Sim City (Super Nintendo) Review

By Adam Riley 14.01.2007

Review for Sim City on Super Nintendo

Will Wright's Sim City from Maxis was a major hit when originally launched on the PC, so when Nintendo decided to get involved for a SNES update people were sceptical. After all, since the game was so good in the first place, how could Nintendo add anything to it? However, that special Nintendo touch was placed on the Super Nintendo title and it quickly turned into a true classic. Now one of the first Nintendo 16-bit games has been released early on in the Virtual Console's life. But does it hold up well enough to warrant an 800 point purchase?

Whether it is nostalgia talking or not, I am unsure, but Sim City definitely looks as good today as it ever did. Everything is active and alive in the world and this is wonderfully represented in the animations related not only to aspects such as traffic (little black dots for cars and a tiny train on rail lines), but the actual building growth as well. Grass and water move as if affected by a gentle breeze, structures gradually morph before your eyes and the feeling of a living, breathing city is portrayed perfectly (or at least as perfectly as you could expect from a first generation SNES game). As for the soundtrack, the melodic tunes that play in the background are extremely peaceful and soothing, whilst at the appropriate times the pace picks up to fit the urgency required during emergencies. Plus the expected sound effects are all present and correct, from the noise of a train going along the tracks to the explosions made when demolishing buildings.

Screenshot for Sim City on Super Nintendo

This all sets up the game just the way you would want it to be. And for those that are unsure what that exactly is, well the whole game is about you being a new mayor, having to start from an empty piece of land and build up to a bustling Metropolis from humble beginnings. All it requires is strength of character, a mind capable of juggling an erratic budget and the needs of the population, as well as relying on a modicum of luck to help out in certain circumstances. Yes, that is 'all' that is required...sounds quite simple, right? Hmm...

Well, you have a little gauge in the top-right corner to help out, which shows how much demand you have for the three building types available at your disposal – Commercial, Residential and Industry blocks. The first two have three different levels of growth, whilst the last one only has two. They range from poor to medium and then high quality, growing to a particular level according to how you develop the area surrounding them, whether you provide a decent balance between the three types, if you construct sufficient infrastructure, ensure there is enough police and fire coverage nearby, make sure there is a decent buffer zone to keep dirty industrial pollution as far away from the commerce and residences as possible, and so on. There are indeed many factors that will cause people to flock from your city (for the sake of argument we will just stick with the term ‘city’ from now on).

Screenshot for Sim City on Super Nintendo

Later on, when you have your budget in check, you can expand to adding aspects such as a seaport, airport and more power stations to cope with the massive electrical demand of your bustling town. But with these expansions come the added problem of disasters, both natural and man-made. Planes may crash or earthquakes may rock the city, and the only way to deal with them is to either hope the fire services can reach burning buildings in time, or bulldoze around the immediate area to contain the catastrophe. The major issue comes when Godzilla actually decides to turn up and stomp around the place...that can be a real nightmare (yet proves fun as you get to re-develop specific areas you may have started to neglect over time).

Screenshot for Sim City on Super Nintendo

In general, though, Sim City runs at a sedate pace with Dr. Wright on-hand to offer tips wherever necessary, a number of graphs and charts to help you keep track of important matters (crime rate, pollution, your popularity, people's major qualms, to name just a few) and even a handy bank that can give you a nice loan to ease your budgetary worries. With a simple interface that poses no trouble at all and a simple enough premise, this SNES version proved how accessible the genre really could be.

And it had (still has, actually) great longevity to it. Not only was there the practice level that could take up a good couple of weeks if done properly, but lots of other different land types to work with, hazards to overcome and even a smart scenario mode that puts you in a negative situation and leaves you to turn things around and improve the state of affairs, no matter what the issue at hand is. Back in the 16-bit day it was well worth the £49.99, and now it is just 800 Wii Points, how can you honestly resist this classic?

Screenshot for Sim City on Super Nintendo

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Whilst the Sim City franchise has reached a superb level in the form of Sim City 4 on the PC, Nintendo's magic touch to the original for this SNES port stands proud to this very day as a classic 16-bit piece of sheer genius. Anyone with even a remote interest would be foolish to not part with a mere 800 Wii Points for this gem...

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C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (3 Votes)

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