Computer Simulation Games Reviews Unleashed

Thursday, October 10, 2002 - 23:00

There are so many new things in "The Sims Unleashed" I could literally sit here all day and talk about it.

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As I was driving home with "The Sims Unleashed," I thought to myself, now why would I want to buy this game so I can clean out litter boxes when I hate doing it myself in real life. Maybe it's the lack of smell, or the fact that I don't really have to be close to the litter box that makes me not mind cleaning it so much. After all I'm not really cleaning it.

In case you haven't heard, "The Sims Unleashed" is the fifth expansion pack for "The Sims" and focuses on pets and their needs. Yes, I did say the fifth expansion pack. It amazes me each time they come out with a new one. When will it stop? I sure hope it doesn't.

"The Sims Unleashed" is jammed packed full of new features that long time fans will enjoy and have craved. After two years of "begging" Maxis has finally given our Sims pets, however pets are just part of the expansion pack.

"The Sims Unleashed" Community Lots & New Neighborhood Map

For the first time since the release of "The Sims" the neighborhood map has been modified. Instead of 10 lots the map now has 40 lots. The lots can then be zoned into community (more about them later) or residential lots. This was a much-needed change. Ten lots may have seemed like a lot at first, but most of mine were quickly filled with families.

You can now build on a residential lot before placing a family on it. That's right, no more "rosebudding" to get the money needed to experiment with wall placement. This is great news for simmers who love to build houses.

As I mentioned before, lots can now be zones as community or residential. The community lots offer a few choices of activities. The Maxis created lots concentrate on the new additions in "Sims Unleashed." Similar to "Hot Date", community lots offer Sims a place to eat and chat with neighbors. Buy a pastry and listen to the songs of W.C. Friendly.

The community lots are not just for socializing. One lot caters to gardeners. There you can buy seeds and sell crops. Other lots focus on the pets. The adoption center is on a large lot, and has just about everything you need for your pets. There you can adopt a variety of pets (birds, cats, dogs, iguanas), and purchase treats and collars.

Visiting community lots is a family affair even the pets go! Luckily, the provided community lots have objects to keep pets happy - beds, food, toys, and litter boxes. To me this is a bit odd. Perhaps I would bring my dog with me, but traveling with a cat? Unlikely. However, there is an important lot you should take your pet(s) to. The park has pet shows, where your pet can earn an award. You and your pet have to work hard training and be in good moods to win an award. Buy a cabinet to show off the trophies your pets win.


To be honest, I was more excited about the gardening features thean having pets. Gardening not only is a way to make money, but it is a way to provide food for the family. I haven't worked out the figures, but it seems taking care of a garden is more cost-effective then buying from the fridge.

Of course, we couldn't just have our gardens, water them a few times, and have tasty veggies. With gardens come rabbits and gophers. Gophers love to dig holes, while the rabbits like to eat the carrots. A scarecrow is available to help keep them away, but whenever I used one, they weren't effective.

Another interesting tidbit is when a dog pees on a garden plot, you don't have to water that plot for the day. I had one dog that regularly hung around the garden, and peed on a lot of plots while the Sim was tending to the garden.


When I saw preview screenshots of the pets, I immediately didn't like the graphics. As I hoped the screenshots just didn't do the pets justice, and they really do look nice in the game. The pets fit in quite nicely with the Sims.

The pets are adorable. They watch TV, play tag with each other, fetch the newspaper, and for the most part take care of their own needs. The art for the pet objects are very well done. A few pet beds are included in the new objects. Of course, like real life pets, buy them a bed and they still sleep on the floor.

The whole family will have to go to the Adoption Center to buy a pet. You'll have a chance to play with a cat or dog. Once you've made your decision to buy a pet, you'll have the option of male or female, name, and your choice of colors. You do not have to buy the pet shown at the store. Instead of you have the option of buying a pet with any pet skin you may have.

To get outside pets open the door all by themselves. This I find hilarious. Why? Because it is unrealistic. Yes, this is just a game, but a cat opening a door. I would have preferred replacing the back door with one that had a pet door.

While outside pets can play together, sleep in a doghouse, eat, socialize with strays, or simply run around. Yes, I did say strays. My houses seem to attract an enormous amount of visitors. The strays will beg for food and pee on the sidewalk. Strays aren't the only ones making a mess in your yard. Raccoons will come by, and play in your trash.

Pets, like Sims have to work to improve themselves. Dogs can be trained to jump, and cats to dance. Dogs, unlike cats, will have to be housebroken. Don't worry, it only takes ten times of scolding them for peeing on the floor before they figure out they need to go outside.

Cats and dogs may get most of the attention, but birds, fish, iguanas, and turtles can be adopted too. Cats actually really like having birds around. They enjoy climbing up on the cage and harassing them, and sometimes eating them. You have four options with parrots and cockatoos - fill food, dance, talk, and feed cracker. Sims are responsible for cleaning the cage and feeding them as well.


There are so many new things in "The Sims Unleashed" I could literally sit here all day and talk about it. But I won't, because I'm sure by know you'll want to own a copy of the game yourself. As good as this expansion pack may seem (enhanced neighborhood screen, pets, new career tracks), it has its share of bugs. The ones I've encountered have not been bad enough to crash the game, or force me to restart. They are small annoying ones, like Sims not sitting to watch TV, and custom formal (pajamas, etc.) go back to the default when restarting the game. New objects, skins, more lots, and of course the pets are good reasons to own this one.

- Courtney Marchelletta


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