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How to get a Megalopolis with Sim City (SNES)

I decided this month I would take a break from the news and play some video games instead. Finally, after owning the game for nearly a decade, I have reached the level of “Megalopolis” with Sim City for the SNES. Few people do actually reach this level, for some it is easy, for others it seems virtually impossible.

Click here to see my Megalopolis. There is also an image of the city towards the bottom of this page.

You can use the “Freeland” located in the scenarios (once you beat them all) which has no water; however, you do not get any prizes. (So no trophy after all of your hard work) My suggestion is to use landform 61 which supposedly has the least amount of water.

Start the game on easy. The first and most important tip is to use the million dollar code as well as the game genie code for “most items don’t use money.” In reality, all the game genie code will do is keep you from having to re-use the money code as often. However, there is a flaw in either the game genie or the game itself which causes money to depreciate very rapidly after so many hours of play. To correct this error, simply switch off the game genie for a moment, and then continue about your business.

note: all of the codes and a list of which gifts benefit which zones is listed at the very bottom below the picture of my megalopolis

The second tip is to keep in mind that simply filling the map up with zones and expecting people to just move in will most likely not work. It never worked for me at least. This game is about development and balance, and by building rapidly at the beginning will upset the balance and will not give you the best results. Be conservative in your building, don’t build a football stadium until they demand it, and don’t build a seaport or airport until it’s required. Play the game like you didn't enter the million dollar code and try to keep a somewhat balanced budget initially.

Now, once you have used the money code you are ready to begin building. Start out watching the demand bars very carefully. Be patient and build slowly. Since you have a million dollars, just keep the tax rate at a low enough level that it is not listed in the worst problems section of the “City Evaluation” sheet.

Start your city over on the upper right corner of the map, but decently close to the water.

Build your industrial zones toward the outer edge where land values are lower, and keep them spread far enough apart that the radii of pollution do not touch AT ALL. Keeping pollution low keeps your people happy.

Use rail instead of road, even though the game will bug you about this, it ultimately will not matter and this will keep pollution in check. Also, use nuclear power plants instead of coal power plants, as they produce zero pollution.

Build your residential and commercial zones closer to the water where land values are slightly higher on this part of the map, but don’t spread things out TOO much as you will have to build more and more PD’s and FD’s.

Build Police Departments every few blocks or so, enough to keep the zones in the “red” on the map, but not too many as more PD’s will always come out of your budget at the end of the year. Fire departments are important, but not as important as PD’s so as long as there is at least minimal coverage you will have no problem.

As far as actual layout goes for the city, start on the far right as I said earlier, and build your nuclear power plant there. I recommend building all power plants along the left, right, and bottom sides of the map, especially since you are spacing out industrial zones, these power plants can be spaced between. Since these power plants are bigger than regular zones it would also make sense to place Sea Ports and Air Ports “lined up” with them.

Zone Placement 101:

There are two sound methods to building these cities, and some people argue one or the other, but I’m a politically hybrid animal, and my politics will be mirrored in my city planning. Therefore, we will be using BOTH the famed “Donut-building” method as well as the “Column” method. Using both allows us to have the necessary amount of TOP zones as well as the compact use of scare land resources available.

A quick-and-dirty review of the methods: The block zone structure involves creating a 3x3 “donut” with a hole in the middle for special prizes. This allows for the maximum land value increase using prizes. I recommend using the block structure along water-fronts and toward the center of the map where land values are much higher. Note: as you develop more and more, replace the PD’s and FD’s with the respective HQ’s you receive as gifts near your high-value sites, this will further increase their value and boost growth.

For everything else, use the column method. This involves creating two by two columns that run from top to bottom (or side to side) of the screen. You can see from the picture how this is efficient.

This hybrid method of using these techniques is essential to reaching the Megalopolis stage. And think ahead of how you are going to lay out your design before you build so that you don’t have to plow over a whole set of zones later on. Keep in mind, that there will be some unused land on the edges where power plants, football stadiums, etc. are located.

Reducing Pollution 101:

Everyone knows that spacing out industrial zones and using nuclear instead of coal power reduces pollution. What I didn’t know until the last time I played the game was that you could reduce pollution by crashing your planes into airports and sea ports, and leaving, for example, one little square. (1/9th the size of a typical zone) This will drastically reduce the public complaints about pollution, and will save up that much more space for other things. The best thing about it is that your airports and sea ports will function exactly the same.

To do this for the airport is simple, just build an airport and put ten or more FD’s around it (temporarily) then the instant you see a plane take off, cause a plane crash. Once the FD’s clean up the mess you will have a much more environmentally-friendly airport. This is how I managed having two airports in my Megalopolis.

Doing this for the seaport is more difficult, but if you build it closer to the airport, then it shouldn’t be too hard to get a plane to crash into it. You could just try building a bunch of seaports and FD’s and try crashing the plane a few times and pick the most demolished one.

Free Gifts 101:

What about the gifts you get for having roads in a city where there are no roads? Simple, build a bunch of road you don’t need at a point in the game where you need to build lots of residential zones, and earn yourself some free gifts. I recommend selecting the Amusement Parks as they do not increase crime like Casinos do and they also attract more residents to the nearby zones.(bulldoze the roads once youve gotten your prizes)

Patience is a virtue. Start slowly, and only build when necessary. Initially, you should have one residential zone for each commercial or industrial zone, but let your residential zones develop before adding more. Commercial zones are of less importance in this game, but we will only decrease the relative number of commercial zones added as we reach and surpass Metropolis level.

If you take your time and allow zones to develop fully before adding more of the same kind, you will discover that you can reach the Metropolis level with a relatively small amount of zones. (what appears to be less than 1/5 of the map with developed zones on it) In fact, most of the top zones in the upper-right quadrant of the map were the only zones I had when I reached metropolis (not counting industrial zones)

Eventually as you reach higher levels, however, you will find that more residential zones are necessary, and instead of an even number of all zones, you will have a larger increase in residential zones. This will fluctuate, however as the cities economy goes through booms and recessions. (This is for the most part out of your control)

Ultimately you should have twenty or so donut blocks, mostly residential, and closer to the water and the center of the map, surrounded on the upper side by commercial donuts. (seeing as you receive about twenty land-value increasing gifts, PHq’s and FHq’s aside)

For my city, once I got to Metropolis, I added a second airport and a second seaport. (Following the rules in Pollution 101) I still had low pollution complaints even up to 2010 when my population was over 300,000 because my industrial zones were spread out across the edges of the map and because of how I “modified” my airports and seaports, nowhere on the map was pollution above the low “green” mark.

But as you can see from my 2010 City Evaluation was that growth was slow. My city hit a plateau around 300,000 and the only way I could achieve growth would be to add more industrial zones, and thus create a pollution problem.

I found that at this point, commercial zones were no longer doing much good to add, and that it was time to give up my tree hugging instinct and become a republican. I also broke my own rule and added hundreds of industrial zones, packing them close together, and bulldozing industrial zones so that I could pack them as tightly as possible.

You can see from the 2043 city evaluation that I was not as popular as I was in 2010, I had lost a few TOP zones, and pollution was out of hand, but there were lots of jobs and lots of people. This technique should bring your population from 300,000 to over 400,000.

After going on your industrial binge, make sure you have left enough room for more residential zones, because there will come a point when the demand for industrial zones will subside, and if you don’t catch this decline with added residential zones you will be in trouble.

Final Megalopolis Statistics, You can see the large number of Industrial Zones that were added, previously they were below the number of Residential Zones.

Following this, you will slow down your zone adding, making sure you have left room for improvement, and replacing any undeveloped industrial zones with commercial zones. (sparingly) This will allow for the population to “catch up” as well as keep your approval ratings high. (a busy mayor is a good mayor) At this point you should have something on the scale of 450,000 people. You will also have a large portion of the map covered in “red” for the high pollution. Don’t worry; just keep crime down and add zones as necessary. At this point the game seemed to go almost on auto-pilot, with me just adding a zone here or a zone there, and the population kept rising (with me saving every time it went up another 10,000)

This should get you to Megalopolis no problem, just remember while you are playing that the most important ideas behind this game are development, city planning, and problem solving.

Free money code, game genie code, and a list of which prizes benefit which zones.

Money code:

Use up all of your cash. (make sure you have built at least one thing which requires funding and that auto-budget is OFF) When the budget comes up, hold L, drop the Trans, Fire, and Police funding to zero. Move the curser over "Go with these figures" and tap "x" twice. Now exit back out, while still holding L. Return to the budget screen and raise the Fire, Police, and Trans funding levels back to 100% and exit. Go back to the main screen and release L. You will now have a million bucks.

Game Genie code:

C28A-AD61

Money doesn't decrease for most types of spending - remember, there is a glitch in the game which causes money to decrease rapidly after several hours of play. To correct it when it happens, just switch off the game genie for a moment.

DO NOT use the "speed up time" genie code, this inadvertently changes other things in the game and makes it very hard to reach a Megalopolis.

Gift Placement:

Your House: Residential Zones

Police HQ: Near high-value zones

Fire HQ: Near high-value zones

Train Station: Near high-value Commercial zones

Windmill: Residential (or commercial)

Expo: Industrial

Amusement Park: Residential

Casino: Don't get it

Fountain: Commercial Areas

Land fill: on the water

Ciy Park: Residential or Commercial

Library: Residential

Bank: Commercial

Zoo: Residential

Mario Statue: Anywhere