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The Sims: House Party Review
PII 233, 32MB RAM, 2MB Video Card, 300MB HD
|ESRB rating: T
release date: Mar 26, 01
|» All About The Sims: House Party on ActionTrip|
Branislav "Bane" Babovic
The Sims: House Party is the second add-on for the famous Maxis' bestseller The Sims. The Sims is the type of game any publisher would love to own: the type of game whose review would appear in Time and Newsweek and is being played by people who do not usually play video games. And when a publisher does own all the rights to a game like this, it is no wander that he's trying to use them to full extent by producing one expansion after another. The previous expansion pack The Sims: Livin' Large mostly brought new furniture and other household "upgrades", without bringing anything new to the Sims' social life. In RTS games, an expansion pack always brings new units and a couple of maps; something like this would never work for Sims. The Sims: House Party presents a new element - the possibility of better interaction amongst Sims through house parties.
For those of you who don't know how Sims function, the point is to control the lives of miniature people the way you want. You can start off with a pre-generated family, or a loner for that matter or create your own characters. Once you have a family, you give it a house, which you can either buy or build from scratch. This is where the fun begins, as the main goal of the game is to proficiently control their lives. You have to satisfy their basic needs for food, fun, rest, sleep and provide them normal lives through interaction with other citizens of the Sims' City and the members of their own household. One of best things in The Sims are those social relationships that develop between the little people. Creating deeper, long-lasting relationships was always very hard especially if the Sims were mostly after their careers. The new expansion was meant to resolve this problem as the parties seriously improve their social lives. Apart from this the expansion pack features more than a hundred new objects, new NPCs, tile-sets and events.
House Party also brings you a certain number of new skins, hairdos and clothes tat can be applied to your Sims. Most of these skins look rather good (without being too weird - that's what fan-sites are for). The designers tended to make Sims seem rather normal. The expansion contains new sets of tiles and wallpapers, which will let you create a theme house. For instance, you can create a Hawaiian, rave or country style home. Apart from the partying objects, you will find a lot of new chairs and tables, musical appliances, lights, etc.
The main focus of this expansion has been set on organizing parties. This has been made a bit easier by giving the phone a "throw party" option, which will automatically call all your Sim's acquaintances to the party. The catch is that you have to organize a party that will be interesting to all your guests, so that they stay and have fun, rather than rush towards the exit after fifteen minutes. This is the hard bit - maintain the party atmosphere and entertain the guests as much as you can.
You can make a room with enormous loudspeakers, podium, light-effects and a live band, or have a DJ with two turntables. Even with all this, you may find Sims being bored and wondering around your house, so you'll have to provide them with sufficient food and drinks to keep them from doing that. It would also be prudent to provide them with some place to sit when they get tired from dancing and standing (inflatable sofas are a cheap and efficient solution to this). You can also hire male or female entertainers (girls in cages, rrrr), you can perform slapsticks, let them just dance on the podium, sing or tell scary stories by the camp-fire, make fireworks, wear silly costumes and use a contraption for making bubbles.
The game will let you hire a maid or a caterer, who would take care of the provisions and clean up after the party, but they can also be useful for preparing food if you have a really big family. Any of your Sims can assume the role of the DJ, but you can also make him a barman which will make him even more popular as he will get a chance to talk to almost all characters at the party that way. Mimes and celebrities (TV star, for example) sometimes appear on interesting parties, and that will automatically increase the number of popularity points of your Sims. Flirting with celebrities has also been done in a becoming way.
One of the most interesting and funnies novelties is the Bucking Bronco - the mechanical riding bull. Sims riding this contraption get a little bit stronger, which can help them in pursue of some career, but you also have to watch that they don't fall of it (the thing has three speeds) as this severely affects their fun stat, and if they fall several times, they will simply leave the party, ruining the fun factor of everyone else present.
All the aforementioned objects will improve your party, but there is one thing, typical for most parties, missing - there is no spirits. I never saw any of the Sims getting drunk and imbarising themselves however hard I tried to make them do so. This feature was probably omitted, as it would cause some controversial criticism, so that the only thing you will be able to serve on your parties will be beer and juice.
The fun factor in The Sims: House Party did not change much since the original and the last expansion pack. Watching the little Sims perform all sorts of things and having fun is still appealing. Playability did not change, and all the novelties only increased replay value and playing time for this gaming veteran.
The possibility of having a lot of Sims at the same place, the mechanical riding bull, and the bubble machine :-)
The fireworks tend to set an odd Sim on fire, same gameplay, and a same overall experience.
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