This review originally appeared in E7, April 1994.
SimCity is an old fave of the PC gaming crowd. But the strange thing about it is that no-one quite understands why everyone likes it so much. It’s the kind of game that you can safely take home and introduce to your mum, but that can still engross even the most hardcore gamer for hours at a stretch.
Above all, SimCity is simple, it's very, very popular, and now in its latest incarnation it's also got something rather special in the graphics department. SimCity developers Maxis have added a proper isometric 3D view to the game – and as you can see from these screenshots, it really does help bring your Sim cityscapes to life.
The 3D table-top view can be spun through 180 degrees in both directions to let you see your city from every angle, and there are also several other important new features – like a built-in terrain editor, 32 layers of altitude, and an underground section for water pipes and a subway system. Opening SimCity up into the third dimension has made the game more complex – you have to keep checking your underground water pipes, for example – but it's also made the onscreen happenings that much more engrossing.
In the higher resolutions, the graphical detail of every building and object in your city is astonishing. From the tiny planes that jet across the screen (leaving their shadow on the ground below), to the trains pulling out of your stations and the ships and boats moored in the marinas or sailing across the harbour SimCity 2000 is a stunning product
The beautifully drawn buildings and objects in the game take up over 2 meg of hard disk space, and the speed at which the game engine shifts all this around onscreen is simply amazing. Still, all this impressive graphic detail means that this is probably a game that's more suited to 486 or 68040 specced machines.
Playing any of the Sim games has always been a peculiarly addictive and rewarding experience, but this new version takes SimCity further than anyone ever thought it could go. For its graphics alone, SimCity 2000 is an essential purchase.