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Tropico: Paradise Island Review

GAME INFO
publisher: Take 2 Interactive
developer: BreakAway Games
genre: Simulation

MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS
P200, 32MB RAM, 850MB HDD
ESRB rating: T
homepage:
tropico.godgames.com/paradiseisland/index.html

release date: Feb 03, 02
» All About Tropico: Paradise Island on ActionTrip


January 28, 2002
Dusan "Lynx" Katilovic

Nothing can beat the feeling of being a dictator in a tropical country. You know the way these things begin... "Army major orchestrated a coup and proclaimed himself for the democratically elected president of the country". After this, he would also be promoted to the rank of, say, general, and lived happily ever after in a nice hacienda surrounded by palm trees, exotic fruit, champagne, gorgeous big-breasted teenage-latina girls and loyal guards who would guard him and his Swiss bank-account; well, at least until some other ambitious major decides to try his luck.

Paradise Island is an expansion pack to one of the best ruling sims of 2001. - Tropico. Just to remind you, in Tropico the player assumes the role (and responsibility) of 'El Presidente' an autocratic leader and potentially a life-term president of a tiny Caribbean island state. You will have to take care of all aspects of life and economy on your island: building houses, choosing what your agriculture and industry will produce, deciding the course of your diplomatic activities, and solving internal and external conflicts; all that, while constantly working on increasing your Swiss bank-account. This add-on, contains all these elements, together with several improvements, new scenarios, structures and ways to success.

Tropico may have been labeled an innovative, complex and coherent game, but everybody used to complain about the relatively few scenarios (eight) you got to pay in it. Thanks to the brilliantly coded original engine, BreakAway Games developer studio added twenty new scenarios to Tropico with the Paradise Island expansion pack. The new islands vary from very small to very big ones, which also influences the difficulty of gameplay. The gameplay changed slightly in comparison to Tropico. All the ruling mechanisms are practically the same, but the developers obviously wanted to put a lot of emphasis on tourism in this expansion pack. Tourism became the main means of acquiring personal and state funds. This gave Tropico a new dimension, as now you have to balance to a much greater extent between satisfying the high-class tourists and the local population in order to preserve your position as El Presidente.

Paradise Island features 12 new structures, mostly focused on improving your tourism: Beach villas, military bases, condominium, duty-free-shops, furniture factories, mini-golf courses, cinemas, tennis courts. Even though all these structures have been primarily meant for the tourists, most of them can be used by the natives as well. Another special treat are the natural catastrophes (like storms or disease outbreaks), which can cause you serious problems, but never enough to instantly end your campaign. You will be able to set the frequency of these events within the pre-scripted scenarios.

The Tropico interface suffered several improvements, the most important of them being the possibility to rotate the view in full 360 degrees, which makes the game much easier to follow. Gameplay experience has further been improved by introducing twenty new exotic melodies.

As for the gameplay, it became far more authentic. Ruling by edicts still seems to be the most inviting of options, but it can easily provoke a revolution of the dissatisfied and half-starving people. You can always go for the solution to use a large amount of resources to support your army and turn it into your Praetorians. And if the people make you stage the elections, do not worry too much, you can always "put the opposition candidate to sleep", or simply rig the elections.

In short, this expansion pack has nothing drastically new to offer, but instead, it makes up for all the flaws of the original and expands it, giving it new qualities and an increased replay value. The developers managed to vividly depict the hard life of an autocrat, which is hanging by the thread.

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8.0   Very Good


HIGHS
A large number of interesting and versatile scenarios, great music;

LOWS
Occasionally confusing.

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