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Metropolismania For Playstation 2
I picked this game up randomly in a bargain bin in a local game shop. For only $5.00 I figured why not, Metropolismania looked cool, and I adore games in where I have complete control over the reigns.
The game allows you to control one weaselly looking dude in a tacky bright yellow suit. His mission is to basically build a town from the ground up. This means you create the roadways, plop down homes and businesses.
Run the show!
Immediately I was hooked; more than I actually thought I would be. A game with such a simple concept, was so addicting!
The game started with me being sent off into an unpopulated mass of grassy land. Nothing on this parcel of land besides me, some trees, and grass.
But fear not, my land mass did not go unused. I began to draw in my roads using a little piece of chalk. The whole concept of building roads is pretty fun, because as you walk, your piece of chalk magically draws out roadways, complete with street signs, lights, poles, and everything else you would normally find on roadways.
After building one straight long line, I was given a set of cards. Each card had a different color to it. Green cards were residents looking to build homes in my town, orange cards were small businesses looking to open shop, and blue ones were offices and factories looking to set up in my town as well.
I happily went around the road I created, placing each home, business or office along the side of the road. In a few moments the town had give birth to a small population of workers, residents, and business owners.
Just as quickly as they moved in, I introduced myself to them. I built relationships with them, and some of them would even ask me for small favors, like fetching them groceries, or helping them find a certain building. The tasks were fun, and relatively easy. Suddenly though my towns folk began requesting more and more of me. These requests if not fulfilled quickly would be marked in my planner book as a complaint.
Establishing relationships is very important, you will want to make friends with everyone who moves in to your town, because later on when you level up into a brand new town, you will be able to call them on your cell phone and ask them to move to your new town. You will need them too, so definitely make buddy buddy with anyone and everyone that you can. It helps you in the long run to have a gigantic network of friends.
Anyhow, I realized immediately that if I did not respond to their complaints they would simply up and leave my town! One down!!! Oh no!!!
Complaints at first are simple to fulfill though. Residents would ask for me to build a school, a hospital, or a police station. In order to find such buildings I had to ask the people around my town if they knew anyone who worked in a police force, or if I knew anyone who knew someone who worked in an Elementary school, and so on.
Eventually they would introduce me to such people, and I would gain access to the buildings or places I needed to get my people to stop complaining.
One resident in a particular wanted me to build a factory. I plopped it nearby a residents home, and got taught a lesson in placement. You see the residents who were located next to the factory all complained about the loud noises coming from the factory. I ignored there complaints because I felt there was nothing I could do. As a result they all moved out.
From then on, I knew that Metropolismania was all about strategic placements of buildings, homes, and businesses. If you flop your town together in a sloppy manner more people may move out, instead of moving in.
In order to move on to the next level, you have to complete a task. Usually the task consists of having 100 people in your town. If you complete that challenge you get thrown into a brand new blank land mass. The mass is larger, which means the town will grow larger. Which means more complaints, and more tasks.
The game gets extremely difficult toward the last stages, where you will have to complete tasks such as making a town with 50% businesses, or a town with 500 residents. Although it gets difficult, it also brings new challenges that are relatively fun. If your town is impressive you may have aliens wanting to move into your town! Yep, if you build it, they will come!
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The graphics in Metropolismania are not all that impressive. In fact the game is so lack luster when it comes to graphics. I have seen better graphics come out of the Nintendo 64.
The graphics in this game are pretty bland. All buildings look pretty much the same. All characters look nearly the same, the environment is dull and when you see people moving around the town streets you will notice their odd unnatural walk. Cars that drive through the roads also drive through with such high speeds that they look like a massive blur.
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Sounds in the game are basically normal sounds you would hear in any city like setting. You hear the noise coming from large factories, hear boating bells near marine businesses, you will hear horns honking, and the laughter of children coming from playgrounds. The sounds are decent, not impressive, but decent enough.
Tacky music also plays lightly in the background. After awhile the music gets sort of enchanting, and after shutting the game down you will find the rancid little tune playing in your head; or you may even hum it!
Music disc's can be bought in the music stores that are located in your town, but they are pretty much the same annoying tune you will hear all through the game.
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I like a nice challenge when it comes to gaming, and Metropolismania does offer a very nice challenge each and every step of the way. As I moved through each level (levels take roughly around an hour to complete in the beginning. As you advance though it could take days to complete levels) the challenges got more and more difficult, and I enjoyed it.
After awhile though when the town gets so large, things do get very difficult. Pests begin to take over farms, you begin running out of room, and it gets to the point where you cannot at all make everyone happy.
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Metropolismania did come packaged with a few quirks that I have to mention. The first being the repetitive cycle that gets a little boring after awhile.
For instance each character looks the same. The old grumpy man, the happy old man, the grumpy old lady, the happy old lady, young women, a young man, the bald man, and the man who tells tacky jokes. There are also teens, and children.
Although that may sound like a nice selection of characters, all of them look the same. They lack individuality, and the dialog that is exchanged between your character and the towns people are also repeats. By the time you get to the very last level in the game you will be wishing it would end.
Its unfortunate too because it could have truly been a really great game had they added in more visual stimulation, and more of a variety in dialog.
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The controls in Metropolismania are all very simple to understand. You control your main character using the controls joystick, the other joystick allows you to move the view from left to right making it easy for you to see whats up ahead at the next turn. The game itself it a 3D platform, but the movements of your character can be a little sluggish at times. To speed him up, you simply go into one of the shops and feed him.
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One thing that I really did not understand about the game was how the reward system was. If I completed a level I of course would get money. Sometimes during game play I would also get a raise in pay.
Basically the reward system is money. You can use this money in turn to buy decorations for the town, such as benches, plants, or trees.
What really sucked the beauty out of this though was that each object cost a lot of money, and as soon as you moved on to a new level you lost everything in the town you just spent all your money on! The objects also go unused by your town people, and they don't seem to appreciate it anyway. Although it adds a nice decoration to the town, it does nothing but visually make you feel happy. However as soon as you level up into a brand new town, the object is gone forever.
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The re-play value is very small when it comes to this game, but it is there. After I beat the game it was over, finished, done. In a way it got so challenging that I was glad it ended. I didn't think I would ever pick the game back up again for another round.
Less than a year after owning the game though, I did in fact dive back into the world of running my town. Although the re-play value is small, it is in fact there.
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All in all Metropolismania is a fun and challenging game. It does have a cycle where it feels like you are on a non-stop repetitive hamster wheel, but the challenges and puzzles presented in the game offer quite a round of entertainment.
Personally though, I would not spend more than $10.00 on this game.