hide results

    Top Zoning/Donut Building FAQ by Cyan of Doma

    Version: 1.2 | Updated: 07/19/07 | Search Guide | Bookmark Guide

    SNES SimCity Donut Building/Top Zoning FAQ/Guide by Saint Cyan
    Version 1.1
    II.Choosing a good map
    III.Learning the donut building technique
    IV.Top Zoning
    V.Getting Started
    VI.Gifts and Strategy
    VII.Cheats and Secrets
    I. Pretext
    Well this will be my 3rd FAQ, so bear with me on that one.  I have seen
    several other great FAQ/guides for this old game, but none address the
    issues I will cover here.  Motivation for this FAQ comes from a new
    discovery I found that enables all gifts used for the donut building
    method to gain full potential.  I also rarely see anybody discussing this
    game anymore, but with its re-release for the Wii virtual console I am
    hopeful it will regain some popularity.  Please remember that this guide
    is not 100 percent accurate, nor is it completed so there will be plenty
    of updates to come.
    (i). Version History
    FAQ was accepted.  Version 1.1 update completed, fixed up some repeating
    text, minor format errors.  Added Disaster/strategy subsection.  Version
    1.2 update completed, added solving city issues subsection, minor updates
    all over.
    II. Choosing a good map
    There are about 2000 maps you can choose from to start building your
    city, most of them are not well suited for building a Megalopolis sized
    city, due to the amount and layout of the water.  I will list the top
    2 maps for buidling a huge city.  They are map number 061 and 137.  For
    more information on maps you can check Webgraphics excellent Best Map
    FAQ here at gamefaqs.  Those 2 are the best bar none though.  Keep in
    mind that you want a map with a good chunk of land in the center of the
    map.  Maps with large amounts of water in the middle are going to hurt
    the higher population density normally found there.  Do not choose one
    of the island maps.  While you do have the entire center of the map to
    work with, you will never have enough room to reach 500,000 population.
    III. Learning the donut building technique
    Okay, if your reading this, you most likely know how to do it.  However
    I will go into detail for those playing the game for the first time.
    This method of building uses Residential and Commercial zones in patterns
    of 8, forming a square with an open spot for gifts, parks, or police/fire
    departments.  Here is an example, each letter represents a zone, the T
    represents train tracks, P represents police department.  Here is a link
    to a screenshot of mine that shows the donut build so you get a better
    idea.  Also I will show you how to build your Stadium in the pattern.  S
    will represent the Stadium zone.
    ~~~~~~~~T RRR T RRR T CCC T SSR T~~~~~~~~
    ~~~~~~~~T RPR T RPR T CPC T SSR T~~~~~~~~
    ~~~~~~~~T RRR T RRR T CCC T RRR T~~~~~~~~
    Now, this is the basic method, notice no Industrial zones, Ill show you
    how to place them when getting started in section number V.  Now that
    you know how to donut build, its time to learn how to maximize its full
    IV. Top Zoning
    This is the best part of the guide.  Here you will learn the secret to
    top zoning, a method that I believe I was the first to discover, or at
    least the first one to put it out there to the public.  Using this as
    your strategy you can unlock the full potential of your gifts, spread
    out your land value to even the edges of the map and everything in
    between!  The following link is a land value map.  This shows the full
    potential of the top zoning method, possibly the perfected one I have
    finally achieved.  Once you have confirmed that you locked in the top
    zoning pattern, your land value map should be somewhat similar to this
    This is so far the best city I have made land value wise.  The 6x5 rows
    of top zones were tough to work in and keep enough industry, but the
    total number of I zones is actually very low for a Megalopolis sized
    city.  This shows the true potential of the top zoning method, leaving
    you more space for R and C zones, and nice visual impact with all the
    tops you have.
    (i). The Top Zoning Method
    Now, the first thing to remember when trying to start a successful top
    zoning pattern is to save just before you place your first gift, so you
    can find where to place the gift for its maximum potential.  I will show
    you how to get started on this in the next section, here we will only
    review how to tell if you have a successful top zone pattern.
    (ii). The First Few Gifts
    Once you receive your first gift, most likely the Mayors House, do NOT
    place it yet.  I HIGHLY suggest that you instead spend all your cash to
    get the Bank gift, then use the money code(see cheats/secrets section)
    so you can build freely.  I usually build about 3 donuts, 2 residential
    1 Commercial, and add parks or PDs in the center.  Make sure all the
    conditions are perfect for growth, by this time you will probably have
    the citizens demanding a fire department and stadium, build them.
    (iii). Finding the High Land Value
    Now, with your Bank and House gifts, pick one of your Commercial donut
    block zones to place the Bank in the center of.  Now this is crucial,
    build a few more industrial zones to spark growth right after you place
    the Bank.  Wait for a few minutes, then check your land value map.  If
    the donut block around the bank, meaning all 8 zones appears to be a red
    or orange square, then you are well on your way to a successful pattern!
    If it is not a fully orange or red square, but only a small rectangle,
    then you should start over and place your donuts differently.  Now, if
    all 8 zones end up being high land value C zones, the next step is to
    build another donut block of R zones beside/above/underneath the high
    land value one.  Then construct another donut block, but on the same
    line as your high land value donut block.  Here is an example.  B is
    the bank zone.  H will be the house gift.  Remember that your pattern
    of placing a gift in every other donut block zone MUST NEVER CHANGE,
    even if it is just a single space off, it will not work correctly.
    So be careful when your trying to continue your pattern over the water
    to another landform.
    ~~~~~~~~T RRR T RRR T CCC T~~~~~~~~
    ~~~~~~~~T RHR T RPR T CBC T~~~~~~~~
    ~~~~~~~~T RRR T RRR T CCC T~~~~~~~~
    (iv). Finding the Top Zoning Pattern
    Once again, wait for a bit and check your land value map.  If this zone
    also appears to be a full red or orange square, and the R zones all end
    up being high value, then the Top Zoning pattern has been set!  If you
    continue to build in this pattern, either by horizontal or vertical
    means, every other donut block of zones with a gift in the center WILL
    end up in all top zones, just make sure not to lose any kind of growth,
    be it by disaster or bad planning.  By using this pattern, you can not
    only bring high land value to the edges of the map, you also get better
    land values in between each block of zones with gifts and a completely
    balanced city!  All that plus you can be certain your gift placement
    will never fall victim to poor growth or land value!  Planning ahead
    also becomes easier, as you have your set pattern and can visualize how
    you want to spread out your zones.  The house gift seems to not spark
    the high land value of say, the Zoo or most other residential gifts.
    To be certain you have locked in the top zoning pattern, build another
    donut block of zones in the same pattern/row and place another gift in
    the correct spot.  If this gift gives you the full orange/red square
    for the land value map, and is on the same row as your bank/house, then
    you can be certain the top zoning patten has worked.  Even if the house
    only appears as a smaller rectangle, as long as the other 2 top zones
    are in line and follow the pattern perfectly, the R zones around the
    house WILL eventually all reach tops.
    (v). Space Rows
    The rows of zones in between your top zones are what I have come to
    call "Space Rows".  For donut blocks in these rows, you should try to
    always place a PD in the center of the block.  This will keep crime low
    and also help even out your police radius.  An exception to this are
    the blocks of zones that lie along the hidden cross of the map, which
    I will cover next.  These rows of zones will not have the growth and
    high land value of the other, top zoned rows unless they are near the
    center of the map.  Late in the game some of these zones will not see
    any development at all, carefully place I zones in these areas, but do
    not place too many.  Here is a good example, T is tracks, R is reside-
    ntial, C is commercial, I is industrial, P is police department, G is
    gift, N is for non developed zone, S is for the space row, Z is for
    the top zoning row.  Sometimes you will find that you have 1 or 2 gift
    zones left once you have fully completed the top zoning pattern.  Place
    these gifts near the center of the map, or between 2 of your top zone
    Z~~~~~~~T RRR T CCC T RRR T~~~~~~~Z
    Z~~~~~~~T RGR T CPC T RGR T~~~~~~~Z
    Z~~~~~~~T RRR T CCC T RRR T~~~~~~~Z
    S~~~~~~~T RRR T RNR T RRR T~~~~~~~S
    S~~~~~~~T RPR T NPN T RPR T~~~~~~~S
    S~~~~~~~T RRR T NNR T RRR T~~~~~~~S
    Z~~~~~~~T CCC T RRR T RRR T~~~~~~~Z
    Z~~~~~~~T CGC T RPR T RGR T~~~~~~~Z
    Z~~~~~~~T CCC T RRR T RRR T~~~~~~~Z
    So, what I would do here, since that center block of zones isnt doing
    well is.....
    Z~~~~~~~T RRR T CCC T RRR T~~~~~~~Z
    Z~~~~~~~T RGR T CPC T RGR T~~~~~~~Z
    Z~~~~~~~T RRR T CCC T RRR T~~~~~~~Z
    S~~~~~~~T RRR T RIR T RRR T~~~~~~~S
    S~~~~~~~T RPR T IPI T RPR T~~~~~~~S
    S~~~~~~~T RRR T CIR T RRR T~~~~~~~S
    Z~~~~~~~T CCC T RRR T RRR T~~~~~~~Z
    Z~~~~~~~T CGC T RPR T RGR T~~~~~~~Z
    Z~~~~~~~T CCC T RRR T RRR T~~~~~~~Z
    By placing those I zones exactly in that way, they will not affect the
    higher land value top zones, since the pollution output will be just
    shy of those high value zones.  This also might even spark new growth
    in the area, as the R zones are closer to the I zones, meaning new job
    growth and shorter commute time for the citizens in the area.
    (vi). The Land Value Cross
    Lastly, another thing worthy of note.  You know how when you scroll on
    the map a small box appears with your location and map number in the
    upper right hand corner of the screen?  See the dotted cross there?  It
    is almost like an indicator of where zones can have the most potential.
    For the most part, the center of the map will have the best land value
    and growth.  However, if you build your donut blocks in line with that
    (cross) and use gifts, they will be much more likely to end up with tops.
    Look at the picture of a megalopolis city of mine in this link.
    Notice how the land value is higher along that (cross) of land that I
    built the zones along.  Keep this in mind when building your city.
    Section V. Getting Started
    First of all, I want to give you a general idea of how to get started.
    This does not have to be exactly the same as you plan to build, but it
    has worked out perfectly for me every time I use it.  Following these
    steps in order should be an easy way to get started.
    (i). Step by Step
    1.Choose your map, and use the easy setting for 20,000 starting cash.
    Build 2 nuclear power plants right next to each other, in the far corner
    of your map.  Set your taxes to 0 percent, and set the game speed to the
    lowest setting.
    2.Start building your industrial zones along the edge of the map, in a
    pattern similar to this one.  Keep in mind that space is key, try to
    keep the patterns even and as close as they can get with full rail
    coverage.  / will represent the edge of the map, N will represent the
    nuclear power plants.
    /II T
    /II T
    /II T
    /II T
    3.Start building your residential and commercial zones in the donut
    pattern, keeping them as close as you can to the industrial zones, but
    keep them at least 2/3 of a zone away from them, so the pollution does
    not harm their potential.  Also build a fire department and several
    police departments as needed.
    4.After you have 2 full residential, and 1 full commercial block, start
    hooking them up with power, along with your industrial zones and getting
    rails put up.  NEVER use roads, ever, until you are ready to obtain the
    Amusement Park or Casino gift, in which case you MUST build a long path
    of roads.  After you get the gift, bulldoze all the roads right away.
    5.By this time you should have at least 5 PD, 1 FD, 8-12 I zones, 16-20 R
    zones and 8-10 commercial zones.  Use up any remaining cash on parks, or
    whatever else you see fit.
    6.After you are certain everything has power and full rail/police radius,
    set the game speed to the higest setting.
    7.Your village should become a town, you get the mayor house gift.  This
    should happen no later than April.
    8.Your town should become a city, hopefully by November at the latest.
    You receive the Bank gift.
    9.Now is the time to use the money cheat code(see secrets section).  It
    should be used no later than December, so the budget/cheat will take its
    10.By January, you should have maximum cash, and 2 or more gifts to work
    with.  I do not recommend using the PDHQ gifts just yet.  Save them for
    later on when your building around the center of the map.  About this
    time the citizens will be demanding a stadium, build them one in an area
    designated for it.  You will need 2 more stadiums later, for the extra
    Zoo gift, but this one will ALWAYS remain in your city, or the citizens
    will demand it and your residential zones will suffer.
    11.Now is the time to save your game, and start trying out the Top Zoning
    method(see section IV).  If your attempts at top zoning are not working,
    then reset to this save, before you wasted your gifts, and try again.
    This should be plenty enough to get you started.  Now it is time that I
    started to elaborate on the general strategy of the game.  I will divide
    each section of strategy into each level of city you reach.  I will also
    elaborate on all kinds of strategy.
    VI. Gifts and Strategy
    First of all, we need to review the Gift Checklist.  Getting ALL of them
    is crucial in getting your city to a megalopolis.  I will display each
    gift, and how it is obtained.  I will also show you which zones will get
    the best benefits from placing that gift in the center of the donut block.
    Never place gifts close to industry zones!
    There are a total of 28 gifts you can obtain without cheating.  Get them
    all so you have full potential.  Landfills are not counted in that tally
    since the amount you get depends on the map you choose.  Here is the gift
    (i). Gift Checklist:
    Mayor House <-> Reach 2000 population <-> Residential
    Bank <-> Reach 10,000 population and use all of your money <-> Commercial
    Police HQ <-> Build 6, 12 and 18 PD to get all 3 <-> Residential
    Fire HQ <-> Build 6, 12 and 18 FD to get all 3 <-> Residential
    Zoo <-> 2 possible, build 1, then 2 more stadiums <-> Residential
    Amusement Park/Casino <-> 5 available, build a long stretch of rails for
    the first 2, then a long stretch of roads for the other 3 <-> Residential
    for Amusement Park, Commercial for Casino
    Library <-> 3 possible, depends on number of schools/hospitals <-> Resi-
    Expo <-> Build a seaport and airport <-> Commercial
    Train Station <-> 2 possible, build 50, then 250k of tracks <-> Commercial
    Windmill <-> 2 possible, fully develop 100, then 250 zones <-> Commercial
    City Park <-> 3 possible, build 300, 600, and 900 units of park <-> Both
    Mario Statue <-> Reach 500,000 population <-> Both
    Fountain <-> Play until the year 1950 <-> Both
    Landfill <-> Fully develop certain percentages of the map <-> Extra Land
    (ii). General Strategy
    Okay, now that we know how to get all the gifts, and where to place them,
    its time to move on to some general strategy.
    ~Watch the demand bars closely.  You want demand to be as high as possible
    when it comes to R and C zones.  I zone demand is almost always going to
    be very high, if you can manage to keep it low then start building as many
    R zones as possible until the demand increases for the I zones again.  If
    demand starts to decline for C zones, do not worry about it too much but
    try to build more R or I zones.  If demand for R zones starts to decline,
    then you want to quickly build I zones, and C zones to a lesser extent.
    You never want the R zone demand to be low, ever.
    ~Keep a close proximity between your PDs, residential and commercial zones.
    ~You want to keep your zone percentage balanced.  About 50-60 percent of
    the city should be residential, 15-20 percent commercial and 20-30 percent
    industrial when it is completely done.  Keep an eye on the demand gauge in
    the top right hand corner of the screen.  If they are all above the RCI
    letters, build more of those zones.  If below then build more of the other
    types of zones.  Those percentages DO NOT include other types of zones.
    ~Power Plants are important, you should never need any more than 12 unless
    you are zone stacking(see cheats/secrets section).  Build them all touching
    each other, along the corner/edge of the map.  Placing a 13th one could be
    useful if you have a very large amount of zones.
    ~Keep a close eye on your maps and voice menus.  Never go too long without
    taking a look at them.
    ~Build your Airport and Seaport in the corners of the map, or an isolated
    area.  They put out alot of pollution.
    ~Save often!  If you are hit with a disaster in the middle of your build,
    and did not save for awhile, your going to hate yourself for not saving
    more often.
    ~If you are hit with a bad disaster, like Earthquake or Tornado, you might
    just want to restart your last save, as the damage done is almost always
    ~If playing on a SNES console, be wary of the startup bug.  Everytime you
    have to load your city, the crime rate skyrockets and really hurts your
    population count.  There is no way to avoid it, and it can cost upwards of
    5000 people lost.
    ~Save your PDHQ gifts for the center of the map.  This is where the highest
    density of people will be, and using other gifts in your donut blocks here
    will not cover the crime rate.
    ~Once you have your 3 FDHQ and 3 Library gifts, start to seek out hospital,
    school, and FD zones.  Bulldoze them all, except for maybe the hospital and
    schools in low land value zones.  They are worthless and take up space, you
    should rebuild these areas with R or C zones.
    ~When getting started, line the outer areas of your city with parks.  This
    tends to help out alot more early on in the game.
    ~Keep your R and C zones high for the early part of the game.  Once you hit
    100,000 population, shift your focus to I zones.
    ~Be prepared for a shipwreck or plane crash, they are quite common.  If you
    do have one happen, quickly bulldoze the surrounding areas to prevent fires
    from spreading.  Then build mass FDs around the area.
    ~Take the Amusement Park gift over the Casino.  The Casino causes crime, at
    the cost of a few extra dollars at the end of the year.  Remember that to
    get all 5 of the Amusement Park gifts you must make a long stretch of roads
    but will be bulldozing them away once you have all 5.
    ~ALWAYS keep funding at 100 percent.
    ~NEVER use coal power plants.
    ~Look for brownouts in low land value R zones, they are common there.
    ~Do not get messy with your city layout.  Keep it as clean as possible.
    ~When building your Airport/Seaport, keep in mind that you do NOT have to
    power them up to get their desired effect.  This can cut down on the risk
    of a shipwreck or plane crash.  Once you hit 100,000 population though,
    they should be powered up.
    ~When starting, build your donut block patterns evenly around the center
    of the map.  Reason being that growth is generally better in the early
    parts of the game, and getting good growth late in the game is easier
    when you have just the center of the map to build on, and everything
    else around it is allready developed.  So by building a "Frame" around
    the center of the map you can have the best results.
    ~Build commercial zones that are far from the center of the map close to
    the water.  They are much more likely to do better there.
    ~Use your landfill gifts wisely.  Using them for R zones in the water,
    around the center of the map works well.  Or if you have a donut block
    of zones that fits into the pattern for a top zone, but cannot be a full
    donut block due to water, use them there and place a gift in the middle
    for maximum potential.
    ~Balance out your R and C zones.  You do not want a block of R zones to
    be very far away from C zones or C zone blocks, at any point.
    ~I like to set the game speed to the lowest setting when building more
    than 2 donut blocks at a time.  Then I turn it back up to the highest
    setting and check the land value map or other statistics while I wait
    to see if the newly built area is going to develop well.
    ~As you get to the 300,000 mark, every last detail is important.  At
    this point in the game you need to start building carefully and planning
    ahead.  Check your Totals menu and watch your amount of each zone.
    ~Once your city hits around 450,000 people, this is where the real
    challenge is going to begin.  Zones in or around the corners of the map
    are going to see a big decline in land value and population density. If
    you have a high demand for Commercial or Industrial zones, which you are
    going to have most likely at this point, re-zone these areas into C zone
    donut blocks or place a couple I zones in there.
    ~The typical Megalopolis has around 400+ R zones, 130-180 I zones, 100-
    130 C zones and roughly 75-95 police departments.  Keep this in mind as
    you are building your city, and watch the demand bars closely.
    ~Any coastline that has not been developed you should place parks in.
    ~Be sure to obtain ALL the gifts by the time your city is done.  Getting
    the Fountain is usually the toughest one as it takes alot of time.
    (iii). Addressing and Solving City Issues
    Here I will cover dealing with the problems that your citizens will be
    complaining about in your voice menu.
    Crime is not difficult to fix.  Just scan your crime rate map for the
    problem areas in yellow or orange color and place police departments in
    these areas.  Also balance out your police departments, and remember that
    the PDHQ gift will cover nearly twice the radius of a normal PD zone.
    ~Housing Costs~
    This is possibly the most common complaint from the citizens.  Fixing it
    can be somewhat tricky, the games counsel, Dr. Wright will tell you that
    you need to build I and C zones closer to your R zones and try to keep
    your higher land value zones limited.  I disagree with that last part of
    advice he gives, you can never have enough high land value zones if you
    ask me.  Building more I zones is how I fix the housing cost issue.  This
    is not a major problem that will hurt growth, but it will most likely be
    This is an easy one, unless you are not using the money cheat(see section
    VII-i).  The games starts you off with a default tax rate of 7 percent.
    Over time, the citizens are going to start to complain about this, so if
    you are having problems getting growth, lower the tax rate by about 2 or
    3 percent until they start to complain about it again.  If you are going
    to use the money cheat then just lower it all the way to 0 percent.
    Another very common problem, this one is also pretty easy to fix.  Just
    build more I zones and C zones to a lesser extent.  If your map is full,
    then you are going to have to re-zone some of your R zones that are not
    doing very well.  While the inital loss might worry you, once the new
    zones start to develop there and unemployment decreases, your population
    mark is going to climb.
    Possibly the most common problem, also one of the toughest ones to fix.
    You must balance the unemployment and pollution issues carefully.  The
    industrial zones are very important, and you must have a great amount of
    them to keep unemployment down.  However they are going to pollute and
    spreading them out, as the Dr. Wright suggests is not going to be easy.
    For the most part, keeping the I zones at the edge of the map will cut
    down on the total amount of pollution.  Adding parks around the I zones
    can also cut down on it.  There is not an easy fix to the pollution and
    the complaints for it, bulldozing those I zones is going to hurt your
    population mark any way you slice it.  All you can really do here is scan
    for the highest areas of pollution and bulldoze I zones in those areas.
    Do not bulldoze too many, only the ones that will cut down on pollution
    the most in that area, then rebuild those zones into C zones.  Also, you
    should try to build new I zones in areas of the map that are not develop-
    ing well.
    This should never be an issue.  Simply do not use roads at all, unless it
    is time to go for the 3 Amusement Park gifts.  Once you get the gifts you
    should bulldoze all the roads you used right away.
    If this is your main problem, you are in big trouble.  There is a fire
    raging somewhere in your city, find it and take care of it ASAP.
    (iv). Disasters
    Here I am going to discuss how to recover from disasters, and knowing
    when to restart when the damage is too great.  If you ever lose a gift
    zone to a disaster, consider reseting to your last save.  Also keep in
    mind that late in the game growth is alot slower, meaning that those
    higher land value zones you lost will never recover when you rebuild. A
    final note, fire departments are vital to recovering from disasters in
    containing the fires.  However once all the fires are out, bulldoze them
    Fires tend to start in high land value commercial zones.  If you have one
    break out, quickly bulldoze ALL the surronding zones, and debris left
    behind by the zones close to the fire.  Get fire departments put up very
    quickly around the fire and power them up.  If the fire spreads to the
    center of a zone, the whole zone will explode into flames, not good.  If
    you are hit with a fire and a gift zone has become damaged or destroyed,
    I suggest restarting to your last save, as the gifts are the most valued
    zones you can have.  Other disasters will most likely start fires, but
    there is a chance of a random one breaking out.
    Flooding occurs in areas along the coastline.  The floodwaters will take
    out any zones or other stuff in their path, causing fires or lost zones.
    Again, if you lose gifts to the flooding reset to your last save.  The
    best way to recover from flooding is the same way with fires, bulldoze
    away the zones in danger, then rebuild after the water recedes.  Place-
    ment of parks around the flooding MIGHT slow its progress, but this has
    not been confirmed.
    Tornadoes are one of the more dangerous disasters.  Early in the game it
    is not that big of a worry, as the tornado is unlikely to hit your small
    city.  Once you start running out of room though, the tornado is going
    to carve a path of destruction through the city.  If the funnel cloud
    hits the center of a zone, its going to explode and fuel the path of fire
    that the tornado has allready carved out.  Recovery from a tornado isnt
    going to be easy, consider reseting if you were hit badly or lost gifts
    in the storm.  Try to guess where the tornado is heading, and bulldoze
    a clear path for it before the fires start if you want to try and rebuild
    the affected areas.
    ~Plane Crash/Shipwreck~
    These disasters are quite frequent, but not as bad as most of the other
    ones.  A plane crash can be severe depending on where it crashes at.  If
    it crashes into the center of a zone, or in a crowded block of your city
    then act quickly to put out fires.  If a gift is lost, reset.  The ship-
    wreck is not a big threat usually.  It will hit along the coastline or in
    crowded areas of tracks or powerlines in the sea.  Be sure to repair any
    lost tracks or powerlines.  Sometimes, if the shipwreck is close to land
    a fire may start on the coastline, take care of it quickly.
    ~Monster Attack~
    This disaster is similar to the tornado but is a bit worse and lasts much
    longer.  Bowser will appear in your city and start carving out a path of
    destruction, starting fires.  It will be quite awhile before the attack
    ends, so bulldoze ahead of him like with the tornado.  Once again, if any
    gifts are lost, or extensive damage has occured, reset to your last save.
    ~Nuclear Meltdown~
    This disaster will happen around your nuclear power plants.  What happens
    is that you will see several radiation icons in the affected area.  These
    icons kill land value and growth completely, meaning this area of the map
    cannot be used for rebuilding until 5 years after the disaster occured. A
    rare but serious disaster, recovery depends on how much of the map you
    have used allready.  If the map is full, you must wait until the icons
    are all gone to rebuild there.
    This is by far the worst disaster you can have.  Depending on how severe
    the richter scale reads the quake,(see the history menu) will determine
    the amount of destruction.  The screen will shake and you will hear that
    sound of zones being destroyed/start to see random fires all over the
    map.  This is the only disaster that is not limited to a certain area.
    Any part of the city is vulnerable to the quake.  Recovery from this
    disaster is very difficult, as you must scan the map to find affected
    areas, which takes time while other fires are raging.  Anytime I am hit
    with this disaster the damage done is pretty much un-recoverable and I
    reset to my last save.
    (v). Level by Level
    Next, we are going to go into getting through each level of your city.  I
    have arranged them to address the most common problems for each level of
    Not much to worry about here.  Build 2 nuclear power plants in the one
    of the corners of the map, build I zones at the edges of the map.  You
    should have no problems getting past 2,000 population.  Keeping C zones
    and I zones limited at this stage,  you want mostly R zones.
    Save that House gift until you have the Bank to go with it.  Build a few
    more C zones and several more R zones.  Also build a fire department.
    Keep your limited citizens happy, add parks.  Build just a few more I
    zones at this stage.  Hitting 10,000 population should be no trouble for
    you considering you have enough R zones.
    Build a stadium, and start to build some more I zones.  Start placing your
    gifts and looking for the top zoning pattern.  Save and experiment often!
    Make sure you are placing your PDs so they balance out the overall radius.
    Also watch the land value and crime rate maps closely and keep a close eye
    on your demand bars.
    Now it gets interesting.  Build your Airport and Seaport in an isolated
    area.  Consider lowering your taxes if you havent allready, and check that
    voice menu often.  By now you should have your donut block pattern in full
    swing, and hopefully have the top zoning method working for you too.  Keep
    your focus on building plenty of PDs, keeping the people happy and mainly
    building plenty of R zones.  Use those gifts wisely, each one is vital.
    Try to spread them out also, refrain from placing 2 of the same gift close
    to each other unless it is a PD or FDHQ gift.
    At this stage, you should have a good sized city, several gifts placed and
    a good amount of R zones.  Now is the time to shift your focus to massive
    development of I and C zones.  Keep building your R zones still, but try
    to build mostly industrial, and commercial to a lesser extent.  Getting a
    large amount of I zones now is crucial to reaching the lofty 500,000 mark.
    Around the 450,000 mark, it starts to get difficult to up that population,
    due to lack of space and large city problems.  Crime will be somewhat high
    in areas, there is just no avoiding it.  Get clever in placing your PDs to
    counter it.  About this time your R and C zones will be developing at a
    much slower rate than before, and you will start to see some zones that
    are not developing at all.  These areas are the parts you must somehow try
    to build more I zones in, while keeping pollution and crime under control.
    The biggest key to 500,000 is the industry, and cramming every last zone
    you can into the map.  If you have gotten the top zoning method to work at
    this phase, the amount of additional I zones needed for 500,000 should be
    much lesser than it would be if your gifts are not working.
    You did it!  There is really no reason other than your own goals to go on
    building now.  The map should be pretty much full at this point, so that
    Fountain and Mario Statue gift should be placed in donut blocks around the
    center of the map, or in areas you know will do well based on your pattern
    of donut blocks.  My best is about 640,000 population, then I gave up.  I
    have yet to try zone stacking though.
    VII. Cheats and Secrets
    This section will review various methods of cheating to obtain lots of
    money early on, various secrets that can help your city, and the method
    of zone stacking.  Also included is the Game Genie code for faster game-
    (i). The Money Cheat
    This can save you a LOT of time when trying to build a Megalopolis sized
    city.  It is quite simple but can be confusing if you do not read carefu-
    lly.  The first thing you want to do, considering you are just starting a
    new game is build up about 5 PD stations, some train tracks and a FD.
    This is so you will have to pay funding for them at the end of the year.
    Next, review section 5 if you are actually trying to build a good city.
    If you just want to try the code or mess around then set your taxes to 0
    percent and quickly spend all your cash.  Now wait until you budget menu
    comes up at the end of December.  BEFORE you exit this screen by select-
    ing "go with the figures", make sure you are holding the L button and set
    all your funding to 0 percent, then exit.  Still holding the L button,
    you should now be at the main map screen, wait for about 2 seconds and
    while still holding the L button, enter the budget menu again.  Now set
    all your funding back to 100 percent, while still holding the L button,
    then exit.  Finally, when you return to the main map screen, release the
    L button and you should then have the maximum amount of cash!  Be sure
    to save before trying this cheat.
    (ii). Free Funding
    First of all, turn OFF the Auto-Budget option if you have it enabled.
    When the budget screen appears at the end of December, set all funding to
    0 percent, then exit and quickly save the game.  When you reload the game
    you should be in January, without having paid a cent for those funds,
    which are now set to 100 percent as if nothing happened.  Beware of the
    starup bug when doing this cheat though.
    (iii). The Startup Bug
    When you reload an allready saved city on the SNES console, the game is
    going to start out with a huge crime rate and power loss to the entire
    city.  There is no way to avoid this, and it will hurt your population
    mark by as much as 5000 or more.  The good news is that it recovers at
    a quick rate, but you will still lose potential no matter what.  There is
    only one way to avoid the bug, which is to build the entire city in one
    sitting, or use an emulator.
    (iv). 999 Alternate Starting Maps
    Choose a map to start, then when you are ready to begin building, select
    the go to menu and start new city.  When the map loads, still on the same
    number, it will be a completely different map!  This only works for the
    single map number you choose before entering the go to menu.  You can
    check out the Best Map FAQ posted here at Gamefaqs to see which are the
    overall best.
    (v). Zone Stacking
    This is a method of play that can double the population of a normal, non
    stacked Megalopolis sized city.  It is a very long, tedious process if
    you are going to try it, but the results for your population and pop
    density are amazing.  Here is how to do it.
    First, build a residential zone, power it up and wait for the small icon
    houses to start forming around the R in the center of the zone.  These
    small icons can be bulldozed away, but still leaving the R zone in tact.
    So by bulldozing each icon around the R, you are allowed to place another
    zone which overlaps what would have been the edge of the R zone.  With
    extreme abuse of this method, you can cram in nearly triple the amount
    of zones as opposed to the donut building or other types of development.
    Any kind of building can be stacked by first bulldozing the small icons
    of the R zone away, then building that type of zone directly next to the
    bulldozed area of the R zone and finally bulldozing the entire R zone by
    clicking on the R.  The resulting explosion will take out a chunk of the
    zone/building you placed next to it, allowing for more space.  You can
    also triple stack the zones.  Here is a link of a city made by The Cynic
    of the gamefaqs SNES Simcity message board, which uses zone stacking to
    the extreme.
    As you can see, the population is HUGE.  He also used hacks for this one
    though he only used the infinite gift code and spent a great deal of his
    time and effort on this city no doubt.
    (vi). Game Genie Codes
    I only have the enhance game speed code available at this time.  Look
    for more codes in a future update.
    Enhance Game Speed:
    This section will review the most frequently asked questions I am seeing
    about this game.
    Q:How do I control the Crime rate?
    A:Build more PDs in close frequency to each other
    Q:How do I recover from disasters?
    A:See section VI-iii for tips on getting by them
    Q:Pollution is my biggest problem, how can I reduce it and still keep
    my jobs with the industrial zones?
    A:Pollution is going to be there, no matter what you do.  Just try to
    keep it at a minimum if it is your biggest problem.
    Q:What method of development is the best?
    A:There is no real answer for this one.  However Zone Stacking(section
    VII-v) has been proven to yield the largest amounts of population, most
    well over 1 million.  It is all a matter of your own tastes, I like to
    use the donut building method myself, as it gives the city balance and
    allows for maximum land value potential.
    More FAQs to come.
    IX. Credits
    I would like to first of all thank Gamefaqs, for making this guide even
    exist.  Maxis and Nintendo also deserve thanks, for making the game.  A
    big thank you from me to the regulars at the ghost town of a board we
    have for the SNES game.  WebGraphics, JJholt, Poolshark, The Cynic, and
    any one else I forgot to mention.  More thanks go out to WebGraphics, who
    brought it to my attention that you can obtain a total of 5 Amusement
    Park gifts, rather than 3.
    X. Legal
    The boring legal section.
    Guess what, this guide is copyright protected, so if you think you want 
    copy it, I suggest you tell me, and give me and the others who have 
    helped me their due credit.  If you dont, then your a square, and thus
    could face some jail time.  Feel free to copy whatever you want from here
    as long as cred is given.

    View in: