SimCity 4 Rush Hour First Look

As its name implies, SimCity 4 Rush Hour is all about transportation.  New vehicles, modes of transportation, and entire transportation networks await you in this expansion game due in the fall of 2003.  Some of the new vehicles include helicopters, zeppelins, ferries, and, of course, new cars to roam the streets of your cities.

The expansion not only features new vehicles, its adds a major new component to gameplay.  You'll actually be able to take control of vehicles in the game and drive them yourself.  While you can certainly take advantage of this feature to help a Sim avoid a traffic jam on his way home from work, you can also control helicopters and emergency vehicles and take a direct role in controlling crime and reacting to disasters.  In addition, to really help you get good mileage out of this new feature Rush Hour will include vehicle-based missions.  Capture carjackers or stop bank robbers and you'll be rewarded with new structures and vehicles.

All aboard!

Rush Hour will also give you new types of roads and transportation networks for your new vehicles.  Your cars will get to traverse one-way streets, wide avenues, and new types of bridges.  Trains will be able to run along elevated tracks and stop at historic train stations or massive rail yards.  New large seaports will include ferry docks, and your choppers can take off and land from helipads.  These additions will not only give your cities more transportation options, they will also allow you to build regional transportation networks between your cities.  For example, you can create a ferry service to link cities separated by a body of water.  Of course you can expect new tools and graphs to help you manage it all.

Rush Hour provides more than just new transportation options - you will also get over 100 new structures to add to your cities.  Some structures are part of new themed sets that can be used to create cities from three different historical eras, or you can select from the Modern European set and create a city with a distinct European look.  Also included are new structures that let you add European tourist destinations to your city to complete the effect.  If you're looking for something a bit more American, you can create classic Americana road marks.

One of the classic SimCity features makes its way into SimCity 4 with Rush Hour: signposts.  You'll be able to add signs to mark neighborhoods and points of interest to give your cities more character.  In addition to the signs, you'll be able to place labels to mark street names and to name landmarks such as mountains, lakes, and rivers.

If all of this is still not enough for you, Rush Hour sweetens the package by adding new disasters.  Now that you can control vehicles, what happens if you can't beat that speeding train to a crossing?  A train wreck, of course.  And those pesky aliens are up to no good again, so expect an alien invasion complete with abductions and crop circles.  If the aliens aren't causing enough mayhem to satisfy your need for destruction, you can take control of a UFO yourself and show them how things should be done.

SimCity 4 Rush Hour looks to be packed with a lot of features for an expansion game, and is something for SimCity fans to look forward to.  We'll bring you more in-depth information on the expansion as details become available.  Until then, get your cities ready for a transportation revolution!