So, tearing down a small mound in the center of the city, you can easily break a nearby power plant and bring down a couple of tunnels. Maybe this is a "feature", but I personally did not like playing the young sapper. Construction on the underground level is not yet very convenient. Instead of a normal metro, I got zigzags named after Ivan Susanin for a very long time, which was terribly annoying in itself, and given the cost of the tunnels, it was generally enraged!
Summary: the game, undoubtedly, has a lot of advantages, it is pleasant to look at and to the ear, perfected in terms of playability, consistency and ergonomics. The controls are convenient, the maps and graphs are clear, over time you forget about the interface altogether. SimCity 2000 seems to be an unpretentious game: think, dig in the sandbox ... But go and explain to yourself why you were digging in this sandbox until three o'clock in the morning!
Last but not least, many people find this game boring compared to the subsequent installments. Here I will venture to express my personal opinion: in my opinion, the game SimCity 2000 has become a kind of boundary separating the relaxing dice game from the hard mayor simulator. I don't think the subsequent Sims got any worse - no, they just got different. In them, the city of your dreams and the economically viable city may sometimes not meet at all, and the "Catastrophe" menu becomes not a curious detail, but the only way to get even with the capricious residents for their spoiled nerves. Thus, if you are interested in challenging a complex economic system and still building the city of your dreams in an unequal battle with it, then SimCity 2000 will really seem boring to you. But if you are not alien to unhurried, contemplative construction, if you are quite satisfied with a small number of specific problems, then pay attention to this game. It is possible that it will delight you more than all subsequent parts.