SimCity 3000 Unlimited is the newest and final edition of the Maxis/Electronic Arts worldbuilding simulator SimCity 3000. Released in 2000, SC3kU is not an update or patch to the previous version, but it instead an all-new software package that operates independently of the former version. This new version (also known as SimCity 3000 World Version in foreign markets) includes all the fun of SimCity 3000 plus some new depth and added features.

One of the most obvious additions to the game is the concept of localization. Cities can now be built on red rock, jungle trees, waterfalls, and other new terrains. Furthermore, terrain can be edited before the actual construction of a city begins. Included in the building construction list are a set of new buildings that share Asian and European themes, such as dojos and castle architecture.

Four new disasters are included along with SC3k's existing set. Now your Sims will have to watch out for locusts, burning space debris (which rains down on the city Armageddon-style), toxic clouds, and a whirlpool. The plague of locusts can be defeated with the new cropdusting tool (borrowed from SimFarm, no doubt).

The popular scenarios have returned. Thirteen cities desperately need your help, such as Berlin which is ready to reunite or a Frankfurt that wants to party. Ranging in difficulty, each scenario includes several challenges that must be overcome in a limited time span. Some of these cities cannot be paused! If the existing scenarios are easy stuff, then players can use the built-in Scenario Creator to construct their own custom levels. These scenarios can then be swapped to anyone else with a copy of the game. As if all of this wasn't exciting enough, Maxis threw in the Building Architect Plus utility so that players and designers can create their own custom buildings for use in the game. Just like the custom scenarios, these buildings can be shared with other mayors.

One thing to note: buildings and scenarios created for SC3kU are incompatible with the classic SimCity 3000, although terrains and cities can be loaded with either version.

With the new SimCity 4 stealing all the glory these days, many stores have placed SC3kU on discount to clear the shelves before the new version hits. In December 2002 I found a new copy at Best Buy for $15 (marked down from $50). I recommend the title to all Sim-fans out there. Don't miss out on the fun that is SimCity 3000 Unlimited.