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Video Game / The Urbz

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The Urbz: Sims in the City (or simply known as The Urbz) is a Spin-Off title to the immensely popular people Simulation Game, The Sims.

Set after the events of The Sims: Bustin' Out, the player controls an "Urb" (this game's version of a Sim) who have just moved out from their parent's home to Urbzville. Starting out as a nobody, our main character must explore the 9 different districts spread in the city, befriend the locals, and earn reputation points to climb up the social ladder. In addition to the usual gameplay of fulfilling the Urb's basic needs, the player must complete certain assignments, such as learning mini-game skills, mastering a job, defeating villains, using a Power Social, or otherwise fulfill various tasks from the town citizens to accomplish their goal.

There are two different versions of the game, released on console (Nintendo GameCube, PlayStation 2, and Xbox) and handheld (Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS).

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The plot of the handheld version revolves around the protagonist and the city of Miniopolis, which is threatened by Daddy Bigbucks, who plots to buy out every property, demolish them and rebuild them accurately as part of a plan to create an Egopolis in his image.


The console version of The Urbz provides examples of the following tropes:

  • All Bikers Are Hells Angels: Gasoline Row depicts the biker culture, and the residents all look like members of a motorcycle gang. The district tagline is "bad girls and tough guys".
  • All There in the Manual: A lot of the characters' information are only mentioned on the game's (now defunct) official site. According to the page, the main character's "Official" name is Jayde.
  • Animesque: Neon East is clearly inspired by Japan's Anime culture, and is famous for the sushi bar and the bright neon colours of the residents' hair and clothes.
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  • Bit Part Bad Guys: Urbzville has a crime problem, and it's being entirely caused by three unpleasant people. Each of these people will haunt three districts, mugging the locals, terrorizing them for kicks, and go after the player for as long as these thugs are around. They won't stop until a Power Social from the district is used on them, causing them to leave the area alone for good.
  • Celebrity Endorsement: The Black Eyed Peas provided a few of the game's soundtracks and their 5 members appear as residents of the district Cozmo Street.
  • Changing Clothes Is a Free Action: You can spend real-life hours in the clothing store or wardrobe to pick out new outfits, and no in-game time would have elapsed when you're done.
  • Coolest Club Ever: Each district has their own club, where all the residents go at night to party until the sun comes up. They all have furniture that is absolutely fantastic for fulfilling an Urb's needs, and only in these clubs will Darius give the player Power Socials. However, they're all guarded by a Bouncer to make sure uncool people (i.e. a player who doesn't have enough respect) can't gatecrash the place.
  • Dress Code: Actually enforced by the game mechanics. All districts have their own unique fashion style, and dressing in one particular area's style of outfit would hinder the player's success in interacting with a resident of a different district. For example, the residents of the Gasoline Row or Central Station district (i.e. bikers/gangsters) dislike people from Diamond Heights (i.e. fancy celebrities) and will often reject a fancy Urb trying to socialize with them, and perform mean actions on anyone wearing such expensive outfits.
  • Expy:
    • String Bean's character design is deliberately based off Dudley Landgraab's design from The Sims: Bustin' Out, which is a prequel to this game. His character's official Bio even mentions that he hates being called "Dudley".
    • Likewise, Venus Moonflower is very similar to Mimi Landgraab (also from Bustin' Out). Both ladies sport orangish-blonde Girlish Pigtails, are bubbly and free-spirited in personality, and loves pink. Their outfits are of a similar style as well.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: The Simlish version of "Let's Get It Started" sounds more it's supposed to be the original version, "Let's Get Retarded".
  • Life Simulation Game: Just like the original however it's more simplified due to a lack of dating, child-rearing, or aging.
  • Multi-Ethnic Name: Mazuiko Jackson, which is fitting for a resident from the Anime-inspired district, Neon East.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Sophie and Babbette Coutre, a pair of blonde twin celebrities from Diamond Heights, are quite obviously based on Mary-Kate & Ashley Olsen.
  • No Hugging, No Kissing: Zigzagged. You can kiss characters however you can't date anyone or have Woo-Hoo.
  • Oddball in the Series: Contrasts with the main series with its stylistic art design, quicktime events, lack of romance, and characteristics - such as reputation and Celebrity Endorsement - that wouldn't reappear until The Sims 3.
  • The Quincy Punk: One of the villains, Urangoo McBain have a punk styled appearance and is known to be very violent and short-tempered.
  • Quirky Town: Urbzville, a small town divided into 9 districts of differing sub-cultures, each with its own unique style and quirks.
  • Repetitive Name: Loop D. Loop.
  • Skate Heaven Is a Place on Earth: Kicktail Park is THE skating district of Urbzville.
  • True Art Is Angsty: Invoked in The Foundry, a district full of self-proclaimed artists who wear black/dark colours and behave like a stereotypical Emos and Beatniks. As one of them would say:
    Crispin Black: I take young idealistic artists and turn them into young nihilistic artists.
  • Virtual Paper Doll: Like its parent series, the character's clothes, accessory and hairstyle can be customized at any time. In this game, the trope is enforced, as the main character must change into matching district-specific outfits when they visit the place for the first time.
  • Wealth's in a Name: One of the NPCs in Urbzville is named Cash Monet. Unsurprisingly, he is a resident of the glamorous, high-end district of Diamond Heights.
  • You ALL Look Familiar: All the bouncers in the 9 districts look exactly the same, even though they can't possibly the same person.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair:
    • The main character's default appearance is a girl with purple hair. It can be customized to any colour, though.
    • Everyone in Neon East, except for Venus, have outrageously coloured hair. Mazuiko, Chewy and Loop has blue hair, while Sara has pink hair.
    • One of the district villains, Kiki Blunt, has green hair.

The handheld version of The Urbz contains the following tropes:

  • Adaptation Distillation: The handheld version removes a lot of the features of the console version, such as clothes mattering and the importance of districts.
  • Alliterative Name: Crawdad Clem and Bayou Boo.
  • Almighty Janitor: The protagonist literally starts the game as a janitor, but can become one of the most powerful players in the city.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • You don't get kicked out of King Tower until you break into the Law Office and check the desk, so you can spend some time working on your Body stat and earn Rank 3 in "Squeegee Clean", allowing you to earn a considerable amount of money that can go to renting a house in Urbania and 500 Simoleons ready for an early sidequest.
    • Berkely Clodd's shrunken head sidequest always has the aforementioned item on sale during auctions.
    • The DS version allows you to change Rep Groups if you're a high-enough level with them. This can help you get group-exclusive Xizzles. The Moon Base can now be accessed without multiplayer by ordering a Green Meteorite on the Internet.
  • Ascended Extra: Phoebe Twiddle was a nameless NPC in Bustin' Out who worked in Nicki Knack's shop.
  • Big Bad: Daddy Bigbucks.
  • Brick Joke: One sidequest has you go out to sea to find the Dancing Nutria island for Roxanne, who wants one of the native titular animals there. Thanks to Ephram in the 19th century, he left Daddy Bigbucks' flag there, deeming it Bigbucks Island, where its unfortunate owner has to serve his sentence there.
  • Chekhov's Gun: One item that you can take in for a trash run is a nuclear rod. You need to save some to power a time machine.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: One character you can meet and become friends with is a ghost named Ephram Earl. After Daddy Bigbucks uses a time machine to claim the land which will become Miniopolis in the past during the 19th century, you use your own time machine to go back to a short while after he claimed the land and give the flag he planted to an alive Ephram, who promises to keep it safe and put it somewhere else.
  • Easily Forgiven: As a meta example, Giuseppi Mezzoalto tries to murder the protagonist's uncle while robbing his house, and is allegedly connected to other crimes. Though it's heavily implied that the protagonist in this game is the same one from Bustin' Out, no mention of his background is ever made and he's a pivotal heroic character in the narrative. (When the character appears in Sims 2, however, he claims that he was replaced by a robot for this iteration)
  • Fiery Redhead: Crystal, a Streetie with attitude.
  • Foreshadowing: You'd think that Giuseppi, the guy you gave a bugged briefcase would notice that there's a stage microphone duct-taped to it, right? Turns out that he's working for the detective who you had attach the bug to the briefcase.
  • Great Escape: If you raise Detective Dan Mann's friendship level enough, he'll tell you about a prisoner years ago who escaped from the station jail, but no one found out how he did it. You can find the tunnel he dug behind the poster at the station as a shortcut to the bayou.
  • Guide Dang It!: Getting the final group point is an exercise in frustration without a guide. You need to get the opposite group's leader to dislike you, which is hinted at nowhere in the game, and requires you to know their dislikes well enough that you can consistently use them.
  • Have We Met Yet?: Some of Ephram's dialogue implies that he's met you before. While you could meet and talk to him in Bustin' Out, you actually met him when he was alive in the 19th century, thanks to a time machine.
  • Idle Rich: Lottie Cash, who balks at the idea of finally having to get a job.
  • Jive Turkey: One Xizzle called "Jibba Jabba" apparently has this as an option, judging by the reactions of who you say this to. It mostly has very positive reactions.
  • Hollywood Nerd: All the members of the Nerdies are stereotypically nerdy characters who apparently love tabletop gaming and taking classes at college.
  • Mundane Fantastic:
    • A few items you can pick up and trade for cash at the police station through the recycling program include aluminium cans, license plates, nuclear rods, three-eyed toads...
    • From Rank 3 onwards in "Squeegee Clean", a pterodactyl will fly by and knock away a squeegee bucket, which takes a few seconds to regenerate.
  • Obvious Beta:
    • The DS version has a major glitch that locks you out of the Artsies mission's completion if you sold any of the basic Garbage Piles for recycling before starting the mission. The game doesn't record any prior recycling until the mission actually starts. This is a pain due to this port placing a finite amount of Garbage Piles unlike the GBA version which had them respawn periodically. Other variants of Garbage still spawn normally, though.
    • In the DS version, the key to the Richies' clubhouse somehow stops working after some time. However, you can sell it and regain another one later when this happens.
    • After you obtain the Paradise Island map, another will appear in its place. Pick up a second one and you can't get rid of it.
    • Mr. King has no programmed location and therefore can only be talked to if you invite him over.
    • Choosing the "ask for errand" option when talking to a tenant will evict them as if you had selected the "GET OUT!" option.
    • Trying to talk to an NPCs who are teleporting (namely Lloyd and Gordie) will freeze the game. The game also freezes if you have a pet following you when trying to use the Time Machine.
    • The dragon and carnivorous dinosaur pets only use their correct voices during the Petshow game. Otherwise they use the herbivorous dino's voice.
  • Schmuck Bait: During the questline to attend University lectures, one task is to obtain a thesis. You're meant to study and write a thesis at the Miniopolis Chronicle, but you can optionally talk to Berkely Clodd and ask him if he has an old thesis you can have. He then offers to sell you a thesis someone sold him several years ago. Present that, however, and Maximillian will point out that he read the exact same one years ago and deemed it terrible, causing hundreds of Simoleons to be wasted on a scam.
  • Sudden Sequel Heel Syndrome: Daddy Bigbucks is a kindly, supportive old man in Bustin' Out, but here is a conniving, universally hated Big Bad.
  • Swamps Are Evil: Few characters go to or like the bayou, a "redneck" area of the city full of dangerous giant Venus Flytraps that will eat you alive if you get too close. Subverted as even the "monsters" in the area turn out to not be too bad. There's also a devil, but he turns out to just be a The Devil Went Down to Georgia reference and pays you quite a lot for copying his fiddle play.
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