Reviewed July 2002
For the young and the furious, SimCity
2000 could be an ambitious game: imagine someone asking you “what
did you do today?” and you answer, “I built a
city!” But for the rest of us, SimCity 2000 satisfies
our sense of nostalgia. Ported from the PC to Pocket PC by
ZIO Interactive, SimCity 2000 brings back memories of the
long running classic hit with exact game play and very familiar
graphics and terrain layouts.
To the newbies, SimCity is a goal-based
simulation game that allows you to build the city of your
dreams. You are given a terrain, often mixed with hills,
valleys, river or seaports and money to build industrial,
residential and commercial areas. Almost everything in SimCity
is built in these three zones. Once you’ve selected
a piece of terrain and decided on the best things to build
on it, you can start building the city and attracting inhabitants.
Pretty soon, you will see traffic going on the streets; warehouses
and factories growing, and as more people being employed;
shopping malls and banks appearing in the commercial zone…your
city is alive!
Your veterans should be happy to see the
financial and planning stats feature has been ported faithfully
to the Pocket PC version. At the top of the game screen,
you’ll find a string of icons that take you to the
population screen with health and education info, the city
info, the SimNation info, yearly graph on city size, residents,
commerce, traffic, city industry graph, budget and much more.
Although there is no limit to how far you
can go in building a city, there are some restrictions and
therefore some basic strategies you should follow. Otherwise
it’s not easy to attract inhabitants and keep the city
growing. For instance, when you build power plants, make
sure they are far away from the residential areas. When you
build downtown or industrial area, make sure you build roads
and highways to connect them with the condos and homes. Make
sure you read the daily news so that you know what the Sims
in your city want and tweak your strategies in building the
city base on their feedback. It’s a bit tough getting
things started, but if you follow the right strategy, the
city will grow on its own in no time.
SimCity 2000 offers various levels and
great flexibility in game play, which I think is one of the
best features in this game. Anyone can play SimCity, but
not everyone wants to take risks. This game gives you a wide
spectrum of choices to build the city at your own speed,
your own taste and how much risk you are willing to take.
If you are new to the game, you can be conservative with
your money and take small steps in your building plan. If
you are a master of SimCity and like a challenge, you can
add natural disasters, riots and other tough situations to
your city management. You can start with $20K cash or $10K
Bond. You can build a city in 1900, 1950, 2000 or 2050. You
can literally build a city in a day, or you can take many
weeks to plan and build the structures. If you are a fan
of finance, you can experiment with budget, taxes, growth
The graphics are sharp on the Pocket PC,
and kept the style of the PC version. Not only will you see
different shapes and colors of structures and various terrain,
but you’ll also see some very cool animations after
the city is alive and growing: the smoke from the factory
chimney, the cars on the street, the flashing lights in the
commercial district, etc.. The screen of the Pocket PC is
obviously smaller than a PC screen, so you won’t see
your city in as large a scale with huge details. When you
build a large structure (like a power plant or a ballpark)
it’s hard sometimes to gage the size of the structure
compare to the zone area. But none of these small annoyances
will get in the way of game play.
Sound effects are plentiful and the music
tracks are cute. You will enjoy most of the sound effects
that you are used to on the PC in this Pocket PC version.
The music is cheery to start the game and you can turn it
off if it distracts your concentration. The game takes up
4MB of memory and supports ARM, MIPS and SH3.
Playing Hints and
Rely on your common sense when you face hard decisions, after all this is your
city to build. Don’t spend all your money at once in the beginning cause
it might take a while for people to move in and start to pay taxes. Don’t
take out too much in bonds since you have to pay back. Don’t make the tax
increase rate too high in short period of time. People will get unhappy. Take
up the newspaper subscription so that you can keep track of people’s feedback.