Do you remember playing any of the SimCity games, and while playing, you saw little helicopters buzzing around the map, giving out information. If you've ever thought it'd be neat to fly in those little choppers, then Sim Copter will give you the chance to do so. Sim Copter is a spin off to the wildly successful SimCity series of games, by Maxis. While the SimCity games had you playing the game as mayor, interacting with your citizens (called Sims) from afar, Sim Copter gets you up close and personal to your people and their affairs. It invites you to take control of a helicopter and help solve various problems around the cities you'll be flying in.
Once you've installed the game, the main menu gives two play options, a career game and a user game. A career game basically has you flying from one city to the next as you collect money to buy better helicopters for your own personal little fleet. A user game allows you to load up any city created with Sim City 2000 and fly around in that, tailoring the challenges to your own liking. The user game allows you to change the level of incidents so that if you want more fires and no rescues, you can have that.
There are a few main events in Sim Copter that will directly involve you. These include car chases, medical evacuations, clearing up traffic jams, putting out fires, rescuing Sims, and so on. When the game begins, you're given a small, under-powered helicopter that can only hold one other passenger. This is where you begin to learn the tools of your trade. You have a water bucket for putting out fires, a winch for rescuing Sims, and a loudspeaker for barking out commands. Once you acquire more funds, you can get a water gun and tear gas canisters for clearing up riots.
Speaking of funds, this is what the game revolves around, the acquisition of money. How does one get money? Well, you get money by completing jobs, saving people, ferrying passengers, and so forth. What does one do with all this money? Well, but better helicopters, of course. The game includes eight helicopters to fly (nine with a cheat), ranging from a tiny Scheitzer 300 to a huge Bell 212, and plenty in between. These craft only differentiate in power, speed, and range, and usually all behave the same. The flight model of the game is pretty light as flight models go, but this game wasn't meant to be a hard core helicopter sim.
One might wonder how the maps from SimCity 2000 fare in the translation from 2D to 3D. In all honesty, quite well. The game may not be 3D accelerated, but it looks great in software, considering that it's taking a 2D map and making it into 3D. The graphics are nicely detailed, and the cities are just filled with activity, from cars driving around to people walking the streets to boats sailing the harbors. In all, while it's slightly pixilated, the graphics look nice enough to get by.
The sound effects, on the other hand, are superb. The game has several in-game radio stations (all of which can be customized, and new ones added) that can range from rock to classical...and there's nothing like hearing Wagner's "Flight of the Valkyries" while zooming down to a burning building to rescue some people stuck on the roof. The DJ's from said radio stations, as well as the commercials, are quite hilarious, and are definitely worth listening to. The voice over your loudspeaker is also fantastic and quite funny too. It's quite hilarious to be chasing down a criminal, only to hear "Would you let your mother see you doing this?" from your own loudspeaker.
Overall, while it may not have a detailed flight model or cutting-edge graphics, what it does have is plenty of fun game play and that great Maxis tongue-in-cheek style of humor. If you're tired of flying around military choppers around foreign nations, come back home and fly around in a great American city. The action in Sim Copter isn't very violent at all, so people of almost all ages can play. It's a fun game with lots of playability, what more could you ask for?
Graphics: Slightly blocky and pixilated graphics.
Sound: Fantastic voice acting and music.
Enjoyment: A fun time can be had by all.
Replay Value: Considering you can fly in any city made for SimCity 2000, and there are thousands, there's a lot of playability here.
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