SimCity 4, "Rush Hour": Worth It?

I just saw the SimCity 4 “expansion pack” (glorified patch?) for $20 at my local Best Buy, and I remembered how SimCity 4 was lots of fun, but also very frustrating–sometimes a city would just freeze up at a certain size, tax income would drop away, the city would hemorrhage money, and then the whole place would go to hell.

As in SimCity 3000, I was most enamored with setting up innovative (and what should have been efficient, dammit!) transportation networks that made the city look beautiful. I always found that the root of my problems was traffic, and the fact that my Sims hated to use the Utopian/Byzantine networks of mass transit I built for them.

I know the patch/X-pack isn’t going to fix my weakness for a better transportation simulator, but here’s what I want to know. If you’ve played the expansion, answer me these questions three:

  1. Did the patch make the game noticeably easier or harder?

  2. Did the patch make the game noticeably more or less fun?

  3. The patch is called “Rush Hour”. Is that because the traffic/transportation simulation has been made better, or because making a successful city is more painful than fighting Jackie Chan in the movie of the same name?

<Linda Richman>Discuss.</LR>

Well, I’ve never played the game, but here is The Official Website for Rush Hour. If you click on the game info they give a pretty extensive description of what the expansion pack allows you to do. Sounds cool. The “Query Tool” in particular sounds like it may be of some help to you. . .

DaLovin’ Dj

(1) No different. It adds transport methods.

(2) More fun. Just. The driving element isn’t that good in the long term.

(3) Er.

It’s entertaining, but wait until it hits the bargain bin. Really.

I have been a Sim City fan since the “Classic” game first came out in 1989(?), so I admit I’m somewhat biased :wink:

However, I’ll try to be objective about this.

The game is “easier” insomuch as there are now 3 difficulty levels available when you start each individual city. The original SC4 cities are classified as Hard, with 100,000 Simoleans to start. In addition, there are now Medium (200,000) and Easy (500,000) settings, so you’re not as restricted in your early cities and regional demand kicks in. The first city in a new region is still very slow to develop and difficult to make profitable all by itself. Having 500,000 Simoleans to deal with sure does help though!


I think it’s now a lot more fun with the Expansion than without it. Certainly over time the new features become “standard” and are not as mind blowing as they once were. As an example, I very much wanted the signs and labels function – it always annoyed me that we couldn’t name our roads. Well, the first few cities I tried, every street, road, avenue and highway had a name. Now, though, I’m spending more time building the city than labeling it. There are also now many different types of transport (avenues, ground highways, transitions from avenues to highways, elevated trains, monorails, etc), so, you can make the city’s transportation network as simple or complex as you like. Naturally, I had to try out each of them “just because”, but now I find myself using the subway, busses and rails more often than some of the new modes.

One of the best features is the new “transportation query” tool, which shows the type of transport and number of commuters, workers, trucks, etc., using each type of transportation AND how they commute. Query a residence and it will show how many workers walk, take the bus, subway, or drive to their jobs. I think that in and of itself is worth it, but I’m really geeky that way :wink: I must caution you that the simulation often takes time to catch up with itself, so that you will see there are workers in a business but nobody is commuting to it. Must be the ghosts from the graveyards :wink:

Let me make one thing ** VERY ** clear though – while the transportation model is much improved, there is still a very long way to go. Sims still take the closest transportation rather than the fastest. You might still have a completely clogged avenue next to a completely empty highway because the highway is 2 tiles away from the residence. There is an entire community at that has developed all sorts of “mods” that address this and many other things that Maxis should have addressed in the first place. I personally don’t use them, but that’s only a personal preference. Although not officially supported by Maxis, they are certainly aware of the site and know what they are doing. They just won’t take responsibility for anything used there. I should also mention I have no connection with Simtropolis other than that I read their message boards.

Whew. I think I’m done now. Hope this helps. And no, Maxis doesn’t pay me for PR, but they should :wink:

What Merhouse so eloquently said. Let me add a couple of things.

With Rush Hour, it’s much easier to link each city together. Instead of the original, where if you connected to a neighbor, your road, railroad, highway, etc. would just stop at the edge. Do the same in Rush Hour and your road, railroad, highway, etc. will be extended a ways into the next city.

There are more choices regarding public buildings. A 1x1 police kiosk for those crime hot-spots, extra-large schools for large extra-large cities, a large medical center, etc. There’s also new reward buildings, many of which can be optained though the usual way - your city (and sometimes the region) meeting whatver is requried - or one of the u-drive-it missions.

I think I’ve made my decision: it seems Best Buy has placed this item on sale for $10, with an attached 10 Mail-In rebate. Admittedly, that's not free. I'll still pay the .37 to mail it, and the cost of an envelope (less that $.01, I think).

But when the game is cheaper than the gas burned going to and from Best Buy combined with the electrical power my computer will use during the first week that the game is installed, the question of whether something is worth its price becomes a comical comparison…

I think it’s worth it. I will second Merhouse’s comments on It is a great site for anything you could ever want to enhance your SimCity 4 experience - from custom lots and maps to “moded” traffic models as well as discussion boards on anything SC4 related.

The best parts about Rush Hour in my opinion are:

  1. The route query tool that allows you to trace exactly where Sims are coming from and where they are goin to.

  2. Advanced mapping options that let you monitor traffic volume by type

  3. The new transportation options - specificly double-wide avenues, ferries, monorails, one way streets and connections that allow them to seamlessly integrate with each other (ie no more ugly highway ends that drop off into nowhere).
    Some may say that the game should have included Rush Hour from day one. Either way, it definitely enhances the experience.

Well, as already mentioned, the expansion pack is about as close to free as you can get without stealing it, so I don’t know where the quandry comes from. And since the Deluxe edition with the original plus the exp pack is now cheaper than the core version, there’s little question about what to get.

I really don’t get all the whining about “this should’ve been in the original game”. What does that even mean, anyway? The expansion pack adds a ton of stuff. And yes, the route query alone is invaluable.

My friend Brian loves to take some mad scientist missions and run over a bunch of people for cash and stuff. I tink he’s twisted.

IMO, the new transportation model and options alone are worth buying the expansion.

Now if they’d just add a terrain generator along the lines of the earlier ones. I know their website now has a terrain generator based on USGS maps but I prefer something less “real” for some reason. I’ve imported images from a fractal generator instead.

Just a bump to post a annoying, inconsequential, and yet nagging question for which a quick answer is eluding me:

When you query a building (industry, home, police station, fire station, army base, seaport, whatever) there’s usually a little sound effect (e.g. rail station = train passing by; ferry terminal = ferry horn tooting; hospital = patient monitors beeping/buzzing). At first I didn’t think much about this, because some words were in English (Art Museum = guy saying “hhhmm, yeah”; U-Drive-It Ambulance = “Team Leader”, among other things) - but the Airport stewardess and the space port technicians seem to be speaking a garbled language, which I guess is Simish (I only played SimCity, never “The Sims” or expansion thereof) - is this true?
And what the heck is the radio station (KSIM) sound bite? It sounds like Q-sab on my computer?

SirRay, I’ve never built the spaceport, but the airport people are clearly speaking Simlish. I don’t recall what the radio station sounds like specifically, but I’m pretty sure that it’s also Simlish.

I’m pretty sure that at least some of the sound fragments are taken directly from The Sims or one of the expansion packs.