History: Maxis is one of the best known game companies with a full two pages of awards, dozens of titles, and hundreds of thousands of copies of games sold. Maxis is not just a developer, but also a publisher and has many affiliates’ products they bring to market. Maxis also has agreements with internet multiplayer gaming companies, such as Mpath, TEN, and ENGAGE to provide services to its customers.
Plot: Well you have created your great city and as a city designer and manager of great prominence, you now want to take to the skies and see your work in the flesh. You climb into your trusty SimCopter to overlook your SimCity and viola, before you stretched out for miles is your three dimensional virtual city.
Gameplay: You can import SimCity 2000 maps that you have created or use one of the 30 premade and scripted scenarios. There are missions that you can fly through the city or you can just look around like you might with Sierra Pro Pilot or Microsoft Flight Simulator. Fly around water towers and skyscrapers, and over mountains and hydroelectric dams.
You can use the helicopter megaphone, drop tear gas, drop water, call the cops, lead cops to a perp with the search light, and transport the injured to the hospital. You are paid for flying successful missions and you use the proceeds to repair damage and buy special equipment, including tear gas launchers, megaphones, water cannons, infared sights, and others. The helicopter can be damaged in landing and in minor impacts with buildings.
Modes: You can fly one of 30 indiviual missions and or take charge in career modes. Your career will advance through increasingly difficult missions in a set of pre designed city maps, with planned crises that you must avert or deal with sucessfully. Multiple crises will increase the difficulty as missions progress.
Missions: Crisis management is the goal of the 50 missions. Fly to the location of riots and break them up rescue people in trouble, help catch criminals, and fires to put them out. You can direct the dispatch and functions of fire, police, and rescue units right from your helicopter. Rescue the little people who populate your city, that Maxis calls Sims, from sinking boats or burning buildings. The helicopter wash in a boat rescue makes the process dificult by pushing the boat away from the chopper. Very realistic.
You fly: Successful missions are rewarded with ever more advancing helicopter types, including Schweitzer 330, McDonnell-Douglas, Dauphin 2, and others. The types of helicopters, their flight characteristics, avionics, physics, control system or any other essential information is not realistically applied, since the game is not meant to be a sophisticated flight simulator. The game is an action arcade strategy game with an extremely primitive flight simulator model.
Interface: The controls are basically with the keyboard with arrow keys determining up and down and left and right, with the mouse supplimenting control. An awkward memory feature causes problems when the controls remember the last move.
Views: Most important to flight simulators are the views. SimCopter includes first person perspective, third person from behind and overhead views activated by hotkeys.
Graphics: Three dimensional, highly detailed graphics, that dol not compete with Quake or many other light shaded, texture mapped, gouraud textured flight simulator, but which are attractive and functional with a dark cast to them.
Animation: The smooth animation is without flicker or stutter. The chimneys billow smoke into the air which is carried on the wind.
Music score: ?
Voice actors: The radio informs you of disasters as they occur and cues you to what, where and when while you decide how to deal with the crisis.
Sound effects: The gurgling noises made by the injured while on route to the hospital are disgustingly realistic.
Utilities: The patch on the Maxis web site purports to fixing glitches in the flight model involving clipping (flying through objects), cars that will not traverse tunnels, and bridges that force you to fly around.
Hints, Cheats, and Walkthroughs:
SimCopter Cheats Page
Multilpayer: There are no multiplayer options available which is a serious omission.
Future: SimCar should be coming out in the spring of 1997.
Maxis SimCopter Web Site
PC Gamer, volume 3, number 7, July, 1996, pg. 40.
Peter Olafson, PC Games, volume 4, number 3, March, 1997, pg. 76, 88%.
Petra Schlunk, Computer & Net Player, volume 3, number 11, April, 1997, pg. 77, 60%.