Review by Old
Ally McBeal Meets the Sims
Imagine, if you will, playing "sim god" with 20 lawyers.
In your office, manipulation and control of your strange little
people will center around relationships, with a heavy emphasis on
sex, romance, rivalries, and domination. If you can contemplate
such a setting, find a potential for chuckles in this peculiar work
world, then you will likely find a good deal of enjoyment in The
Resembling, but moving well beyond, the framework of The Sims:
Hot Date, The Partners is a stand-alone creation from Monte
Cristothe developers of such unmemorable titles as Airline
Tycoon, Fire Department and Platoon. Looking very much
like The Sims in terms of graphics, character depictions,
interactions, and controls, The Partners presents three "campaigns,"
each with seven scenarios, all set in a particular law office.
Power, Lust, Ambition, Seduction
The Partners is Teen-rated, and appropriately so. Although
not venturing as far into The Sims and its expansions as
some of my colleagues, I've never found in Sims gameplay
the kind of overt, expressive flirting and more obvious interactions
as within The Partners. It's pretty seedy, and it is a far
cry from Law
& Order or CSI, but that isn't to say
it's not rather fun! Here's a brief summary of the three presented
- Beauty and the BeastThe firm of Adios and
Goodnight is run despotically by an embittered widower. Your goal
is simply to increase the prestige of the firm.
- Don't Cheat on MeThe husband/wife team of
Gordon & Gordon heads a firm under a good deal of stress,
largely arising from the cheating ways of Mr. Gordon. Your goal
is to prevent the misunderstood husband from getting caught!
- The Infernal WebcamSea, Tex and Sun is doing
nicely due to the passionate endeavors of Eva Tex, a founder.
Using a spying webcam, you must assure that Eva does not fall
in love before Easter.
In addition to these campaigns, each including seven scenarios,
we find Freeplay, or sandbox mode. This allows the creation of original
scenarios where you can decide the frequency and difficulty of lawsuits,
the appearance and personalities of your characters, and general
The Partners presents with fine 3D graphics, much like those
of The Sims series, both in its character depiction and animations.
The interface is unobtrusive and efficient, allowing, unlike The
Sims, rotation within your office areas and a very nice zooming
feature using the mouse wheel, if available. Little pop-up menus
allow the purchase of 100 pieces of furniture and 70 objects (such
as a chocolate rabbit, bottle of beer, and game console), all designed
to make the "work" of your lawyers more efficient and
often their interactions more lively and saucy! Hundreds of independent
and interactive actions can be performed.
Pleasant musical themes are in the background, and "voice
acting," except for campaign introductions, is in the now classic
"Sim-speak." Indeed, we have one FFC team member who is
quite adept at translating Sim-speak, even employing it with her
friends! Even when you can't understand it, though, the intent of
the speaking character typically is very clear.
As to gameplay, campaign goals are as stated above, with your primary
job being to keep everyone on task. With distracting action choices
such as "charm," "lick boots," "flirt"
and "bicker," you can see how this presents quite a challenge.
During a campaign, a number of requests for legal representation
will come to your firm, and you do have to choose some of these
in order to keep the money flowing. Unfortunately, in spite of the
novel and entertaining nature of most of these requests, you really
don't follow them through, but rather just have to be sure that
assigned staff lawyers stay on the job and aren't pulled away by
the likes of Eva Tex or other office seductresses. A surveillance
camera is available to help you out. The play, essentially, then
is just to maintain through the day and "enjoy the moment"
with your daffy staff.
Become a "Managing Partner" for Only $5
Behaving very much like an R-rated Sims expansion pack but
independent of that series, The Partners is a silly and entertaining
piece of gameplay fluff. There's no adventure here, none of the
character building of RPGs, no real-time or turn-based strategies.
Rather, much like the Ally McBeal series, The Partners
aims to be a distraction from your more "serious"
gaming and give you a few laughs. To that end, the game largely
succeeds quite well. An effective tutorial gets you up and running,
and from the included 21 missions in three campaigns to the enjoyable
sandbox mode, The Partners is easy to get into and enjoy.
I heartily recommend it, especially for its current low price, if
you have any interest in knowing more about or experimenting with
a new kind of "lawyer-sim."
What I Liked About The Partners
- The developer took a chance, with an unusual twist on The Sims.
- The campaigns, scenarios and free play are quite pleasant.
- The rotating camera and zoom features are excellent.
- One has to really stay on top of the silly, sexual interactions.
- The pricecheaper than an expansion pack.
What I Didn't Like About The Partners
- The engine (graphics, A.I.) isn't as polished as The Sims's
- It's existential gameplay-wise; it doesn't really go anywhere.
- The romance/sexual themes can get a bit old (but I'm also a
- It can take a lot of monitoring to stay on top of developments.
Release Date: September 2002
Four Fat Chicks Links
Pentium II 300
64 MB RAM
8X CD-ROM drive
16 MB 3D video card
DirectX 8.1 compatible sound card
600 MB free HD space
Where to Find It
Links provided for informational purposes only.
FFC makes no warranty with regard to any transaction entered into
by any party(ies).