The Sims Superstar Review
The Sims head for super-stardom!
Review by Tracy Bosworth
Published 19th October 2003
The Sims Superstar
- Developer: Maxis
- Publisher: EA Games
- Release Date: 23rd May 2003
The Sims series is one of those things that just keeps getting bigger and bigger. First was the original game ‘The Sims’ which saw players controlling their own people and families from their job, their friends, their relationships, their houses and even the little things like going to the bathroom and getting tucked up in bed. The game proved to be massive and is the biggest selling PC game of all time. Since the release fans have had numerous add on packs thrown at them adding more items, career tracks and objects and then more recently new neighbourhoods, new travelling options (such as the beach and downtown) and now the series is set to get even bigger in fact you could say that the Sims are going to be bigger than Hollywood.
One of the biggest drawbacks of the Sims series was the fact that you could not follow or watch your Sims at work; they simply disappeared for the majority of the day only to return worn out, hungry and ready for bed. Since the Sims are more or less required to work everyday it left gamers watching an empty house for 5 or 6 ‘game’ hours until their Sims returned. Superstar changes all this.
Superstar adds 3 new career choices to the game including fashion model, rock star and actor and thankfully all can be followed and controlled by your good self. Studio Town is a new addition to the world of The Sims and this town is fully open to you and your Sims to visit, explore and interact with and features music, fashion and film studios along with shops, spa’s and other goodie’s ready for your Sim to indulge in.
The start to your Sims success begins with the morning tabloid magazine you now receive with the morning paper giving you a list of names of people (or Sims) who are hot news in Studio town (your Sims name may appear in this list if you play your cards right!) and contact details for talent agents. To succeed in the fame biz you need an agent and once you sign up with one you are free to strut your stuff if Studio Town as and when you please.
As with every career track in the Sims series you start off small and having a quick sing on the karaoke machine may be your only hope of climbing that never ending ladder to fame. Every time your star profile increases you gain a star in your job profile and the more stars you earn the more equipment will be available to you around studio town from the catwalks to the recording booths. Encouraging the wondering paparazzi to take your picture now and again is also good for marketing.
To progress through the fame careers takes the same care and attention as any of the other career tracks in the game, you must keep your Sim happy, well fed, well socialized, rested and clean ensuring that they turn up for work every day with a smile on their faces. Special skills are also needed to progress and you are given a hint as to what you need to improve on when, for instance, you get booed off the stage during a karaoke session!
The Sims Superstar adds a real challenge to the game and makes things more difficult than they ever have been. As always you need to constantly make sure your Sims are happy and that all of their basic requirements are met. Then there are new skills to acquire from body to charisma and whilst all this is been taken care of you must maintain a strong social life and make as many famous friends as possible.
Money is also a massive obstacle in this add on pack and trying to have one Sim living in a house on his or her own is practically impossible on the financial side as the game refuses to allow Sims to have a ‘real’ job on top of their fame career which quite frankly, in real life would be the norm. When your Sim first starts out the only money you will earn will be the odd $10 on the karaoke machine and if you have no other money earner in the house you’re pretty much doomed to a life of poverty until your Sim climbs higher up that fame ladder and starts earning a proper income. Other problems can plague your Sims too such as obsessive fans who follow you to work, lurk around your house taking photos, rake through the rubbish, make a mess in your gardens and leave flowers scattered everywhere and then there’s the tabloids who take it upon themselves to print nasty stories and rumours about you giving you no option but to pay them off for a hefty price!
Despite its difficulty the game offers something worthwhile should your career succeed such as the option of hiring a butler, a butler not only cooks on demand but he also hires repairmen and maids should you need them and can also handle any visitors to the house. These services come at a (very steep!) price of course but to a famous Sim, money is there to be played with and thankfully there are other items which can be bought such as a personal scuba diving tank and a wall mounted giant TV.
Superstar also gives players a range of new actions to perform with their Sims, when interacting with other Sims for instance the ‘talk’ option gives a range of other options such as ‘talk about interests’, ‘talk about biz’ and ‘talk about self’. The entertain option gives the sub options of ‘Joke’, ‘entertain with puppet’ and ‘juggle’ and Sims can also gossip about other Sims which they tend to do in a rather humorous, immature manner! Sims can ask famous Sims (such as Marilyn Monroe and Avril Lavinge) for their autographs and can tell less famous Sims that they are their greatest fans, ask for hugs and even give out their own autographs. Fans of your Sims will often try to stop and talk to you, often offering flattery and admiration and keeping a good relationship with fans will help to avoid any ‘unwanted’ fans such as the types that like you just a little bit too much!
Superstar really doesn’t add anything else to the games graphics apart from a few new animations and the obvious new environments. Clothes are a little more realistic and can be bought from the fashion shops and worn at will.
The game still features the unmistakable ‘Sim Talk’ language making players rely on the thought bubbles to get what they are talking about yet the game does offer new audio such as the singing and music of the recording booths and as your Sims talent increases the singing also improves.
The Sims Superstar is pretty realistic in the sense that most famous people do not start out with lots of money, a big house and hundreds of friends, it all has to be worked for and this add on pack really makes you work for that glimpse of the good life. If you have the patience and determination to get your Sim to the top you’ll love this game, if however you become bored if things don’t happen quick enough then maybe the fame biz isn’t for you…or your Sims.
Review Score: 8.4/10
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