SimCopter (1996)

by Christopher
6 minutes read


SimCopter is a 1996 simulation game that allows players to pilot helicopters in a SimCity environment, undertaking various missions to ensure the safety and order of their cities.


Welcome to the unique universe of SimCopter, where players take to the skies to protect and serve the citizens of SimCity. Released in 1996 as a spin-off of the acclaimed SimCity 2000, this game introduces a novel approach to city simulation by allowing players to directly interact with their cities from the cockpit of various helicopters.


SimCopter offers two modes of play: user mode and career mode. In the user mode, players can freely fly around cities they have created, which can be imported from SimCity 2000, or any of the 30 cities supplied with the game. However, user cities sometimes need to be designed with SimCopter in mind; most of the time, the player must increase the number of police stations, fire stations, and hospitals to allow for speedier dispatches.

The career mode puts the player in the shoes of a pilot doing various jobs around a city. Eight jobs are available, namely traffic jams, fires, rescues (which may occur during fire missions), catching criminals, riot control, MEDEVAC, transporting Sims, and speeding cars.

While all other criminals roam the streets by foot, burglars drive through the city at high speed and are difficult to catch. All types of criminals can be arrested by picking up a police officer from the roof of a police station, and then dropping them near the criminal. Police cars can also be dispatched to aid in the arrest of a criminal. Criminals on foot can also be stopped by landing on top of them with the helicopter, which kills them, but also risks damage to the helicopter.

Money and points can be earned by completing missions. Money and points can also be lost if the player runs out of time or does not complete a mission. Missions will take points from the player after a set amount of time from the start of the mission while it remains uncompleted. Some missions will eventually be canceled, resulting in a point loss or a forfeited reward after completion.


While the game focuses on the player-character as a versatile helicopter pilot, it also features supporting roles such as police, fire, and ambulance services, which players can call upon to assist in missions.


The gameplay of SimCopter is a mix of action and strategy, requiring players to manage resources like fuel and time while piloting their helicopter to complete missions. The game’s open-world design allows for a high degree of freedom, encouraging exploration and interaction with the city in a variety of ways.


SimCopter stands as a testament to the creativity and innovation of its era, offering a unique blend of simulation and action that has captivated gamers for decades. Its legacy continues to influence the design of simulation games today.

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