Monday, April 26, 2010

Tropico 3

I have been awaiting Tropico 3 for the Xbox 360 for some time now. I've had it in my GameQ since the day they put out a release date. After two months of waiting, I finally got that square white envelope in the mail from GameFly, and I went straight to playing.

Tropico 3 is published by Kalypso Media and developed by Haemimont Games and was released on February 16, 2010. The ESRB is "Teen" for Alcohol and Tobacco Reference, Mild Suggestive Themes, Violence

The game is set during the Cold War in the Caribbean and you have just came into power as "El Presidente" of a tropical island. It starts out just like almost every other sim game out there. You have a very small population and a very small village of some kind. You might have a farm or two, a few shacks, and a shop of some kind. It is then up to you to build your newly acquired island nation up and lead it into prosperity, using whatever means necessary. While building your empire, you must keep a balance between the happiness of your people, your economy, political and religious factions, along with trying to keep both the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. from coming to your shores with guns drawn. There are also the natural elements such as hurricanes and earthquakes. In these respects, it is a lot like many of the other sim games that have come before it.

What separates it from many of the others is how you go about doing many of the activities and actions. You can play any way you chose whether you want to play the "man of the people" role or Castro himself (yes, you can be Fidel Castro) or anything in between. You can bribe anyone in the game, send your military after them, or arrange for an "accident" to happen. A major portion of your score comes from you Swiss bank account, which you can siphon into from most of the monies that come through your palace. You can be very successful at either end of the spectrum, but the game makes it very easy to follow in the footsteps of Karl Marx or even Hitler, if you so chose.

They did a pretty good job at designing the islands, which there are many to choose from. You really get a tropical feel while playing. You can make it a remote tropical getaway or a five star resort filled with luxury hotels, casinos, and more.

The sounds of the island help add a tropical feel along with the music, but it's nothing you will be humming to yourself later.

The controls can be a bit frustrating at times, especially with not having the option to invert the "Y" axis. The type is a bit small and can be a bit hard to read, so if you are playing on a 32 inch screen or smaller, you will have to be right on top of the TV to know whats going on. One of the biggest fails was the road mapping system. There are many times where you will spend what seems like hours trying to get roads to line up, instead of automatically finding the best layout like many other games.

There is a campaign made with various objectives set as well as a sandbox mode for free play. At the end of a campaign, you have the option of continuing after the objectives are met, which is nice. There is also a tutorial mode which is helpful, but does not cover all aspects of the game, just the basics. But with a little online searching, I had all of my questions answered.

All in all, this is an aggravatingly fun and addictive game. You will find yourself cursing this game but unable to put the controller down, at least for a while. I would consider this to be a great "in between game" (that game you play when you've played five continuous hours of Modern Warfare 2 and you need something to refresh your brain before you kill someone because of that damn kid that wouldn't stop using a noobtube) and a good game over all with a moderate replay value.

HINT: The strategy that I have found to work the best is to establish a farm or two for food, then set up a tobacco farm and a cigar factory. This will get the money starting to flow. Then build a logging camp, a lumber mill, and a furniture factory. Follow it up with a pineapple farm and a fisherman's wharf. And you should have some cash left (or you should earn some at the end of the month from the docks) and build an oil rig (if there is one close by) or an oil refinery. Everything aside from the farms and lumber mill will put you into debt a bit, but it will start making money quickly and the farms and wharf will help to feed your population as the game progresses. Keep a close eye on your food supply as your population grows, because your people will start to starve quickly.

Something else I found helpful, if you are trying to develop as much of your island as possible, is to construct at least two more construction offices the second you start to make some money, and keep building them as the game goes on, increasing their pay as you go. The construction workers tend to be very inefficient. There is nothing you can do to help this, as it is simply how the game was programmed. This will keep your projects going.

Over all, I would give this game a 7.25 out of 10.

A day at the beach in Tropico

You have to appreciate the detail in this game. It truly gives you that "Havana" feel

Here is a list of the achievements you can earn in the game -

El Prez 101
Learn how to run a Banana Republic - 5gp

Presidente for life
Prove your governing skills on 15 different islands in Campaign mode - 50gp

Frequent Flier
Build an Airport - 10gp

Call me Tropifeller
Build a Skyscraper Hotel - 5gp

License to Kill
Issue 5 kill orders in one game - 5gp

Generous Leader
Bribe 10 citizens in one game - 10gp

You Saw Nothing
Arrange 15 "Accidents" in one game - 15gp

A little something
Have over $20 000 in your Swiss Bank account - 10gp

Pension Fund
Have over $50 000 in your Swiss Bank account - 20gp

Filthy Rich
Have over $100 000 in your Swiss Bank account - 30gp

Tropican Fiesta
Finish a game with overall Happiness of your citizens above 70% - 40gp

Viva la Revolution!
Finish a "Rebel Yell" Sandbox game. - 10gp

Tropico Tycoon
Construct 3 different industry buildings in one game - 20gp

Issue 200 edicts - 30gp

My People Love Me
Win 80% of the votes in Elections - 20gp

Nephew Sam
Make an alliance with the US - 10gp

Comrade Presidente
Make an alliance with the USSR - 10gp

Curse of the Llama
Survive 10 Hurricanes and Earthquakes - 40gp

Coup de Grace
Suppress a Military Coup - 20gp

Red Wire, Green Wire
Deal with a bomb threat - 20gp

The Negotiator
Resolve a hostage situation - 10gp

Agent 00
Establish Secret Police - 10gp

It's Just a Flesh Wound
Survive an assassination attempt - 20gp

In the Ivory Tower
Address the people from the balcony of your Palace - 10gp

Honest Politician
Fulfill an Election Promise - 20gp

Black Gold
Earn $100 000 from Oil export - 35gp

Fruitas LTD CEO
Become a leading exporter of tropical fruits - 10gp

El Commandante
Finish your mandate on 5 different islands in Campaign mode - 30gp

Let There Be Light
Build a Power Plant - 10gp

Homes for Everyone
Have population of over 250 and no Shacks - 30gp

Maximum Security
Arrest 20 citizens in one game - 20gp

Man of the People
Finish a game with respect of all factions above 70 - 40gp

Accomplished Dictator
Lead 10 different islands to prosperity in Campaign mode - 40gp

Tropican Utopia
Finish a Sandbox game in God mode - 5gp

Tropico and Beyond
Finish an online Challenge - 20gp

Free Elections
Finish a "Free Elections" Sandbox game - 10gp

Construct 1337 buildings - 50gp

Top Exporter
Earn $1 000 000 from industry in a single game - 30gp

Viva El Presidente!
Win a battle against the Rebels - 20gp

Iron Fist
Suppress an uprising - 30gp

Rush the construction of 5 buildings - 10gp

Guest of Honor
Make 10 official visits to buildings - 15gp

High Praise
Praise yourself in an Election Speech - 10gp

Heavy Traffic
Construct at least 1000 meters of roads and 4 Garages - 30gp

Distinguished Service
Decorate a soldier with a medal - 10gp

Construct 200 buildings on one island - 25gp

Have more than 20 soldiers and generals in one game - 20gp

Paradise Island
Earn $1 000 000 from tourism profits in a single game - 40gp

Tourist Resort
Build all Tourist Attractions on one island - 10gp

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