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Shannen's Heap o'Random Babblings

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How much is that doggie in the window...
chris fall by rainbowkisses31
shannenb
OK, as promised, my initial review of The Sims: Unleashed



First off, this is a *huge* game. It's the only Sims game that requires two discs. I don't know how well it would run on my system (1000megahertz processor, 512MB RAM) if I were running all the expansion packs. I'm currently running all of them except Vacation--I own Vacation, but I wasn't a big huge fan of it, so I'm not running it now. Eventually, when I'm ready to do a complete Sims reinstall, I'll probably add it in.

So anyway, I was shocked to see a two disc game in here.However, there are some benefits to the large size of the game. Maxis has thoughtfully included some of the more popular items and skins available from The Sims.com for you to use--stuff like the House Party Potty Pack and mistletoe for some Christmas kissin'. It seems kinda redundant, as I can't believe there are a lot of Sims players who aren't online and able to get this stuff, but it does save you the time of going to get it, so it was a nice touch.

As for the features of the game:

Career Tracks Apparently, there are some new career tracks in this game, including jobs in Animal Care, Culinary, Circus, Fashion, and Education. However, I use the money cheat, so I can't tell you too much about these, as my Sims don't have jobs.

Pets

This is the big thing in this expansion--the pets. You have to go to the new town section (called Old Towne) and adopt one from the pet adoption center...only you adopt it by paying $399 for it. ;-) But you can choose from all different cats and dogs--there is about a dozen or so. And from what I've heard, if you can make skins for the people, you can make skins for the pets. I didn't have a need, as both Scotties and my cat's breed were represented.

The game did have a glitch when it came to adopting the pets. I sent Martha and Clark to Old Towne, but they were unable to adopt a pet--they could just play with them in the store. So I gave up and went to the Sims website to see if anyone else was having this problem, and apparently nobody was. I then decided to send Bo into town for some seeds (more on that later) and Martha and Clark tagged along (in their PJs...more on that later too) and they were able to adopt a pet with no problem, as was the Luthor family as well. So I'm not sure if it was a glitch, or if your entire household has to be present before you can adopt a pet.

So the Kents have added Scruffy(a blue merle Australian Shepard looking dog) and Maxie (a Siamese cat) to their household, while Lex has added Bertie (a black Scottie) and Jinxs (a Himalayan cat) to his house.

Also at the pet adoption center, you can purchase birds (the parrot talks to you) fish, turtles, lizards, etc, if you're into that thing. There's also an organ grinder complete with monkey, but you cna't adopt the monkey. You can also purchase treats, toys, and leashes/collars for your pets here as well.

Once you get your pet home, you'll need to housetrain them. You do this by either praising them when they go in the right place, or scolding them when they go in the wrong place. I had some glitches here too--in the Kent household, Maxie peed on the living room rug, and when Clark went to scold her after the fact, it wouldn't allow him to then clean up the pee. So, the Kents had a pee puddle in their house for a while, although when I quit out of the game, it disappeared.

Housetraining the puppies takes a little more patience, as they'll go while you're asleep. You just have to try to catch them when they are going. Once you praise them at a spot, they will continue to use that same spot. Scruffy Kent is going out in the garden, while Lex has made a mis-step with Bertie Luthor. If your pet goes outside in the grass, there will be nothing to clean up...but Lex made the mistake of thinking the patio was outside(it's not, as a puddle is left there)so now he'll have to start scolding Bertie instead of praising him for going to the bathroom next to the pool.

In the Buy section (Misc stuff) you will find pet supplies, such as food dishes, kitty litter boxes (which the cats seem to use automatically, although you or your maid or your Servo have to clean it out)beds, etc, as well as some perks like scratching posts. If you have a doghouse (also purchased in the Buy section) your dog will most likely sleep outside in it. The cats (or at least mine)have a tendancy to sleep on the floor, *dreaming* about their cat beds rather than sleeping in them. I know--who can understand cats?

The pets do serve a purpose--just like Livin' Large came with those pesky random roach infestations, Unleashed comes with occasional pests such as mice, racoons, and rabbits. Your pets will help scare these away, as well as take care of some other pests (during a roach outbreak, Maxie stomped the roaches herself.) You'll also get visitors in the form of strays--if you develop a relationship with these pets, they'll stay around, but sometimes it's a bit too much...Martha patted a stray, and the next day there were all kinds of random dogs and cats in the kitchen, eating the pet food. So, you might wanna shoo those away. You can train your dog to chase them off as well.

Speaking of training, how do you do it? It seems there are two ways. You can send your dog to the trainer (who is at the pet center) to be trained, or you can do it yourself. Your pets will only learn one trick at a time, and once they've mastered it, a new trick for them to learn will be added, in addition to the tricks they already know.

Old Towne
Old Town is pretty cool--for the first time, you can see the sections from your neighborhood screen, so it looks like a larger neighborhood. Similar to Hot Date, the Old Towne is divided into sections..one section featuring a farmers market (where you can buy and sell your veggies and seeds), a section featuring a cafe, a park where you can take your pets, etc, etc. You get there by cab, only this one looks like a trolly car. One thing that is annoying about it, however, is that you can't seem to slip away alone. In hot Date, you can call a cab and take off for downtown alone, but in Unleashed, if you call the cab, your whole household will go with you. This is how Bo went to get seeds, and ended up with a PJ clad Martha and Clark tagging along--I didn't dress them because I didn't think they would all go. You can still just invite one member to go with you, however, same as you do in Hot Date.

Gardening

The other thing this game offers is the ability to garden. You can buy seeds in town, then plant them and grow your own veggies to either eat or sll. The seeds were sort of expensive, but you seem to get anough to plant several plots of land, so it balances out. You can plant tomatoes, carrots, lettuce, and green beans. You'll need to go into the Build section, then into the landscape section, to purchase plots of dirt for you to plant your seeds...then you water them and watch them grow.

Since the Kents are on a farm, of course they need to have a garden. Let me tell you--if TV's Bo Kent farms anything like Sim's Bo Kent, no wonder the Kent farm is about to go under. Bo went out, planted about three plots of tomatoes, then started panting and wiping his brow, and I thought he was gonna have a heart attack right there in the middle of the garden. And out of his three plots, only one is growing. Way to go Bo. Even in Simsville, he's still an asshat. So anyway, the lesson is, be rested before planting.

Anyway, those are some of my first impressions. Some of this stuff was kinda hard to find and get down--it's the first Sims game where I kind of saw the point of buying the manual. But I'm too cheap to do that, so I'd suggest checking in at the Sims.com's BBS for a few days--the game just came out, so people are reporting bugs and solving problems together there.

But overall, it's a fun game...the puppies are cute, and the cats are kinda amusing.

Oh, and for those people (Nash, perhaps) who were thinking about getting into the Sims, might I suggest that you pick up The Sims:Deluxe Edition? See, unlike those of us chumps who spent $49.99 on the Sims, then spent $29.99 on Livin' Large (the one with the love beds), you can now purchase the Deluxe Edition (which contains both The Sims and Livin' Large, plus some extra perks like Sims Creator) for one low price. It's in the stores for $49.99, but Best Buy has it on sale right now for $39.99, and hell...Amazon.com has it for $29.99--at that price, it's like getting The Sims (the $49.99 game) for free. Sheesh...there's just no excuse (other than a slow computer) for not having the Sims now. ;-)