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Streets of Sim City is a stand alone driving game from Maxis, the makers of Sim City. This game had great potential. It promised to let you drive around cities that you have created on Sim City 2000, and it also promised to let you design paint jobs for your cars. The best feature, or the one I was most looking forward to, was the racing with weapons. You could strap a rocket launcher to your car, or a chaingun. This game really disappointed me when I came to buy it.

Graphics

The graphics engine for this game was about three years behind its time. Using low polygon cars, 2D sprites for trees that you could drive through, and dull textures, made the first play of this game rather un-exciting. The weapon effects are nothing compared to Quake III Arena, that was released only half a year later. Oh well, I thought, there is more to a game than the graphics.

Gameplay

Not with this game it seems. The physics engine was very poor. With 45 degree angle jumps barely leaving the ground, and most objects being so you can drive through them, this added to my disappointment. The games engine, unable to handle curves (much like Sim City I guess) has all roads going in straight lines with the odd 40 degree bend.

The "Custom Paint job" Feature

With the gameplay being so poor and the graphics being so dull, I decided I would try and brighten up the game by creating a South Park paint job for my van. So, I click the garage button and select paintjob. I scroll through trying to find an option to create my own, but all I find are blue and brown skins. With this I quit the game and open the readme. Near the end of the readme is a small paragraph on how to create custom paint jobs. Don't forget this was one of the main features listed on the back of the box.

In the readme it told me to open up MSPaint, go to the Streets of Sim City directory, and open the template paint job. This was a series of black and white boxes scattered across the image. I could just about tell what parts were the sides and the lights and so on. Okay fair enough, I decided to just try a black van, so I coloured in the whole image black. I save the image under black.bmp and load up the game once more. When I get to my nice black paint job I get an error. After about 2 hours of trying to figure out why this error appeared I find out that I painted over the edges on my image, so I have to carefully colour each block of the van separately. No use using the fill button, as the template is obviously scanned in or something, and each pixel is a slightly different colour.

Result

I was extremely angry that such a great looking game could be made so poorly. I hope now, that there will be a sequel with a nice graphics and physics engine, such as that used in Need for Speed, and a paint job feature like the one in Viper Racing where you paint onto a 3D Model.

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