SimCity 3000 Unlimited PC Review
Hello everybody, Shaun Meyers here to share my thoughts on SimCity 3000 Unlimited by Maxis and Electronic Arts.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of the game from our friends at GOG for review purposes. Like all of my reviews, however, this had no effect on my thoughts and experiences with the game.
SimCity 3000 Unlimited is a city-building game that released in 2000. It’s also the third game in the long-running SimCity franchise. This one features more laid back gameplay and is super easy to learn how to play. The game features updated graphics over SimCity 2000 but is less complex than it’s sequel SimCity 4.
There are 4 different game modes to choose from, Starter City, Scenarios, Start New City and Real City Terrains.
The starter city acts as a tutorial to the game which will teach you all you need to know about building a city. Scenarios are city building missions with various objectives for you to complete. Some scenarios are harder than others.
Start new city allows you to create a custom city from scratch and is more or less the game’s free play mode. Finally, Real City Terrains allow you to recreate famous cities from around the world.
When you create a new city you’ll be able to customize your game with various options. The difficulty you play on determines your starting money. The difficulties include Easy (50,000) Medium (20,000) and Hard (10,000 loan). You can also choose the start date including 1900, 1950, and 2000. Map sizes include miniature, small, medium and large. You can also choose to turn on/off disasters and auto budgeting.
You can also choose the landscape style, tree style and house style. If you have mods installed you’ll be able to choose custom-built house styles.
Once you’re happy with your parameters you then move on to generating the game world. In this screen you can adjust various sliders to change the world. You can add mountains, water, and vegetation to the world. The higher the slider the more it’ll add while the lower the bar the less it’ll have.
When you’re done generating your map it’ll finally be time to start building your city.
The first thing you’ll want to do is build some roads to make travel easy and to allow your sims to get around. Also, be sure to connect your road to the edge of town which will bridge a connection between you and a neighboring city allowing people to move in. Each city has 4 neighboring cities and it’s a good idea to connect to all of them, if possible.
Next you’ll want to zone some residential, commercial and industrial zones. Residential zones are housing for your people. Commercial zones allow your sims to go shopping and industrial zones are workplaces for your people. It’s a good idea to keep your residential zones far away from your industrial zones because nobody wants to live near pollution.
I usually create 3 separate zones for my cities. The industrial district is usually the farthest away while the residential and commercial zones are a bit closer. It’s a good idea to leave enough room for you to expand your zones outward but this will be tough in smaller maps with limited room.
Once your districts are zoned, you’ll need to provide them with power. At the start of the game, you’ll only have coal or oil plants. Oil is slightly cleaner than coal but it’s also more expensive. You unlock new and cleaner power sources as you play the game.
Providing your people with water is also a requirement and placing pipes can be a bit confusing. I usually place water towers and then branch pipes out from them. Using a pumping station to pump the water further out is also a good idea. As you build more you’ll eventually need to build more water towers to sustain your city’s water needs. New water based buildings will also become available as you continue the game.
Crime and fire are 2 areas that you’ll need to keep an eye on in your city. To combat crime you’ll need to place police stations around your various districts. A jail is also available which will allow you to house criminals. It’s a good idea to place jails farther away from residential areas because nobody wants to live near one a prison.
Placing fire stations in your city will allow you to easily combat fires as they break out. It’s a good idea to place them in every district you create, that way they won’t have to travel very far to combat fires.
Schools, hospitals, parks, and other recreational activities are also key to keeping your people happy. Schools bolster education within your city while hospitals keep your people healthy. Parks increase land value and help combat pollution. Recreational activities like zoos and playgrounds help keep your people entertained when not working.
One of the toughest aspects of SimCity games is your budget. Balancing your expenses and income can be pretty challenging and raising taxes isn’t always the best strategy. This is because your people really don’t like high taxes and would sooner abandon your city than pay them. They’ll also complain incessantly until you lower them. It’s a good idea to play the long game in SimCity, building too much at once will quickly leave your city with no money and in debt. This does require a lot of patience though because it can take a good while before you’re able to turn a profit if you don’t know what you’re doing. So build a little at a time then expand on your income rather than your starting cash. Starting on smaller cities is also a good way to build up a good strategy.
Overall, SimCity 3000 Unlimited is a seriously addicting game. I used to play it as a kid, and I actually have a CD copy of the game in my collection still. I hadn’t played it in more than 15 years though. As soon as I booted it up again I remembered why I loved this game so much growing up. It’s an incredibly well designed game, it’s easy to pick up, and it’s just plain fun. The soundtrack also remains as one of my all-time favorite video game OST’s as well. I highly recommend playing this game if you have any love for city builder’s it’s amazing.
Thanks for taking the time to read this review folks and I’ll be back with my next review soon, until then, happy gaming folks!
Shaun Meyers out!
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