Sim Isle - PC, 19/10/95
Strategy games might be good, but that doesn't mean they all have to be good.
The best ones tend to involve wiping out the opposition (Command and Conquer) or embarking on a vast and seamless evolutionary adventure (Sim City). Or both (Transport Tycoon).
But Sim Isle is just a load of smellies in a Landcruiser saving stuff in a disjointed array of missions.
Slow to load and cumbersome to play, Sim Isle immediately distances itself from its regal Maxis forebears.
You're pitched straight into a tutorial mission to locate and protect a rare species, cultivating local resources to build up the necessary tourist infrastructure to fund the venture.
But please - please don't upset world opinion or island happiness by making too much of a mess. Or pretending to be the grandson of the bloke who punched Houdini in the stomach.
To meet the conflicting objectives (raise local prosperity/avoid clip joints) in Sim Isle, you're given different combinations of the 24 "eco-agents" on offer.
One might be good at negotiating with the locals, another at making them worship a plastic model of a skier.
Click your agents around the island to do stuff, then click various tables to see how education/happiness/pollution is faring. It isn't very good.
With peculiarly clumsy isometric graphics and an irritating insistence on using cursor keys to scroll around when a mouse would have done, Sim Isle is rather an aesthetic shambles.
And even the most absorbing of the 25 missions (i.e. the make-town-into-city ones rather than the boost-happiness-to-80 per cent ones) are terminally blighted.
You see, the gameplay rarely rises above sending a bloke to a village and waiting whilst he builds a craft shop.
Sim Isle - PC CD-ROM - by Maxis
Req: 8MbR 486/33
Uppers: Finite missions
Downers: Tedious and uninvolving
Overall: 65% - Sim-isle: you're on camera
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