SimCity 4

aka: SC4
Windows Specs [ all ]
(prices updated 10/2 8:32 PM )

Description official descriptions

The most noticeable change in the fourth main game in the series comes through the new graphics, now in full 3D. The basic goal remains the same: build the ultimate city. You do this by balancing funding of community services with taxes, transit fares, and other forms of income.

But now you have more options. The new god mode tools allow you to sculpt a realistic terrain in seconds. And now disasters won't happen in random locations, you choose where to unleash them. There are all new buildings, and the gameplay is a bit more challenging this time: you have to actually start small, the way a real city is developed, or you'll run out of money. You can also import people from The Sims and insert them into your city, and have them give you feedback.

Your advisors are improved. They too are in full 3D, and they won't annoy you as much. They will provide you with helpful advice, and you can listen to them or annoy them to the point that they all turn into llamas. Literally.

SimCity 4 also lets you control your neighboring cities. Low demand for industry? Go next door and build some houses. Then connect the two cities with roads, and soon residents of your neighbor will want jobs. The game stays true to its predecessors, while adding new features and improvements.


  • 模拟城市4 - Simplified Chinese spelling

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Credits (Windows version)

252 People (243 developers, 9 thanks) · View all

Website Production
Software Localisation Manager
Localisation Project Manager
European CQC Operations Manager
European CQC Test Manager
European CQC Test Supervisor
European CQC Test Leads
European CQC Senior Testers
European CQC Platform Manager
European CQC Platform Specialists
Production Manager
Account Executive
Production Planner
Documentation Layout and Translation Coordination
Web Localisation Coordination
Studio Ops
[ full credits ]



Average score: 83% (based on 41 ratings)


Average score: 3.8 out of 5 (based on 84 ratings with 3 reviews)

The best Simcity game yet!

The Good
Simcity 4 is the latest entry in the well known Simcity series that began in 1989. Once again, you play as the mayor of a city, and it's your job to make sure that your town succeeds.

Gameplay: The gameplay elements have basically remained the same since the first game, you build different buildings, from schools, to houses, to stores. Once you have established a town, you can watch as it grows into a busy metropolis. You can also tweak the budget, increasing tax rates, lowering funds for different businesses (like police stations and schools), and starting city ordinances. Even though some wont like the micromanagement, balancing your city's budget can be fun and challenging, and will effect your city in many different ways. Taxes too high? Don't be surprised to find people leaving town because of it. Increasing crime rate? Put on the curfew ordinance to lower it. Funds too low for the school? They will strike. You will have to deal with many things, such as crime, pollution, and city demands. Advisors also return with advice and information. Gameplay is spread across three modes: God Mode (Where you can shape and form the land using powerful editing tools, and cast disasters), Mayor Mode (Where you control your city), and My Sim Mode (A cool feature where you can import up to four Sims to live in your city, where they will give you praise, advice, or complaints about your city). Simcity 4, like all Sim games, is also open ended, so no two cities are alike, and you can do whatever you like with your city.

Graphics: The graphics are flat out amazing with insane amounts of detail. Simcity 4 is the first Simcity game to feature a 3D engine, and Maxis has pulled out all the stops to make your city look real. You'll see all sorts of things when looking around the city: Sims will walk down the streets, playing in parks, children running off to school, weddings taking place outside a church, cars on the streets, and traffic jams. In a high crime area, there will be less people around, and cimes such as muggings, fights, graffiti, and flashing will take place. If you respond to a crime and send out police, you will see the patrol car arrive to the scene, and police arresting the offenders. Fire trucks will rush off to fires, and see firefighters battling the blaze. In a strike, you'll see protestors walking around carrying signs and banners. You will see people running from disasters. Day will slowly become night, and the streets with become empty...In short, really incredible stuff.

Sound: The visuals are great, and the sound is no different. You will hear the sounds of the city. Click on a school, and you'll hear the sound of the school bell. Click on a police station and you'll hear a siren and the sounds of a police radio. Just two of many examples. The music is mix between upbeat and laid-back tracks that suit the game perfectly.

The Bad
I only found two things wrong with this game. The first is that Simcity 4 can be a system hog. Once your city gets large enough, things can slow to a crawl whenever scrolling around. Second, the game can be difficult. Balancing the budget and staying out of debt can be be tough in the early periods of your city, even pros at Simcity 3000 will have some problems. In Simcity 4, money is much more realistic, and you have to pinch every penny until you start rolling in the green.

The Bottom Line
Simcity 4 is one of the most addictive and fun games I've ever played. It will certainly provide months, if not years of entertainment.

Windows · by JL3001 (17) · 2003

Slow but beautiful

The Good
Graphics are great. There are some errors and glitches, but when everything works, the game is beautiful. The details are amazing! Although we cannot yet walk in the streets of the city in person, we are almost there.

It turns out that to make a city live and breathe was not that difficult. Extremely varied and detailed buildings, coupled with realistic cars and pedestrians, add authenticity to the city as nothing else would. With zoom on the max level, you can spend hours watching the life of your favourite city part and the feelings you will have towards something like finally emerging downtown business district are nothing short of paternal. :)

Your city will feel real. As it develops gradually, your imagination can run wild and create countless stories about the inhabitants. :))) There is a special feature of the game that will help you with this. You can settle up to five Sims anywhere in the city - importing them from your copy of the Sims (if you have it) or selecting them from a small number of pre-set personalities.

These Sims will start living their simulated lives, doing their career in any of the businesses in your city, studying in colleges and universities, moving to another house when the old one is demolished or when a Sim can afford a more expensive place to live. You will periodically hear small stories from them that will entertain you when you have a moment free from managing the city.

The Bad
It slows to a crawl, when the city grows to more than 20000 people. Scrolling will be jerky, the game will swap to the HDD more, etc. Unfortunately, this will happen even on the best systems.

Bugs. Enough said.

The messages can become a bit repetitive. Reading once about the squirrels is fun, reading the same message ten times is not. Fortunately, only the most urgent messages in the game are popped-up - the rest can be grouped, filtered and ignored or viewed when you want to.

The Bottom Line
An excellent update to the series.

Windows · by Paranoid Opressor (181) · 2003

A difficult but engrossing game.

The Good
SimCity 4 is a beautiful, complex game that offers you the ability to go in any almost any direction: sprawling, dirty metropolis; bustling city; or beautiful, scenic village. You control the growth, what kinds of residents are attracted, and how the city responds to these changes. There's always an interesting puzzle or problem to solve, such as fixing a traffic jam or creating incentives for commercial expansion. The game rewards you by showing your plans for the city coming to fruition. You also receive special monuments, which increase residential and/or commercial desirability. Finally seeing skyscrapers sprout up makes all that effort worthwhile.

The graphics and sound are both good. You can, of course, toggle off any tracks you dislike, but -- surprisingly -- I found them all quite listenable.

If you play The Sims 2, then you can take advantage of some integration between the games. You can import Sims to live in your city, and you can import city blocks into The Sims.

There are also minigames you can optionally choose to play. Completing a minigame often gives you a small reward, while losing costs you some popularity or money.

The modding community for SimCity 4 is alive and moderately talented. Creating mods doesn't seem very difficult, though I never got around to doing anything, myself. Most mods are essentially eye candy, though gameplay tweaks do exist.

The Bad
Well, there often truly are problems popping up constantly. If you plan well before-hand, you can avoid many of these issues, but you'll have massive growing pains until you finally learn a good strategy.

Also, certain aspects of the game are very difficult to understand, either because the concepts are fuzzy or the tutorial doesn't explain well enough how to use the feature. Though the tutorials are, for the most part, helpful, you'll even run into bugs here. When you're just learning how to play the game, this is disheartening and frustrating. I imagine there are some people who quit playing the game, once they couldn't complete the tutorial.

I personally didn't like the minigames. I found them distracting and silly. Apparently, they are popular with other players, though.

I wish the manual and/or tutortials had been more comprehensive. I played the original SimCity and loved it, but, having not played any of the other games in the series, all this unexplained complexity was often frustrating. Many of the gameplay questions I had were never adequately explained anywhere. Maybe I was supposed to buy a strategy guide of some kind.

Many flaws in the game can be fixed with mods, but this is another source of frustration. Why should we need mods to fix faulty game design? Also, there was but one patch released for the game. After playing a few Blizzard games, I'm used to more post-release bugfixes and gameplay tweaks. Leaving such things to the modders is sloppy, in my opinion.

The Bottom Line
SimCity 4 is complex, challenging, fun, and difficult to master quickly. Players new to the franchise or genre may find themselves way over their heads, however. For this reason, I'd probably say that this game was made more for core fans, rather than newer players. Hopefully, the next iteration of this franchise will be better documented, have better tutorials, or introduce a better user interface (from which many of my problems stemmed).

Windows · by Rendorax (4) · 2006


1001 Video Games

SimCity 4 appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Electronics Boutique release

A bonus Transportation disc comes with the game if you ordered the game at Electronics Boutique.

The Transportation CD contains: * Steam Engine - Turn any railroad into a historic monument. * Paddle-Wheel Steamer - Launch this classic vessel on your SimCity 4 waterways. * Bi-plane - Bring your skies to life with the sound of propeller-driven aircraft. * Vintage Cars - Add some early automotive style to your city streets. * Air Force Game Reward - Featuring new military aircraft that fly in formation.


  • Most of the buildings are named after the developers of the game. (refer to the Credits page)
  • When loading a city, one of the random things the loader says is "Pixelizing Nude Patch." This is a reference to nude patches for The Sims, some which even make the nudity more realistic.

Release history

The game was supposed to be released on January 14th, 2003. However, it was shipped to retailers before the release date, and they put it on shelves before the release date. EA got angry at the retailers, but let it go and dropped the release date.

Information also contributed by Andy Voss, Corn Popper, and Nelson340

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Related Sites +

  • NZMac Review
    A (largely) unscored review of the Macintosh version of the game by NZMac, a New Zealand Apple site (Nov. 03, 2003).
  • Simtropolis
    Large fansite with a lot of information and downloads.
  • Urban Planning For Fun and Simoleons
    An Apple Games article (archived on the author's webpage) about the Macintosh version of <em>SimCity 4</em>, with commentary being provided by Producer Sean Decker (July, 2003).

Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 7999


Are you familiar with this game? Help document and preserve this entry in video game history!

Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Zack Green.

Macintosh added by Corn Popper.

Additional contributors: Unicorn Lynx, Cabeza2000, Petri Lehtinen, Zeppin, FatherJack.

Game added January 14th, 2003. Last modified July 15th, 2023.