"Hey! What happened to my bridge?" screamed a SimCommissioner.
"Oops, seems you needed to own the land on both ends of the bridge to keep me from bulldozing it down," I answered.
"So, that's the way you want it, huh?" he replied. "Okay, let's play."
Welcome to SimCity 2000 Network Edition. Although Maxis' latest SimMutation was not developed to give you the network carnage-fest experience of a WarCraft II or a Command & Conquer, you'll still have your chance to raise a little hell in the land of Sims. However, if you're looking for a new fast-paced network game, don't get too excited. This version is essentially SimCity 2000 with a few gameplay enhancements and features that elevate it to the network level of amusement.
The premise of SimCity 2000 remains intact - build a city from the ground up but now you can strive to create a land of milk and honey (or bread and water) for your Sims with up to three other SimFanatics. Although you won't be able to inflict disease or provoke a riot in a neighboring community - you're still limited to natural disasters and traditional demolition techniques - you can chat with fellow SimCommissioners, create contracts to swap resources, and vote collectively on city ordinances. It's now city by committee.
In addition to network play, the algorithm wizards at Maxis have added a few new features to the urban development simulation experience. Gone are the days of simply zoning property on a whim. Now you must factor in the cost of purchasing the land before you develop it. The purchase even goes through an escrow period before you are entitled to it. Conversely, if you're tight on cash you can sell land back and if its value has increased due to your business savoir-faire, you can make a profit on the deal. Sadly, the ability to lease your land to others is absent from the property management toolbar. And, except for a modest overhaul of the toolbars and fewer natural disasters, die-hard SimCity fans will find little difference in the aesthetics of the game. No city-destroying monsters in this one either.
Only when the race to gobble up the land is over (and this will take quite a while to accomplish in any mode but African Swallow), will you truly experience the networking nuances of this game. That's when the ability to shrewdly bargin for precious resources will separate the SimMasters from the SimNovices.
If you're a SimFanatic on the verge of joining SA (SimAnonymous) in order to get your next SimFix, this new twist on SimCity 2000 will certainly appeal to you. At least now you'll have some companionship on your never-ending journey to provide the proper balance of zoned property to a race smaller than the people of Liliput. Just remember to own all the property you build a bridge on.