Sim City 4

Author
Aron Schatz
Posted
January 19, 2003
Views
71081
This is the 4th game in the Sim City series. Sim City 4 is no kids game, but it will leave you with endless hours of gameplay.
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Page 1
<B>Introduction</B>:

<center>SC4 Entire City</center>

Since the first Sim City, I have always loved to take control of a city and make it flourish (or fail). Sim City (classic) was an amazing game, way ahead of its time. Maxis (owned by EA) now hopes to take the once humble city simulator into the big time of today's gamers.

<B>Background</B>:

The history of Sim City started in the late 80's. After we got our first 486, we had to search for something that would keep me occupied! The game actually came with the system we bought. When I started playing it, it was pretty simple. Build a city. Even though I was young, I'd sit there for hours playing this game. Back then, nearly all games were trying out the Doom type of play (which was around that time). No one thought this game would be a hot seller, but it was. The first game gave you a top view of a city, and fine micro management not present. This was perfect for a kids game.

Sim City took a major revolution in 1993 when Sim City 2000 came out. This was the best game of its time. You had to be good at understanding how complex things could get in a city. Yet, there was a sense that you could just nearly macro manage it. I remember that your budgets weren't that important, but that your city would develop faster and you could bring in more cash. The graphics of SC2K were greatly improved (256 colors) and the game switched to an isometric view. The game also offered more zoning options that before. You could specify high or low density zones, and the sizes. With all these new game play options, it was a huge success.

Sim City 3000 was a major let down to me. It introduced so many new features that were very hard to control all at the same time. Perhaps in 1997 I wasn't old enough to do it. SC3K did offer better graphics and new full 3D rendering of the city you once new and loved. This game was a cosmetic improvement over SC2K, but tons more micro management features that made it unplayable to me at that age.

Here we are to Sim City 4. Keep reading, this gets interesting.
Page 2
<B>Regions</B>:

The big thing in Sim City 4 is regions. A region has multiple cities in it, take NYC for instance. Consider it a region and the 5 boroughs would be the cities (though very large). Your city is no longer in a vacuum, you are able to tie cities together when you connect then to the region (or Simnation as it is called). Your cities don't have to be self-sufficient anymore. One city can be entirely built on residential, while the adjacent one could be dirty industrial manufacturing. The regions do work well, though, each city is basically on its own with regards to money and population and utilities. Regions are very important, if you don't think of the big picture, you won't succeed.

<center>SC4 Region</center>

<B>Macro</B>:

Macro management is one key part of building a successful city. You'll need to know where to place zones, whether to make those zone high, med or low density, and much, much more. Gone are the days that you could just spend to your hearts content, you're going to need to do some planning to make your city grow. Think about other things like education, fire protection, police protection, hospital coverage, pollution, trash, electricity, water, and more.


<B>Micro</B>:

You may think you have it easy, just place a few power plants, some water pumps and other various things and your city will flourish. Wrong! Each type of utility now has a monthly cost attached to it, and it is a big cost as well. A single water pump can sustain a small city, as can a single coal power plant. You may think to just place them near each other, well don't. The coal power plant produces alot of pollution, if it contaminates your water source, the people will shut it down, then you have some real problems. Let me go into more detail about the game.

<B>Zoning</B>:

The basic concept of Sim City is to control a city, as mayor, you'll get to place zones. Residential, commercial, and industrial zones are what you'll need to have a good city. Just remember that each zone can have three different densities. Good placement of zones to each other will make more sims want to move into your city. You'll want to place commercial service zones in between residential and industrial zones, this way sims pass them on the way to work. Interesting isn't it?

<center>SC4 RCI SC4 Smog</center>

Your type of zoning depends on the type of city you want. If you want a dirty pollution infested city, raise high wealth taxes and build medium density industrial zones, if you want high tech, raise the low wealth tax and make high density industry. Jobs are what attract sims (actually, it can work both ways). You can tell the type of zones your people want by the RCI indicator. Follow this to make your city grow. Watch out for those dirty polluting industries though.

<center>SC4 Auto Road</center>

The new thing in SC4 is the autoroad feature for zones. People won't build on zones unless it is accessible to a roadway, this ensures that each block will have access to a road. I like this feature.

<B>Transit</B>:

The city needs a traffic system for it to function, without it your city will fail. Think about it, with no roads, how are people going to find jobs or get to work? Even though you may think that you can throw roads all over the place and it'll be all good, you'll be wrong. Yes, traffic is a great deal of macro management, but don't forget that once your city begins to have more people move it, traffic will build up. Plan ahead and get some bus stations, or even rail/subway lines. One thing about subways and highways, they are REALLY expensive, so you may want to wait until you have some cash before spending it on that. You'll make money off of the bus stations and other mass transit methods. The higher ride capacity, the more money you make, and the more sims will be off the road. Cars also make air pollution, that's also something to think about.

You have choices for even normal roads! There are two types, street roads, and community roads. Think of street roads like high density roads, while community roads gets you where you want to go inside the community. There are many options, this game isn't easy.

<B>Utilities</B>:

<center>SC4 Power</center>

You need power for your city to run. There are two ways to get power to the people (pun, yes). Create your own plants, or import power from the other cities in the region. I choose to build my own plants. There are ups and downs for both. If you import power, it'll be more expensive, yet if you produce your own power, you'll need to worry about pollution and plant funding. If you have a high population of high tech, you'll get access to clean sources of power.

<center>SC4 Water</center>

Don't forget to keep or sims wet. If they don't have water, they'll leave. You also need to pay attention to funding, pipes break pretty easily, ruining the water pressure. People won't drink water that is polluted either. Like I said before, this isn't an easy game.

<B>Emergency Workers</B>:

<center>SC4 Emergency</center>

Every city has its fair share of problems, and sim city is no different. Remember to have police, fire, and hospital facilities in choice areas of your cities. The placement of these emergency facilities will determine who lives and works in your city. No one wants to live in a city full of crime, likewise, no one wants to go to work where fires won't be taken care of. Make sure they are well funded as well, they won't perform their duties right.
Page 3
<B>The Quality of Life for your Sims</B>:

<center>SC4 Life SC4 Smarts</center>

Your sims want to live in a city that allows them to lead a good long life. The smarter they are, they are the better. Education determines the quality of industry that moves into your city. If you have a high level of education, high tech jobs will want to be in your city.

<center>SC4 Sims SC4 Sims</center>

A new feature in SC4 allows you to place Sims in your city. When you move them in, they give you a run down on how they are and what they want in their section of the city. They'll keep you informed of things needed in their area that you might not notice. This is a great feature that I often forget to you (or pay attention to).

<B>Budget</B>:

<center>SC4 Budget</center>

This is the end all be all of the game. You want to your books to be in the black (meaning positive cash flow), or your in trouble. If you are netting losses for long, you'll begin to dig yourself into a deep hole that may be hard to get out of. Don't worry, you'll probably need a loan sometimes, and they go up to two million. Now that is an amount that'll screw you if you don't pay it off. (Ten year fixed rate loan)

<B>Advisors</B>:

<center>SC4 Advisors</center>

You won't be alone in your city. You'll have your very own set of advisors helping you out, telling you when you need something and where it should go. The advisors work well in this game. Pay attention to them, they can make the difference in your city. Just remember, you get the final decision.

<B>Creation</B>:

<center>SC4 Create SC4 Animals</center>

Create the landscape the way you want it. The terrain tools in this game are remarkable. Realistic shadows, the works. There is even nighttime (but I don't play with it on, it is hard to see).

<B>Destruction</B>:

<center>SC4 Destroy</center>

You've created a beautiful city, and you want to have some fun with it. Simple, just take out your disaster tools and let it reek havoc on it. Meteors, volcanos, tornados, monsters, and more. It is all at your fingertips.
Page 4
<B>Detail</B>:

<center>SC4 Detail</center>

I have never played a game with so much attention to detail. If you zoom in on your city, you'll see it live. Cars and trucks will go to and from work, people will walk the streets and children will play in their backyard. The entire city is a living thing in itself.

<B>Speed</B>:

You'll need a pretty powerful computer to handle the graphics of Sim City 4. I recommend at least a Ghz CPU or faster with a recent graphics card. Most of you reading this have this level of computer, you'll be fine playing Sim City 4.

<B>Conclusion</B>:

Well, looks like I need to wrap this review up. It is hard to place the game into a paragraph, but I'll try. This is not a game for kids, so if you are a parent, don't even think about it. I'd say 16 and up is the age that should be able to play this. Adults will love it though. You get to control a city with every level of detail that a mayor would normally need to control. This is one of the best games I have ever played and I will be playing it up until Sim City 5 comes along I'm sure. There is tons of replay value, you'll never have the same city twice, everything will always be different. If you need a game to keep you busy for hours, this is the one to get. This is a must have game.

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