Review: SimCity 4: Deluxe Edition welcomes you to town

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Welcome to (insert town name here), home of (whatever you would like). Mayor (insert name here) hopes you enjoy your stay.

SimCity 4: Deluxe Edition puts you in control over your own region with landscapes tailored to your preferences and cities built according to your every whim. If your town displeases you, there is even an option to destroy all or part of it with a volcano or, better yet, a killer robot from outer space. Good times!

Sim City 4 Rush Hour

I must confess, until this review, I was not a SimCity player. Now I think I could find my way into spending a lot of free time building cities.

For those of you who are SimCity newbies like me, SimCity4: Deluxe Edition allows you to:

  • Create an Entire Region of Cities – Weave together a tapestry of cities linked by a fully integrated transportation network and watch them share and compete for resources.
  • Wield God-like Powers – Sculpt the landscape to create a world based on your imagination, then summon volcanoes, tornadoes, meteors, and lightning.
  • Be a Responsive Mayor – Build a world-class city with stadiums, airports, universities, and real-world landmarks. Deploy emergency vehicles and join in the action as they battle blazes, mobs, and more.
  • Get Insight from Your Sims – Read the rhythm of the city, from commuter hell to mellow cruising, noon-time crowds to night-time calm.

The included SimCity 4: Rush Hour expansion pack adds:

  • U-Drive-It – Take complete control over cars, helicopters, and ambulances on your city’s streets. Turn up the police siren and catch carjackers, or control the helicopter spotlight to track down bank robbers. Take charge, solve missions, and earn new reward buildings and vehicles.
  • Exciting New Transportation Options – Put things in motion by creating San Francisco’s one-way streets, New York’s wide avenues, Tokyo’s high-speed monorails, and more.
  • New Disasters – Test your nerves with the new UFO invasion, snarl traffic with car accidents, or wreak havoc with train derailments. Sit back and watch chaos rule, or take action to avert future disasters.
  • New Building Set Options – Lay out your metropolis based on an all-new Modern European building set, or use the original SimCity 4 sets: 1890’s Chicago, 1940’s New York, and 1990’s Houston.
  • New Tutorials and Difficulty Levels – Getting started has never been easier, faster, or more fun thanks to four new tutorials. Plus, you can now set the game’s difficulty level.

The tutorials do a good job of stepping you through certain aspects of city building, and when you are done with the instructional section you have the option of playing the tutorial city. You can, of course, create your own region and cities. Start from scratch or play a stored region (like New York or London). If you create your own region, you start with a really blank field, either water or level field.

SimCity 4 Deluxe Edition

With your landscaping tools you can create just about any terrain you want. If you start with a preset region like New York, you get what looks like the greater Manhattan area, but with no cities yet.

Once the world looks like what you want, fire up the mayor tool bar and start zoning for housing, retail business, and heavy industry. As your city grows, so will your income. This is important because you have a budget to maintain. Wait, what? Actual budgeting and city planning? I thought this was supposed to be fun. Never fear, you have a council of advisors to help you prioritize and plan. Each advisor will help with a different aspect of city planning, so if there are any trouble spots, they will let you know about it. This may be a good time to mention there is a little “pause” button at the bottom of the screen. When fixing problems (such as increasing the number of schools to educate all your sims) you might want to pause the game. If there is one thing awry, there may be more, and the advisor notifications can pile up, preventing you from taking the action to fix the problem about which they are pestering you (just like real life).

Sim City 4 Deluxe Edition

Now that your city is up and running, it’s time to improve things. Here’s where the game gets addictive. There are many options for just about any aspect of building a better city. As the name of the game implies, the Rush Hour expansion has plenty to offer in the area of transportation. If you don’t like the standard paved road, how about an elevated rail/subway system, or maybe even a monorail? You can even build highways, bridges, airports, bus terminals, sea ports and even a spaceport.

Continuing on the transportation theme, you even get to drive some vehicles if you wish. You can be the police for a crime fighting mission, earning a few bucks and some brownie points for your mayoral rating. If your town happens to host a military base, you can even drive a tank. I passed the tank driving mission, but I did kinda set fire to part of the city when some of the rounds from the main gun went a little bit off target…and hit a couple of houses… and the cemetery (oops).

Sim City 4 Rush Hour

Build out and build up, rearrange the streets, create new business parks, improve the education system, build universities, hospitals, libraries, parks—just about anything which improves the quality of life for the dwellers of your city. Keep the income flowing and your services up to par to keep your sims happy, and watch your metropolis grow. Along with all the helpful charts and graphs (candy for the analyst/planner types—you know who you are) you can even create a few personalities with which you can interact. You can set them down anywhere in town and use them to gather opinions on how nice it is to live in your city, drive around for a while, or just watch as they go about their daily routines.

So, this review may not touch on all aspects of the game but I doubt you want to keep reading for another ten minutes. There is a lot you can do, and there are no real issues I encountered while playing. The SimCity platform is tried and true. The level of detail is impressive and the features you can control are extensive.

[We Interrupt This Review for an Important Editor’s Announcement: David reviewed this on a 13″ MacBook Pro. That’s all well and good, but SimCity 4: Deluxe Edition offers native resolution support for Macs up to the 27″ iMac. Believe me, you haven’t experienced SimCity until you’ve seen it at that size. Cities become massive, living entities, constantly moving and lighting up; very cool looking. And it helps tremendously with game play, too, as there’s less scrolling around to get to the section of town you need. If you’ve got the screen size and the RAM to support it, you’ll definitely want to check it out. Oh, and the Mac version even connects with iTunes, so you can listen to your own music while checking in on your town’s nightlife. It’s a Jean Michel Jarre video just waiting to happen. Now, back to your regularly scheduled David.]

This is the kind of game which can really suck you in and keep you playing for a very long time. Suffice it to say, if you are even a little interested in sims, you want this classic.

Appletell Rating:
SimCity 4: Deluxe Edition review

Buy SimCity 4: Deluxe Edition

Genre: City builder/simulation
Format: Digital Download
Developer: Maxis
Mac Publisher: Aspyr
System Requirements: OS X v10.8.5, 2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 4GB RAM, 256MB VRAM, 2Gb hard disk space, mouse and keyboard
Network Feature: No
Price: $19.99
ESRB Rating: E for Everyone
Availability: Out now

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