SIM CITY / Nintendo / SNES

This port of Sim City to the SNES is a mixed bag -- it adds a pleasant and relaxing soundtrack by Soyo Oka, a somewhat easier to navigate GUI, more colorful graphics than the original PC release, a perpetually harried and excitable advisor named Dr. Wright who is forever letting himself in to your house to (ostensibly) give relevant gameplay tips on how to develop your city, a generally cuter presentation more in line with expected Japanese console gaming conventions. It also has some unique flaws - there's some tremendous loading time pauses when you select a map, for example, and when you navigate certain in-game menus.

For those unfamiliar, a quick rundown -- Sim City's goal is for you to construct a city and keep it running smoothly, with the desired result being expansion to cover every square inch of map space possible and population of as many people as you can cram. This basically revolves around setting down Residential, Industrial and Commercial zones in proportion and connecting everything with either roads or light rail. You also have to deal with crime by strategically placing police stations, and the people will periodically scream for things like football stadiums and fire departments which you must provide. You must also deal with pollution from your industrial plants (but only in really in the sense of keeping your citizens away from it, you've no considerations on a greater global scale).

If and when you get tired of the grind of city-building, you can turn on various Disasters (one of which is Bowser stomping through the city in this version) which wreak havoc and destroy things at random. I'm not going to get into a whole critique of the game from an environmental or sustainability perspective, nor speculate on why the designers wouldn't have thought to incorporate those things -- this isn't the place for it and the game is what it is, which is a fairly accurate if extremely simplified simulation of how a modern industrial-civ city is laid out and developed. However, the game does force you to develop in only one direction -- ever expanding, or you lose -- and therefore you're not too free to try out little experiments on your own or make decisions based on anything but growth and profit. As such, for some people, it can get pretty tedious pretty quickly.

I mentioned the lag before and it's a pretty big problem - there are some 900 maps you can choose from to start your city out on, but you have to scroll through them one by one, and when it takes a full 10 seconds or so to load the preview of each map you're not likely to go far beyond the first couple. It's a shame because it seems like something that could have been easily fixed in the port to the Wii, and with that issue resolved this would have probably been the best available version of this game, or at least the most accessible.

Videos :

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