King for a day, or a century?

Sim City logo Amiga Computing Excellence Award

BEING a mayor isn't, as is widely held, all about dressing up in silly frocks and leading a procession once a year. Well, maybe a bit of it is, but there are some pretty tough decisions to be made too, like what areas of natural beauty to destroy and industrialise, how high to set the rates, building roads to combat traffic congestion and building expensive residential areas for incredible rich people - like mayors - to live in.

Sim City will terraform a suitable landscape for you and set the clock back to the year 1900. How the New Town development proceeds from here is up to you.
Remember, the social make-up of the town depends on these early stages - one wrong plan and it could be Milton Keynes for thousands of innocents. You are in a position of great social responsibility.

The first thing to do is build a power station - man cannot live by candle alone. Along with this decision comes your first quandary - coal or nuclear?
A coal power station is considerably cheaper, but causes more environmental damage, and pollution is one of the factors that affects population growth. Nuclear, while more expensive, is a lot cleaner unless, of course, you have a meltdown.
Already you are making decisions which will effect the structure of the city to come. In fact, the early decisions are far more important than those taken later on.

Growth of the city will critically depend on how high you set the tax rate and how much valuable land you cultivate for the populace. The initial considerations are for power, transport and zoning regions for industry, commerce and residents.

It is important to note that you do not actually build on any of the zoned regions, your population does. If you zone a residential region in the middle of an industrial wasteland, don't expect many people to go and live there.
The challenge therefore is not merely to provide a certain amount of accommodation for each of the city's functions but to use a piece of land for the purpose for which it is most suited.
Furthermore, each zoning decision you take will effect the suitability of neighbouring property for a particular task, due to reasons of traffic, pollution nd land value. As the city grows, so will other factors, like pollution, crime and traffic density.

Police stations are a good idea, and if you are lanning for a Pudding Lane then a few fire departments might go down well too. Of course, all this costs money, and the only place to get it is via the annual rates demand. It's a good thing that you don't have to get re-elected.

Just when you think you have it all worked out the trade figures suffer a slight blip, commerce slumps, the taxes must go up and before you know it the last of the fleeing population have you hanging upside-down in your lovingly sculptured town square.

Presentation doesn't mean much in a game like this, but great care has been taken to make your metropolis look as brilliant as it was designed.

Sim City follows the simple philosophy of a game called Kingdom, which was widely popular in the days when programming meant wearing a white coat and flicking switches - define a few simple rules that describe a reality and then explore the mathematics. This it does excellently.

Sim City logo Format Gold

INFOGRAMES £29.99 * Mouse and/or Keyboard

Who wants t be a city major? I do. Just imagine being in the hot seat in San Francisco after the 1908 earthquake: could you cope? Or how about controlling Tokyo in '57 when Godzilla has just been spotted heading your way?

Sim City is just that: a simulation of a city. Leaving the pre-set scenarios aside for the moment, the idea of the game is to build a city from scratch and keep the thing ticking over using the limited funds available.

Every city in the game has three basic 'blocks': Residential, Commercial and Industrial. A successful city will have the right balance of all three blocks: no point having loads of shops and banks if the populace has no jobs or homes! But it's not necessarily as easy as all that.

At the start of the game, you're given a lump sum of money - the exact amount depending on the skill level - and you then have to take several things into consideration before splashing the loot about. For example, the residential zones will need to be far enough away from the industrial zones to encourage people to come and live in them, yet transport routes between everything have to be good (roads and railways can be built). There will have to be enough jobs to attract people to your town and enough commercial zones for them to spend their wages in... And so it goes on.

Once you've set the town up, complete with power stations and police and fire departments, the major headache is keeping people there to nail for their taxes: tax money being the only other source of capital, needed to maintain and expand the town. Set the tax rate too low one year (the game runs in years which take about five minutes of real time) and you'll attract lots of residents but you will generate very little revenue.

And once you start losing money, the problems start to occur. The come rate may be soaring, but if you just can't afford another police station people leave and the community eventually starts falling apart.

It's all a question of balance: juggling the economy, listening to people's needs (an evaluation chart can be called up at any time to see what percentage of the population think you're doing a good job, and see what their biggest gripes are) and trying to expand until your small village turns into a Megapolis of a quarter of a million citizens.

If building and running your own city seems too much hard work then you can always try jumping into a ready-built one, as mentioned earlier. The scenarios are a harder game in many ways, as you are always set specific tasks: restore an earthquake-devastated town to its former glory in something like 30 years.

Real masochists, though, will start a town from scratch and build it up until it's doing very nicely thank you, and then invoke a disaster of their own, such as a flood or a major city fire. Whatever you choose, you're the mayor and it's the population you answer to.


The sound effects are fine but that's all they are. The graphics are basic but they do their job well enough. Simple looking stuff.


It's the compulsive gameplay that really makes it. It has that certain something that makes you want to keep going, for hours at a stretch: just one game can last you for weeks. It has much more general appeal than something like a football management game, but it has the same 'once you're into it you can't get out of it' character. Terrific stuff.

Sim City logo CU Amiga Superstar


To most of CU's readership the name Sim City means nothing. To a few it represents one of the most amazing pieces of software yet to appear. It not only dazzled people at the massive Consumer Electronic Show in America, it also managed a staggering sixteen page write up in Japan's biggest computer mag, Login. Unfortunately, in its original state, Sim City would only run on a one Meg Amiga and was totally unavailable in this country.

At last somebody decided that it might just be a good idea to release it in the UK. So with a couple of minor changes enabling it to run on unexpanded machines, here it is.

Sim City gives you a chance to go one step further than the deity you played in Populous - it lets you become a politician. You're given a nice plot of land, twenty thousand bucks and freedom to do what ever you want. I christened my piece of wasteland Happy Valley II (in memory of Happy Valley which went under in an earth quake on my imported version).

The first thing to do is to get a population. I established a nice residential area and linked it to the power grid. Following that I linked industry to the power grid. Creating a motorway proved no problem and I soon had a growing economy. As with any good city it needed department stores; the addition of some commercial zones was welcomed by the Happy Vallien's. And so my first year in office came to a close.

The economy was only running slightly in the red, but the polls showed that crime was an increasing problem. To combat this I had a police station built, and upped the taxes to 9% to help fund it.
Five years later and Happy Valley II had a population of 20,000, a sea port and a footy stadium. Even with a railway, public opinion showed my popularity dwindling in the face of congested road ways. I embarked on building my version of the M25 Orbital. Like most great motorways it ran out of money half way through construction. Still the effort paid off and the people went back to moaning about pollution and the taxes.

Twenty years after that and I have a continually expanding city, a healthy economy, lots of lovely happy people, and most of the industry has moved out to the countryside. However...
It wasn't my fault the nuclear reactor suffered a meltdown. Only half the city was rendered unsalvageable; I thought nuclear power was supposed to be safe and clean. With ten thousand people and millions of dollars worth of real estate written off, it looks like it's time for Happy Valley III.

If you don't really want to take the risk of losing your city in a major disaster you can practise reclamation on one of a pre-built town. They give you a set amount of time to clear up flooding, fires and disasters - the works.

This is an excellent game which has already written itself in the pages of computer history. It's already been accepted as an essential study tool for students of architecture and urban studies in certain US universities. But don't assume that means Sim City is an egg head's game. It's fun, addictive, original and amazing.

Sim City logo Zero Hero

Ever wanted to run the world? Now's your chance. Sim City, Infogrames' latest game, is an incredibly sophisticated 'build your own city' sim, where your computer emulates the changing faces in the 'life' of a city. Sean Kelly donned his mayor's chain of office and settled down to tablle it out against inner-city housing hassle, traffic problems, crime and bad rail links. Blimey!

"If I ruled the wordl, every day would be the first day of spring, every tax form much happiness would bring, every..." (Snip! Ed.). Hem hem.
Sim City is a 'build your own city sim' in which you play a mayor with your own plot of land,on which you must gradually build a metropolis.

The game begins with the computer generating a terrain upon which you can build yourself a village; how quickly this grows is down to your own good sense and planning. It's a completely mouse driven game, and all the necessary Bob McAlpine Junior-style building commands ('bulldoze land', 'build road', 'destroy beauty-spot' etc.) are accessed from an icon menu to your right.

Once an icon has been selected, the pointer becomes a large square, equalling the size of the area needed for that particular action. So for example, if you want to build a power station, the pointer will become about three by three centimetres square and you must find a space on your land equalling that size before you can plonk your power station down. Remember that the area you see on screen is actually only a small part of the whole playing area though. So you can scout around a bit before planting.

To begin building your little empire, firstly you'll need a power source. Next you'll need to find somewhere for your 'Sims' (that's 'population' to you and me) to live, so put down some housing land, and connect it to the power grid. You don't actually build most things but merely designate certain areas for certain purposes. For example, if you designate somewhere as a 'residential development zone', your Sims will get on and build houses there provided they're needed, of course. If not, then the land will stay wasted and unused
Your population will also want a place to work (unless they're 'crims'), so next you should designate an industrial zone and also a commercial zone where they can buy and sell things (the capitalist pig-dogs).

That gives you the basis of your town, but as it grows, the laws and actions governing its development will become much more complex. As the population increases, so does the number of cars - and traffic becomes a problem, along with housing and crime and pollution and... So loads of different factors must be taken into account as you make a decision to remedy each problem, each one more complex than the last.

At any point in the game, you can call upon a 'poll' which indicates what percentage of the population thinks you're doing well, and what the Sims regard as the major problems in the city. This allows you to take steps to improve the standards for your population (or, if you're feeling in a particularly nasty mood, worsen their standards and make their lives hell). In addition, a large number of graphs, indicating everything from police influence to land prices, can also be accessed at any time during the game.

Just about all city life seems to be integrated in Sim City, and it's down to you to solve any problems which might arise, firstly by forward planning and secondly by 'corrective' planning - bulldozing parks and building railway lines for example. Once you have the hang of it, you can take on one of the 10 'scenarios' included, which allow you to attempt to solve past and future problems encountered in cities the world over. Pass the bricks and mortar, mum...

Amiga reviewSean: Considering the depth and level of sophistication in Sim City it's surprisingly easy to get into. At first I thought I was in for a straightforward and rather tedious game, but after a few minutes of playing I was hooked. Once you see your city begin to grow on your monitor, it's very difficult to tear yourself away. The prevailing throught is to have just one more year, and then one more... It's absolutely brilliant.

The way that problems of city development are simulated are excellent. Take tax, for example. If you increase taxation for a little while to provide the funds to build a port, it'll bring in more trade given time. But raise the tax too high and this'll cause mass migration from your city, and you'll have less revenue than before. Keep it too low and your city will stagnate. What a conundrum, eh?

So gameplay is brill, but what of sound and graphics? Well sound is pretty lousy, but then thankfully it's not really essential for a game like this. It would have been nice to be able to hear the 'city noises' such as traffic, trains and planes as your city developed, but no such luck. As for the graphics, they're well presented and thoughtfully designed. And when you take into account the complex nature of this simulation, the mouse-driven menus and icons are surprisingly clear and easy to use.
In fact it's a modern feat of engineering that Infogrames has managed to squeeze so much into 500K.

It has to be noted however, that there are a few bugs in Sim City, some of which can be a major pain in the bot. Once, after several hours of building, the game slapped a huge black square across the monitor. At various other times it just locked up. Providing you save your city every half hour or so, these shouldn't be too much trouble, and although they sound terrible, the game is still excellent.

It's difficult to explain why Sim City is so appealing. Perhaps it's because you're given the chance to 'prove' you've got what it takes to run peoples' lives in an efficient manner. Perhaps it's just megalomania. (Yup. Ed.). Whatever the reasons, Sim City will stay in your disk drive for a very, very long time. Stop

Sim City: Main screen explanation
  1. Shown across the top are your city's name, the date and the budget remaining.
  2. Useful messages like this sometimes pop up here.
  3. Click the budget bar and a menu offers various graphs - predicting for example, the levels of pollution, crime, end-of-the-worlds etc. expected in the next 120 years. Yikes!
  4. A large and traffic-packed roadway, handy for the toddlers of the lovely high-density housing estate nearby.
  5. The railway line, with about as mainy trains as British Rail (i.e. none).
  6. A commercial zone, signified by the blue border, where 'Sims' buy Simfood, see Simfilms and do other Simmy things.
  1. Bulldoze land
  2. Build road
  3. Build railway
  4. Build power line
  5. Build parkland
  6. Assign residential zone
  7. Assign commercial zone
  8. Assign industrial zone
  9. Build fire department
  10. Build police department
  11. Build power station
  12. Build football stadium
  13. Build airport
  14. Build port
  15. Non-functional
Sim City: Unspoilt beauty spot
1) Aha! This unspoilt beauty spot seems a good site for a massive nuclear power station. Should add a bit of 'sparkle' to the local drink water, too. What a philanthropist I am! Time passes...
Sim City: Residential and industrial zones
2) Blimey! 10 years on, and I've slapped up residential and industrial zones, and connected them to the power station. People have moved in already, but why? It's utterly crap! Time passes...
Sim City: Connect houses and industry by road
3) Brilliant! Connect the houses to the industry by road, and up springs a grimy old factory to provide 'entertainment' for the masses. What a caring, throughtful developer I am. Time passes...
Sim City: Residential and industrial zones three decades later
4) Amazing! Just three decades (about half an hour, in fact) after beginning my city, and it's well on the way to becoming a 'thriving' metroplois. Hmm... I think I'll call it 'Birmingham'.

Urban planning was never so much fun!

Sim City logo Zzap! Gold Medal

Infogrames, Amiga £24.99

Is your town as dull and boring as Ludlow? Or is it as polluted and overcrowded as London? What idiot plans these nightmares?

If you think you can do better, Sim City offers the opportunity of being Mayor. Starting off on easy level you have got $10,000 to set up your town. Your overhead view of a section of a 100 square miles landscape can be scrolled about by mouse. Once you have chosen where to site your city you can click on icons on the right to build and zone.

Zoning is one of the most important planning devices. It basically means cities are split into residential, commercial and industrial zones. This prevents houses being built on the same sites as factories. In the game you can't actually build homes, factories or shops, just establish zones where other people can build them, if they want. To encourage people to do this you must provide power by building a power station, either coal - which pollutes - or nuclear - more powerful and cleaner, but has a slight risk of nuclear meltdown!

To link zones to the station you have to build powerlines. Use the mouse to place sections individually, or hold down the left button to draw your connections with them. You must also build a transport network with roads (cheap to build and maintain) and rail (no traffic jams, but expensive). As your city expands crime will increase, as will the risk of fires, requiring police and fire stations. If you are near water you might want to build a seaport to increase industrial growth, or you could even cough up for an airport to improve commercial growth.

Both building and zoning cost money which must be raised by taxes once your initial money runs out. Taxe rates from 0% to 7% encourage people to move into your city, but don't raise that much money. Tax rates above 9% encourage people to leave the city. Besides funding new activities, you must also fund fire and police stations ($100 per station per year) and roads ($1 per section of road per year). You don't have to give these services what they ask for, but if you don't services deteriorate.

High tax rates are not the only things to cause residents to leave however: high crime rates, pollution (caused by too much industry packed together), traffic jams and so on, are bad for city growth. Thankfully maps and charts can be called up to show all these factors with invaluable detail and clarity.

There are 21 types of commercial areas, 20 residential, and 9 industrial, ranging from slums to top class, fast growing areas. If you manage to keep your city growing despite pollution and so on, you might still be defeated by such disasters as earthquakes, fires, flooding, plane crashes, tornados and even rampaging monsters! These occur at random, coming more frequently on higher skill levels. Sadists can choose to inflict them on their cities if they want.

There are also eight scenarios which can be loaded from disk. These range from Dullsville (transform a boring town into a megalopolis) to Rio De Janeiro (rebuild a massive city recovering from a flood). Scenarios have tight time limits to add to the excitement.

Phil King I never thought I'd ever design my own cities, though seeing how disastrous some of them turned out in Sim City, it is just as well I'm not a real-life town planner! And although managing the enormous scenario cities is fun, the game really comes into its own when you build up your own town from nothing. The simple idea of placing the various units gives birth to all sorts of complex, very real problems as your town evolves. The perfect city seems like an impossible dream as you inevitably make compromises between various factors, including your budget, to please the public. Hours, days, weeks, months, years... of fun can be had experimenting with different town layouts - and just when you think you have got it right a major earthquake reduces your ideal town to rubble!
Sim City is fascinating, educational, and totally compulsive - if Ed hadn't locked away the disk, this issue of ZZAP! would never have been finished!
Robin Hogg I am wasting valuable time here writing this comment when it could be put to much better use playing Sim City. This game is addictive to a perilously unhealthy degree, deadlines suffering immensely because of it. Like Populous there is an immense feeling of satisfaction to be gained from building up a city and watching it prosper. Once the foundations of a city are laid it becomes less of a game and more of a personal quest to see it succeed - it is brilliant to just sit back and watch life go on around the city. But things soon go very wrong if you don't keep juggling the need to save money (for a disaster fund), building roads and suchlike to maintain growth, while ensuring taxes don't drive people away.
Sim City is great fun and thought provoking too. Now if you'll excuse me I've got to sort out the 'small' problem of an uncontrollable fire at one of my nuclear reactors and no fire department to speak of - ah well, nice knowing you SimCitizens.
Stuart Wynne This must be one of the most beguiling games ever written. A subject more boring than urban planning is hard to imagine, but is here turned into something utterly compelling. Seeing the green residential squares fill up with tiny little houses, and the first cars trundling along the roads... words cannot describe the feeling of satisfaction as your city grows ever larger. But the game is much more than Little Computer People Go To Town - while instantly playable there is a 50-page instruction manual packed with information. Planning cities so land values increase, traffic congestion is minimized and so on is intriguing. And the feeling of success when you build your first airport is terrific!

Sim City logo CDTV


Another Amiga game enhanced, but a very excellent Amiga game with some well-thought-out enhancements. The in-game music is full hi-fi audio, and was recoreded by a rock and in a studio, and it's very good.
The game has been tweaked in places with the addition of a fancy zoom mode, plus a number of modifications to the structure along with some new scenarios that weren't on the Amiga version.

This is a classic strategy game in which you build a city by catering for the needs of its inhabitants. The better the municipal facilities that you provide the citizens, the more popular you will become and the more likely your chances of being re-elected as a mayor. And if you can handle such natural disasters as Godzilla stomping on your city, all the better.

Much like Lemmings, this really is a top-notch Amiga game that deserves to come into the living room.

Sim City logo CDTV


Another classic now released on CD, this is probably the game that has seen most enhancement. It features a soundtrack played from hi-fi tracks on the disc, recorded specially by a band in a studio for the game, and themed appropriately for the different parts of the game. The game itself has also been changed, with new historical scenarios (such as Wild West and Medieval), excellent new wandering monsters and a zoom mode that allows you to take a close-up look at your town.

If you aren't familiar with this one, the idea is to create a city by placing amenities (roads, housing, industry and so on) in appropriate positions and your performance is monitored by the approval of the population.

You are called on to handle various crises, too. All in all, it's probably the most fun and accessible strategy game yet produced and has an aura of seriousness about the fun that makes even the most serious of parents and non-gameplayers approve.

Sim City logo CDTV

Hier kommt das Gegenstück, nämlich eine der besten CDTV-Konvertierungen: In der neuen Version hat die betagte Städtebauer-Simulation nun eine ebenso bunte wie detailreiche Grafik zu bieten, ja, selbst die Menüs sehen hier geradezu prachtvoll aus! Hinzu kommen 1A-Scrolling, deutlich verbesserter Sound (samt komplett neuer Titelmusik) und eine Steuerung, die sich auch mit Joypad weitgehend ertragen läßt. Sicher, mit der Maus geht der Straßenbau lockerer von der Hand, aber dennoch wird Sim City am CDTV wohl bald das sein, was es auf der "Freundin" schon lange ist: ein Klassiker!

Sim City logo CDTV

Daß neue Eigenentwicklungen für den Neuzugang in der Amigafamilie einen eigenen Test bekommen, ist Ehrensache - daß wir hier kurz und bündig CD-Umsetzungen älterer Progis (Alfred Chicken, Lemmings 1 & Sim City) vorstellen, ist Tradition!

Diese Scheibe wurde einst für Commos Multimedia-Flop CDTV entwickelt, verrichtet jedoch auch am CD32 problemlos ihren Dienst - und enthält mit Maxis' Städtebausimulation einen der ganz großen Digi-Klassiker!

Bereits beim Aufbau der Ansiedlungen ist strategisches Denken gefragt, die Verwaltung erfordert nicht minder viel finanzpolitisches Fingerspitzengefühl. Nur wer die Steuerschraube und Probleme wie Umweltverschmutzung, Kriminalität und Verkehrschaos gleichermaßen im Griff hat, steigt im Ansehen der Einwohner und bringt es vielleicht mal zum perfekten Bürgermeister einer perfekten Stadt.

Nicht perfekt, aber wesentlich schöner als bei der Diskversion, sind Grafik und Sound auf CD ausgefallen, und die Steuerung geht mit dem Joypad fast ebensogut von der Hand wie mit der Maus. Ein klarer Fall von 79 Prozent!

Their life on your land

Sim City... ...Terrain Editor logo

ONE of the most notable games these last few months was the excellent Sim City, acclaimed as the concentrating jolly hard man's Populous, where mere mortals got to be mayor of a megacity.
However, the game had one slight complaint levelled against it. It was impossible to create the actual starting terrain, all the landscape was terraformed randomly.

Now even this little niggle has been rectified with this wonderful editing package. Fill and draw options allow you to place land, sea, trees and even plot the route of passing ships. A smoothing function will get rid of all those nasty rough edges.
Even if you do want just a random landscape various sliders can be set to bias towards leafy, wet or barren lands - even down to the curviness of the rivers. A few sample cities are included to help guide you on your way.

An excellent companion to an excellent game, but not really worth it for the money.

Sim City... ...Terrain Editor logo

Action Sixteen £7.99

Ever wondered how those wacky riverside landscapes are produced in Sim City? Ever lain awak at night, puzzling over the creation of those thin little islands that almost reach the mainland, but not quite?

No, neither have I. But there have been occasions when I've wanted to design my own maps. I'd go into fits of swearing because a terrain editor wasn't available. That is until now. The Sim City Terrain Editor is a simple program which gives you a blank desert and the option to bung trees, rivers, and channels on to it. Once you've created your Utopic paradisiacal Eden, you can save it, load it into the game proper and cover it with smog-belching factories and mass-transport systems. Of course, it's possible to load in the different architecture modules as well.

Overall, this is a minor program which won't change your life. But if you're a big Sim City fan, you could have some fun.

Auf eigenem Grund und Boden...

Sim City... ...Terrain Editor logo

Bei ihrem Erscheinen sorgte Infogrames' Städtebau-Simulation für erhebliches Aufsehen und stürmte gleich beim ersten Anlauf sämtliche Verkaufscharts. Jetzt gibt es auch einen Terrain Editor dazu!

Die unscheinbare kleine Diskette hat so einiges zu bieten. Zum einen den Zufalls-Geländegenerator, der sich von dem in "Sim City" eingebauten dadurch unterscheidet, daß man große und Menge der Baumgruppen, die Anzahl der Seen und sogar die Windungen der Flüsse vorher einstellen kann.

Wer seine Landschaften lieber von A bis Z selbst erstellen möchte, kann dies mit Hilfe des Feld-für-Feld Editionsmodus machen. Jedes Feld umfaßt eine Flache von ca. 18 x 18 fiktiven Quadratkilometern, die sich nach Belieben mit Bäumen, Gewässern und freiem Land ausgestalten Läßt. Auch bereits bestehende Städte können auf diese Art verändert werden. Wer also zu nahe am Wasser gebaut hat und jetzt nicht alles wieder wegbulldozern will, verbreitert damit einfach den Uferstreifen und schon ist Platz für eine Umgebungsstraße! Ein paar Städte zum Üben werden gleich mitgeliefert (u.a. Gotham City!).

Wie klappt die Landschaftsmalerei in der Praxis? Einwandfrei! Gezeichnet wird mit per Maus, die vielen nützlichen Funktionen sind über Icons bzw. eine Menüleiste abrufbar. Das deutsche Handbuch erklärt zwar nicht restlos alles, die Handhabung ist aber nach kurzer Eingewöhnung völlig problemlos.

Der wahre Städteplaner kommt somit um die Anschaffung dieser Zusatzdisk einfach nicht herum! (od)

Sim City... ...Terrain Editor logo Zero Hero

Infogrames/Amiga/£14.99/Out now

Amiga reviewTim: They say that on the Seventh Day, God rested. This, as we all know, is a load of dingo's kidneys. He had a hangover, he played Sim City, he created Milton Keynes. And not surprisingly, the inhabitants of Milton Keynes turned to Devil Worship in a vain attempt to get rid of the roundabouts.

Sim City, reviewed in January's issue, gave you an opportunity to get one back on the city authorities. Given a randomly generated landscape, your task was to develop it: assigning areas for industry, building roads and railways, the power grid, police stations, etc. With the Terrain Editor, a supplemental program, you now have the chance to go one step further and play God himself, creating your own landscape to work from.

It works very much like a painting program. Given a featureless terrain, you use the cursor to draw your scenery in either of the two map windows - one of the whole region, the other a magnified window of a smaller area. Your cursor paints in small squares the same size as the basic Sim City unit square. But a particularly neat feature allows you to smooth out the hard edges after you've finished your creation so that the map looks, erm... more like a map and less like a bunch of coloured squares on a brown background.

You can also use the Terrain Editor to generate scenery semi-randomly: select either 'Woods', 'River' or 'Island' for one of the three different basic terrain forms. Then generate away until the computer comes up with a map that tickles your power-crazy fantasies. And besides starting from scratch, you can also use the Terrain Editor to alter the landscapes of cities you're already in the process of building. Sometimes it can be useful having the hand of God on your side, particularly when you need to make a bridge as short as possible...

If you've got Sim City then the Terrain Editor is a must. If you haven't, go and buy them both. It's an unmissable experience. Stop

Sim City... ...Architecture 1: Future Cities logo

Action Sixteen £7.99

OK, so you've got a thriving metropolis. Bridges, fire stations and an abundance of parkland nestles cosily with rapid transport systems and expensive waterfront developments and leaky nuclear power plants.

All in all, you've got the hang of Sim City. And it's only just possible that you're getting slightly bored with it. After all, you've seen one airport and sports stadium and you've seen them all. But that's where these new architecture modules come in. Just load 'em and instantly you've got a whole new city to look at. Every unit in it is ultimately the same, so there are police stations, power stations and all the other gubbins, but the names have been changed, and of course it all looks vastly different.

The Future Cities include all sorts of excellent weirdness for you to explore. There's Gotham City (which does indeed look a bit like the new sets in the Batman Returns film), there's a Moonbase (which looks like a sort of base on the moon) and there's a cyberpunk Manhattan.

All in all, the future cities are well thought out and look like they could take the style of the game well into the next century, as they say in advertising land.

Zeitloses Bauvergnügen

Sim City... ...Architecture 1: Future Cities logo ...Architecture 2: Ancient Cities logo

Fast auf der ganzen Welt haben die wuseligen Sims schon ihre Cities errichtet, und jetzt - jetzt gehen ihnen langsam die Bauplätze aus. Was macht man da? Man zieht seine Städtchen einfach in einer anderen Zeitepoche hoch!

Nun ja, möglicherweise liegt es auch an der ungebrochenen Beliebtheit von "Sim City", daß Infogrames dafür nun zwei Erweiterungsdisks herausgebracht hat bzw. vom PC konvertiert hat. Wer die erste installiert, darf seine Metropolen im Amerika des Jahres 2055 errichten, im Europa 2155 A.D. - oder seine Sims sogar auf den Mond schicken! Natürlich sieht das Architektenleben in der Zukunft etwas anders aus als heute, so haben z.B. schneidige "Desintegrationsgeräte" die altmodischen Bulldozer abgelöst, und für die Katastrophenabteilung sind nun nicht mehr explodierende Kernkraftwerke oder Onkel Godzilla zuständig, sondern Killerbakterien, Meteoriten und Aliens.

Wer sich da doch lieber ins Mittelalter zurückwünscht, braucht nur zur Architekture-Disk Nr. II zu greifen: Neben dieser finsteren Epoche findet man darauf den Wilden Westen und das alte Asien als Hintergrund- (oder Untergrund?) Szenarien, wo man es mit Pferdedieben, Seuchen und Drachen zu tun bekommt.

Fast überflussig zu erwähnen, daß die beiden Zusatzdisks (à 49,- DM) für jeden ernsthaften Städtebauer einen absoluten Pflichtkauf darstellen, auch wenn sie außer den veränderten Landschaften nichts wirklich Neues bieten (deshlab auch keine Bewertung). Was man dazu braucht, ist die 512K-Version des Hauptprogramms, 1MB Speicher, eine Leerdisk und den Willen, die Installationsanweisung der deutschen Anleitung genauestens zu befolgen. Übrigens: Wer mag, kann sogar seine persönlichen Lieblingsstädte in die jeweilige Zeitepoche mitnehmen und in völlig neuer bzw. uralter Optik bestaunen! (mm)

Sim City... ...Architecture 1: Future Cities logo ...Architecture 2: Ancient Cities logo ...Terrain Editor logo

Why? Quite a poignant question, that, I put it to Bristol City Council after every roundabout in the city was replaced overnight by a set of traffic lights. It also begged to be asked when blue Smarties appeared, consigning years of tradition to the dustbin for no obvious reason. And every time they change the Blue Peter signature tune, 'why?' is the word that forms on the lips of the nation.

And I'm afraid that, despite employing my powers of investigative journalism to their full, the reasoning behind these three pieces of software remains a mystery. Let's look at the Architecture disks first. They each offer three alternative sets of architecture. There's 21st Century USA, 22nd Century Europe and Moon Base on the first disk, and Ancient Asia, Medieval Times and Wild West on the second. They sound like fun. But all they actually DO is change the graphics your copy of Sim City uses to display cities (And only after endless pratting about with installation programs and blank disks).

Stadiums turn into rodeos or low-gravity complexes, airports turn into castles or space ports, and so on. An interesting exercise, but a pointless and slightly sad one. It's a bit like buying a plastic spoiler and some fog lamps for your Ford Escort 1.3 Popular in the hope that they'll make it go faster.

And what of the Terrain Editor? Isn't Sim City already an 'editor'? Surely, that's the whole point? Well, yes. So what the Terrain Editor does is let you handle the process that takes place while Sim City is displaying the 'Terraforming' message. That is, designing the layout of the land, sea and trees that your city will be built on. So you could, if you like, reproduce your favourite piece of coastline (those fjords around Norway, perhaps). You could write your name in trees. And, er, that's it.

At £7.99 for all three, die-hard Sim City fans might conceivably be tempted,especially for the collection of demo cities supplied on the Editor disk. But a tenner each? Nope, it seems that unless you've exhausted Halford's selection of Escort add-ons, or you make a bit of a gaffe and assume you're holding a copy of Sim City itself (which could easily be done - the packaging is very deceptive), you'd have to be stark, staring bonkers to buy any of those.

Sim City... ...Architecture 2: Ancient Cities logo

Action Sixteen £7.99

No, no. You don't want any of that futuristic rubbish. Get your head round some historical settlements with the Ancient Cities module. You can develop the Wild West, with its tumbleweeds, earthquakes and, er, tumbling weeds. Or what about medieval Europe? Build houses of wood, pack them together, and chuck a Swan Vesta in the middle of it. Minutes of fun are guaranteed.

The thing is, none of the architecture modules affect the gameplay at all. A power station in the original game becomes a water wheel in the medieval module and an electro-gravity system in the moonbase. But the power unit performs exactly the same in each, so once you can beat Sim City, you can beat it with any of the modules loaded as well.

Sim City Deluxe logo

Der klassische Städebau-Simulation von Maxis ist auch ein klassischer Gast auf unseren Compilation-Seiten, ohne ging es noch selten ab. Diesmal hat Infogrames das betagte Sim City zusammen mit der etwas jüngeren Architekture-Disk und dem Terrain Editor i eine Schachtel gepackt und will 94,- DM dafür haben.

Trotz der unbestrittenen Qualitäten des Hauptprogramms und der Möglichkeit, dank der beiden Erweiterungen neues Land mit neuen Gebäuden zu besiedeln, scheint uns der Preis für den Oldy jedoch happig - da gab es schon weitaus vielversprechendere Kombinationen!

Da die Franzosen auch am deutschen Manual gespart haben, muß sich ihr Päckchen also mit einem Platz im unteren Oberhaus begnügen. Aber wer das Spiel wirklich noch nicht kennt (ein, zwei Leute wird es schon geben...) sollte natürlich trotzdem zugreifen. (ml)

Sim City Deluxe logo

Is it more building excitement or just Ripoffsville, Arizona?

Things You Didn't Already Know About Sim City, Number One. Er, it's an anagram of Tim Yics. Let's forget about Numbers 2-100, shall we? The fact is, EVERYBODY knows about Sim City. Even if you hadn't heard of it previously, it was in the All-Time Top One Hundred back on page 53, so you have now. The only further info you need from this review is that Sim City Deluxe includes the original game plus the Terrain Editor disk and the Architecture 1 set which were both reviewed back in issue 16, and which enabled you to alter the graphical style of the game or change the layout of the ground where you build your city. So let's talk about something else. Let's talk about fizzy drinks.

Caffeine-Free Diet Coke - just what is the bloody point? There are two things you drink cola for, right? One is energy and a quick sugar boost, so taking the sugar out is obviously a stupid idea. The other is a caffeine fix when it's a hot summer's day or you don't want to drink anything as revolting as coffee in the first place, so why take the caffeine out?

Caffeine-free diet cola tastes like someone took a mouthful of muddy river water with syrup in it, swilled it around their mouth and spat it back into a tin, so there can't be any aesthetic reason for drinking it either. So why does it exist? What does it tell us about our society? I'll tell you what it tells us - it tells us that we're a bunch of pathetic losers so utterly suckered by aspirational advertising ("Drink this and you needn't be a sad empty nobody any longer! You too can have a gleaming, shiny smile like these dreamy all-American teens - because all your real teeth will have fallen out and you'll have a set of lovely porcelain ones") that we'll even drink something with all its Coke-type properties take out, as long as it's still called 'Coke'.

Why can't they do ANYTHING properly?

I mean, the last bastion of cola-boy hipness is swigging the dark enigmatic black stuff out of that bottle, so what have they done now? Clear cola Jesus. Yeah, guzzling a can of Tab's really doing to make the girls think you're James Dean. What's the matter with people? Why can't they do ANYTHING properly? And that, in the most ludicrously tangential way yet, brings me back to Sim City Deluxe.

Sim City is now, what, four years old? Maybe more. Artistically it looks, as you might expect, a little shabby. The god sim genre it spawned has thrown up countless imitations, most recently lovely-looking, compelling epics like A-Train. If you were going to re-release Sim City today at the same price as the competition, you'd really want to pull out all the stops to give it a chance in a tough market, wouldn't you?

I reckon, for a start, you'd want to include every single data disk supplement that anybody'd ever written for it. So bundling the £30 Sim City Deluxe with the novel-but--next-to-useless Terrain Editor and JUST ONE of the two extra Architecture disks must surely be one of the most pathetic example of penny-pinching stinginess even this mean-minded industry's ever seen. (Don't worry, though - there's a special offer in the box allowing you to buy Architecture 2 at a reduced price! Gee, thanks, Infogrames!).

But hey, isn't the world just like that? Don't be without Sim City, but search the bargain bins of your local software shops for a year before you buy this particular version. Death to corporate accountants.

Sim City Deluxe logo CU Amiga Super Star

Infogrames £35.99

Sim City is definitely a game that needs no introduction. After selling over a million and a half units around the world, it paved the way for products like Sim Earth, Sim Ant and Sim Life, and now has come full circle with Sim City Deluxe, everything you could ever need to be Mayor.

The basic premise of Sim City is that you act as a sort of God/town planner/mayor of a small city. On the face of it this seems to be a completely boring idea, but it turns out to be one of the most riveting Amiga games.

Inside the glamorous black and gold box are three packages, which link together to create a complete system. There is the original Sim City of course, where you do all the actual town planning and management - the heart of the game itself. Alongside that are the previously released Sim City Terrain Editor and Architekture 1.

The released Terrain Editor, not surprisingly, allows you to alter terrain to your liking, so you can place your town on a rock plateau, or under 30 feet of water, which is not advisable.

Architekture 1, on the other hand, is a set of three new scenarios for you to work with, all based in the far future (Future Europe, Future USA and a Moon Colony), and add stacks more challenge to a product that will already keep you up nights and indoors at weekends.

Sim City is now four years old, and thankfully it is still every bit as enjoyable as it always was. To say it is a classic would be like saying Tetris is a good puzzle game. If you do not have Sim City already, then there is no better way to get hold of it.