Written by  :  Luis Silva (13621)
Written on  :  Mar 22, 2006
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  3.67 Stars3.67 Stars3.67 Stars3.67 Stars3.67 Stars

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Only for those that cannot feel frustrated.

The Good

The strongest part about the game is without shadow of doubt the humour. From less shady characters like the workers to the undesirables like the hippie or the cockroach (who isn't making a boat out of a turd like in the sequel, but one can't have everything), all of them react differently to your clicks, with a small FMV on the top right corner. Graphics come second, with nicely animated character sprites, good looking buildings and garden features and some maps are filled with tiny details.

The interface, while messy at times, does a good job on giving an overview on the growing empire. A huge problem is that the game does not pause while messing around, so important things might be happening while you're watching if the teams are all well assembled...

A final mention goes to the well-designed overall concept. To build stuff around, a team has to be assembled, and depending on their abilities and fatigue, can take more or less time to build. Then, the rooms of each house can be improved, which increases tenants reproduction rate, life expectancy or decreases stress and building deterioration. Then, houses can be equipped with gadgets or garden features, which increases their overall quality.

The Bad

The pace of the game will make you cry. If there are too many variables to be considered playing alone, when there are other players fighting over the same turf it gets incredibly frustrating. Dealing with the number of reserve tenants in the HQ, the production of the level one tenants and completing a mission for the city with the enemy foreman attempting to take over one of your premium properties and picketing one of your raw material mills will be sooner or later responsible for some white hairs. More "sooner" than "later", mind.

Graphics, while good for the most part, have a few issues, notably the lack of variety character sprites - tenants and workers all look the same and housing blocks end up looking too alike.

The Bottom Line

Under what seems to be a simple sandbox game lies a city simulator filled with micro-management options which shortly becomes too complex for its own good.

To be enjoyable, the game has to be played with the "unlimited tenants" (and possibly others, depending on the mode) cheat. One has to wonder if during the design stages nobody thought "no, this is pushing micro-management too far", "let's make this easier" or "what about some assistants?", as the game simply gets too frustrating for serious play after a while. If you want to play something where you can relax and see your town grow, try SimCity.