reviews\ Apr 12, 2001 at 8:00 pm

The Sims House Party Expansion Pack - PC - Review

It’s a homeowner’s worst nightmare. You let a mime into the house, and he won’t leave!

Why let a mime enter in the first place? Well, the party was lagging, and it seemed like one idea to liven it up.  That was the first in a series of miscues that have your Sim depressed, tuckered out and alienating those folks he or she calls neighbors.

Yep, it’s another add-on for the incredibly popular The Sims series; this one is called House Party Expansion Pack, from Maxis and Electronic Arts for the PC. This is the product that Sims’ players have been waiting for – the opportunity to get Sims together in social gatherings on a frequent basis. Actually the only deterrents to partying all the time are comfort points, energy levels, work schedules and NPC Sims that sometimes don’t like to be called late at night

There are three new architectural styles in this game, all based on party themes. Imagine hosting your own luau with a Polynesian motif; or perhaps you are more into the country swing of things – in that case, a dude ranch, complete with mechanical bull, might be the type of party you are interested in throwing; maybe your tastes run more to New Wave, and you therefore choose to hold your party in an underground dance club.

In addition to the new architecture, there are new furniture pieces and accessories to help create that party atmosphere. There is a big cake, with a surprise inside ready to jump out, and you can hire a caterer so your character can enjoy the party without the bother of working too hard. New costumes, from Robin Hood to wild cowboy garb and togas are all available, and there are new music tracks to create the atmosphere.

This product has one very simple goal – create more social situations for your neighborhoods of Sims to get together and socialize. It succeeds very well at that. The problems still come back to what the original program is all about – time and financial management. House Party is geared to getting Sims together, but when you micromanage the lives of one or more Sims in a house, finding the time to do just that is hard. You have to keep an eye on the Sim’s life meters, and make sure that energy and comfort levels are running high before tackling the ominous task of holding a party. And if you throw a really successful party, perhaps the biggest The Sims’ fan of all (Drew Carey) will walk into your Sims’ home and hang out. At least that is the rumor.

For those who have never played The Sims, the game is a wacky look at everyday life in an accelerated time setting. You have to develop characters, and – in the live mode – tell them when to do everything, from eating to visiting the bathroom, bathing and just sitting down to take a load off. The program has been a top seller since its debut last year. The House Party expansion disk is the second expansion pack for the game. The first, Livin’ Large, added new jobs, building sites, items, characters and neighborhoods. House Party has sidestepped the issue of new jobs, opting instead to enhance the social aspects of everyday life.

This program is rated for Teens due to comic mischief, mature sexual themes, and mild animated violence. It requires The Sims original game to play.


Install: Medium.
This can be a slight pain. If you had The Sims on your computer, and even had the Livin’ Large expansion pack, you have to reinstall both those programs in the order mentioned before you can install the House Party Expansion Pack. The programs have to be installed in a specific order.

Gameplay: 9.
House Party enhances the social elements of the original game; therefore some of the flaws of that title have to be overlooked when it comes to this expansion pack. Judged on its own merits, House Party definitely adds more flavor to the game.

Graphics: 9.
The new elements, like the bubble machine, are very nice. Even that get together around the campfire is an extremely pleasant, and well-rendered, addition to the game.

Sound: 8.5.
The new musical tracks are very good, giving this game added life in the audio department.

Difficulty: 9.
There are just not enough hours in the day to tend to all the needs a growing Sim has, and still throw a first-class party. But then that is the key to the game. It if was easy, it wouldn’t be as much fun.

Concept: 9.
House Party focuses on the social element of Sims’ lives, and expands that aspect of the game rather well.

Multiplayer: N/A.
Unless, of course, you consider the legions of fans and Web sites devoted to this game. But that is not really a multiplayer game.

Overall: 9.
House Party has some extremely fun features that enhance The Sims’ gaming experience. It is lively, bright and a lot more fun to see Sims interacting in large social gatherings. This product successfully advances the storyline of the original program.


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