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Greetings El Presidente!
Tropico is a real time strategy game where you take control of a small island in the Caribbean. Your job as ruler/tyrant/president is to grow the islands economy and keep its people happy so that when the elections come they don't decide to vote anyone else in.
You have the options of building certain industries on your island such as tobacco plantations which can then be taken to cigar factories to create a more expensive export. You do need to keep an eye on your less profitable farms such as the corn plantations as they are needed to feed the population.
Your people are split into groups depending on what style of life they would like you to give them. Religious groups like it if you build churches, the militaristic group likes it if you build lots of guard towers and barracks. Keeping all these groups happy at once can feel like a bit of a juggling act.
The game consists of several missions going to new islands each time and introducing new game concepts as you go along. There are a few balance issues in that you can never keep everyone happy for very long but that adds to the challenge of the game.
This is a fantastic economy simulation game that most people will enjoy playing with even if not for very long.
I really did enjoy this game because it is very similar to the Tycoon series of games. The gameplay is very enjoyable I found and I played on it for many hours without getting bored. I really found that it was great entertainment value because there is so much to do. The game itself if about running your own tropical island, which I thought was just brilliant! Like it suggests when running your own isaldn you can do so much, such as building your own hospital, resteraunt etc. The idea is that you create this fabulous tropical island that attracts lots of toursits to your location which makes you lots of money. As you make money you can buy so many more things for your
island including general upgrades.
I found the gameplay to be really superb because it is very simple to get the hang of and know what to do. I really thought also that the controls were very easy to pickup which is ideal. The only thing I wasn't pleased with was the graphics because they are quite low resolution. Despite this I found the game to be one well worth playing. I loved how you have to compete with rivals which does add quite a lot of difficulty to the game I found. I just wished that they had an online mode so that you could battle with your friends online, that would be really good! The amount of features available is really impressive I thought and the overall quality of production is impressive.
Having recently one up to the loft with hubby to have a tidy up and get organised up there, I came across a box of games that I had bought from Ebay the winter before we moved, packed, and then mislaid, and all before even getting to play them! One of the games in my found treasure trove as Tropico.
If you are a fan of games such as SimCIty, this is a game that will not disappoint. Tropico is an island republic and the various factions there have elected you El Presidente of a Latin American Caribbean island in the year 1950. You have to maintain a firm grip on your rule, satisfying the military to prevent a coup, the communists to prevent an insurrection, the capitalists in order to ward off a revolt, as well as the intellectuals who will leave otherwise, and the Church, who use the religious convictions of their members to sway their political beliefs. You accomplish this by careful management of the island's resources, recreational facilities, supporting church and military installations, and providing government infrastructure such as healthcare, police, Soviet style food distribution "shops" and so on. Pretty well much, your island relies on subsidies from the US and Russia, so you toe a fine line between communism, socialism, and democracy to get the most cash and to keep all of these supporters fairly happy.
Being a tropical island, you also have the opportunity to attract tourists if you play your cards right, and these people bring a lot of cash to spend, so that workers can enjoy higher wages and raise the standard of living. The comparative wealth of the tourists is not without its detractions however, as the poor of the island see the large gulf between themselves and the rich Yanquis, and it can be a trigger for civil unrest.
Unlike SimCity, this game requires micromanagemnt, as all the farms and industry are state managed. It is therefore up to you, El Presidente, to keep an eye on the fishing stocks and relocate docks as needed, to watch the deforestation by the lumber company, and to re valuate which crops should be grown whereas pollution, rain fall averages, etc affect growing conditions. One of the benefits and unique plus points of this, is tat as the Castroeseque dictator, you can issue edicts that must be obeyed, including a little graft to fund your retirement via a Swiss bank account, or if someone running against you looks to be causing too much trouble, and you will lose the election that was forced, he or she can simply be branded a heretic by the church by your edict, or assassinated. Not that I have done either yet! It should be noted that if you do things that are not entirely above board, they do get noticed, and the US, as well as Russia if the person was a communist, gets mightily annoyed, as do your people who feel a loss of personal liberty. When playing in sandbox mode, this may not matter, but when playing the various map and scenarios, this can pose a problem.
Another advantage to this game is that while there is not a scenario editor, you can change the way the game itself turns out by changing several things about your character's background. You get to select two different personal faults, which alters how the various factions perceive you as a person, as well as your personal background and how you came to power politically, which again, affects how the people and the various factions weigh you and your subsequent actions up. It is therefore entirely possible to run a state controlled Soviet style paradise with an iron fist, and win, as it is to run a free economy democracy and win, all depending on how you use your power base, who you win over, and who your allies are. This makes for great repeat gameplay, and as you add map editing to the mix to change the geography and of your island to add yet more ease or increase the challenges.
Gameplay itself is quite simple. You select the type of gameplay you wish to use, either amap based game that you can alter the terrain and edit your personality and background on, or you can select from an offering of various scenarios that you must complete. Having done that, the, the game itself begins. You move about by moving the mouse, with the use of the scroll wheel enabling you to zoom in and out without having to click the map controls from the onscreen options. You can point and click at any object or person on the screen, and information pertaining to them will appear the bottom of the map, and any changes you can make shown as an option. Likewise, at the bottom of the map, you have a control console that you can click on various options on, enabling you to issue edicts, build new buildings, etc. It is quite easy to use, and very traditional in nature to other simulation type games of this nature, and is very intuitive to use without a lot of thought.
Graphics wise, while not cartoony, it is nothing to shout home about. This is not the latest in CGI animation here, with ultra realistic looking people and buildings (just as well, as I don't own a top gaming spec PC), but neither is it a let down. the renderings are quite good, on par with SimCity 4 for example, but with a lack of the pixellating factor when you go for the closest zoom. Also much appreciated si that if you scroll across your island, you do not get the annoying effect so often seen in such games, where part of the landscape appears as blocks before resolving into buildings, trees, and the grass as they should be. So it runs smoothly, and is glitch free in that regard.
The sound is crisp, with the North American hemisphere Spanish accented English clearly understandable and sounding completely natural. The music adds a flair to it as you listen to the Latino beat in the background, adding a bit of zesty fun to gameplay. The music itself is quite catchy, with my four year old coming into the room to dance during the salsa numbers, which I must say adds to my amusement!
Installation and loading were a breeze, even on my now midspec PC. Install time was practically a blink of the eye, with it finishing before I had time to make a single cup of tea. Loading time is pretty quick, with it being near instant, with the animated beginning sequence occurring close upon the heels of the game program launch, without "this vector is loading" or "camels are crossing the road" type silly messages to cover the length of load time. Quite simply, I launch it, and it begins, presto!
While the game is fairly straightforward, it comes with a rather thick booklet that I found helpful to refer to at some points, but only to fine-tune my scenario play. It is entirely possible to not read this at all, but if you do, it is well laid out, amusingly written, and not a complete and utter waste of time. Inside you find hints and tips on dealing with the people, using the console interface in the game, and titbits on when it is best to build industries and so on. I rather enjoyed the way it was written first person style so it appears as a dossier written by El Presidente's advisor, as it adds to the feel of the game and means you can refer to it midgame without being rudely jerked from your role-play fun. Also adding to the Cold War era Latino flair is the scoring system. When your game ends, you get a score based on how well you did financially for the island and yourself (by how much graft you managed to accumulate). You then get assigned a rank, based on real personas of the era that relate, such as Che Guevara , Fidel Castro , Evita de Peron , Papa Doc, Augusto Pinochet, Manuel Noreiga, and several others.
This is as you might have guessed from my Ebay ramblings earlier on, not a new game. It was released in 2001 by the middle American software developer PopTop Software, which as since merged with Take-Two Interactive. A subsequent add on, Paradise island was released, with the subsequent re-release of both as Tropico Gold, which you can currently purchase new from PC game shops and Amazon for under £5. A sequel has also been made by the company. Tropico itself is designed to run on 98, ME, and XP, while the Tropico Gold release is labelled XP only. Not having Vista, I cannot comment if it will run on that OS. At the price, it is bargain, and will provide literally hours and hours of fun. Due to the need for a grasp of at least some political complexities, I would say this game suits those 14 or older, with grown ups who remember the Cold War probably having a definite edge, and those unfamiliar with it, will have a good idea of the times from it afterwards.
~ Overview ~ Tropico is a game whereby you take the role of the newly installed dictator (El Presidenté) of a Caribbean island in the 1950's, which is both underdeveloped and relatively poor with as little as a handful of corn farms, a dock, some immigrants living in tin shacks and the presidential palace. It is then your job to develop this island by building industries such as farming, resource gathering, mining and tourism and in turn some resources can be manufactured into products, i.e. sugar into rum, or tobacco into cigars. However, to achieve your objective of making a stonking huge profit and to build up that bank balance, you must also ensure that your citizens (tropican’s) have a good quality of life and this is achieved by building structures for entertainment, education, housing etc.. all as an overhead to your annual profits. You must also maintain a good economical and political balance at all times otherwise when it comes elections, you may lose your seat. ~ Game Play ~ The game spans over a user-defined period from 10 to 70 years and also allows you to adjust the difficulty of the game by adjusting settings such as the amount of resources available, population limit, economical and political stability and the like. Depending on the options that you choose, the difficulty level will be set accordingly and this takes the form of a percentage. This percentage is applied at the end of the game, so if you get a total score of 1,650 and you had a difficulty level of 10%, your recorded score will be 165. Before the games starts, you can change your dossier by choosing the characteristics that best suit your personality, each of the selections imposes but benefits and penalties, so for example if you describe yourself as a ‘Booze Baron’ you will get the benefits of +100% for each barrel of rum that you export, however you will be penalised -5% of backing by the religious f
actions on your island when it comes to elections. So on to the game itself - you are given a 3D isometric view of your island that is excellently detailed with great shading to show the dry areas and the more arable areas, many types of tree’s and even the animation of the tropican’s is superb. The game allows 7 levels of magnification from the whole island view to a view of a single building or person and I have found this a particularly useful feature for easy navigation around the island. To make money in the game, you will need to develop industries such as those briefly mentioned in the overview, the farming consist of farming such as corn, banana’s, papaya, pineapple, coffee, sugar and tobacco - bearing in mind that corn is used to feed your people and only the surplus is exported - you can also feed your people by building cattle and goat ranches. With these farms in place, you can increase the profit by building factories such as a cannery, jewel factory, cigar factory and rum distillery. The farming needs attention every year because the weather alters the soil conditions and in turn this dictates the effectiveness of certain crop growths, the type of crops you grow can be changed a click of a button though, which I though was very good. There is a mine structure that allows you to mine for iron, bauxite, gold or all of the minerals and if you do happen to find gold, then you’ll be laughing all the way to the bank. Building logging camps and lumber mills is a quick way to make some money as the tree’s on the island are plentiful but it is always a good idea to ensure that you do not completely strip the island from plant-life as this will inevitably upset the naturalists and will lose their all important votes on election day. On the first couple of games, I found myself getting a little too carried away by building the industries with a low initial income (but hu
ge thereafter), and soon became bankrupt. When you first go into the red, the bank will issue wage restrictions on the employees of your island and these will not be lifted until you find yourself in the black again. However, if you are unable to pull yourself out the downward spiral and end up £100K in the red, you become bankrupt and booted off the island. Elections take place randomly at intervals of between 5 and 9 years, when the election period starts you are shown which of your citizens is running against you and throughout the year of campaigning you are show projected votes and a bar chart at the bottom right of your screen showing how you both fair on each political issue. At the end of campaign, you are informed how much of the vote share you are expected to get and also an option to rig the ballot boxes if you fear that you will lose. I admit I have had to use this a few times! A feature that I have not seen in any game before is that of edicts/bribes, the most useful one of these that I use every game is the special building permit - by passing a brown envelope under the table with £500 in, for every building that develop you get a little bonus in your swiss bank account which also contributes towards your final score. There are many edicts in the game, some to promote tourism, increase education, deal with pollution problems, host events to cheer up citizens such as Mardi-Gras, but there is one that I have resisted using and that is the assassination one - this could so easily be used on the citizen who is also running for office! There is also a second game mode which is scenario based, unfortunately the game does not come with a scenario editor, however there are some good scenario's available to play. The game play is pretty much the same as in the normal game mode, but to win you need to accomplish a certain task within a given time, i.e. exporting £2,000,000 worth of cigars in fifty years
~ Graphics ~ As mentioned earlier, the graphics are absolutely superb, there are seven levels of zoom, and the quality of graphics does not suffer whatever level of zoom you are currently using, the true quality of graphics is more noticable on the maximum zoom as you can see that each of the citizens is animated, i.e. you see the farmers plowing the land, the army faction marching and pointing the guns, and you even the see the boats rocking with the ocean waves. ~ Sound ~ The background music is very good, you can hear steel drums, acoustic guitar and authentic caribbean style song. The sound effects are also quite good, you can hear the buildings being constructed and all the workers carrying out their everyday tasks. ~ Longevity ~ This game was bought for me last Christmas and 9 months on, I still play it depending on what sort of mood i'm in. The game takes about 4 hours to play on it's fastest setting - to me this is rather time consuming so on average I play this once a month. I still find it quite difficult on the higher levels - I can cope with a difficulty of around 40%, I believe this to be a good thing as I have had other games in the past which I conquered in a little over a month which is obviously dissapointed if you have spent £40. ~ Minimum Spec ~ Windows 95/98/2000/ME/NT4 200 MHz Processor CD-ROM 32MB RAM 820 MB Hard Disk space ~ Summary & Recommendation ~ A fun and challenging game that I would recommend to anyone who likes games such as Sim City or Europa Universalis, bearing in mind that a game on its fastest setting will take you atleast 4 hours to finnish. I can not tell you how much this costs as it was bought for me as a present, however this game was released over a year ago, so I guess that you can probably pick this up for around half the price. All in all a great game, that I will play
for many more months to come. The icing on the cake would be to have a scenario editor but despite this I give it a rating of 5/5
I was in town the other day when I spotted a really bright and colourful looking game in Electronics Boutique.This game as you might have already guessed was called Tropico. It was priced at 14.99 so I bought it and raced home to install it (which was very easy and only took about 5 minutes). When I loaded it up I was dazzled by how pretty and colourful the Intro was. First of all I recommend you go through the Tutorial, after that you will have to decide what sort of game you want to play, you can choose from either a Pre-designed Scenario or a Random Map. If you choose to play a Pre-designed Scenario then you are given 8 different Islands to choose from which are: 1.Born Again. This Island has been struck by an Earthquake and only 20 people and a few selected buildings have survived. You have to rebuild the Island and turn it into a thriving and happy Paradise. 2.Fruitas, Ltd. This Island has lost its Presidente and no-one knows where he is so you are left in charge. Fruitas is known World-wide for its excellent food, so you will have to ship large amounts of Bananas, Papayas and Pineapples at cut rate prices in order to keep everyone happy. 3.Isla de Foresta. This Island was once a very beautiful Island, but not no more as all its Forests have been chopped down and its Economy has crashed. You will have to find a new source of income in order to feed your people and hold onto your Power-base, while at the same time help the Forests to return. 4.Los Exconvictos. This Island was once a Prisoners Colony but now all of its inhabitants have been set free. There is very little rain on this Island so few crops will grow and very few Immigrants will come to the Island given its Reputation and History. You must chart a course of Prosperity and Growth in order to win this scenario. 5.Mi Corazon. This Island has just converted to Democracy. There is a hostile Political environment and man
datory Elections every 5 years. You must build a thriving Island with only 3 buildings to start with. 6.New Havana. In this scenario you have to prove to your Cousin Fidel Castro that you can be a success. You need cash and lots of it in order to make this Island your own. 7.Plantation Paradise. In this scenario you will have to build a real Economy and tempt servants to work for you, while at the same time stashing as much money as you can in your Swiss bank account. 8.The Mother Of All Cigars. In this scenario you will have to take Vengeance on your old Homeland by destroying their Cigar-based Economy. You will have to flood the World market with $2,000,000 worth of Tropican Cigars and you only have 50 years to do it. If you choose to play a Random Map you will have to fist decide how big you want your Island to be and how many people you want already living on it, then you are given 5 Victory Goals to choose from which are: 1.A Place In History. You have to pursue a blend of goals such as happines for you people, a strong Economy and stash a little cash for a rainy day. 2.Dont Worry Be Happy. Happiness is all that matters so just make your people the happiest in the Caribbean and you cant lose. 3.Tis Money That Makes The Man. Just stash as much money as you possibly can in your Swiss bank account. 4.Economic Power-house. Build your Island into an Economic Power-house, the bigger the better. 5.Open-Ended. This option disables all difficulty ratings and Victory conditions, so you can play however you like for as long as you like Once you have chosen which Victory Goal you want to go for you will be given a choice of 4 special circumstances which are: 1.Free Elections - This makes your people happier. 2.Immigrants Out!!! - No Immigrants will come to your Island. 3.Rebel Yell - You will see an increased number of rebels.
4.A Far Away Place. - You have a remote Island that few Tourists will visit. You can also choose the Political stability of your Island and how long you would like your game to last although with the open-ended game the game length is disabled. When you have decided what your Island is going to be like you will have to decide what your character is going to look like. There are 20 different male characters and only 5 different female characters to choose from. You also have the option of choosing your background (Pop Singer, Booze Baron, Farmer and many more),your flaws (Flatulence, Gambler, Alcoholic...), and your qualities (Charismatic, Financial Genius, Empathy...). After you have chosen your character you are ready to play the game. Here are a few of the things you will have to build in order to create a thriving Island: *Houses. *Apartments. *Factories. *Farms. *Mines. *Hotels. *Cabarets. *Pubs. *Nightclubs. *Restaurants. *Sports Grounds. *Casino. *Banks. *Airports. *Docks. *Power Plants. *Police Stations. *Prisons. *TV Studios. *Hospitals. *Churches. *Schools. *Markets. *Plus many more. You can also issue Tax Cuts, Air-pollution Standards, Building Permits, Prohibition and lots more. So as you can see there is quite alot to this game. The graphics are amazing everything and everybody look so real and very detailed. If I had to give this game a rating out of 100 then I would give it a 101 as its the most addictive and totally brilliant game that I have played for a long time. Minimum System Requirements are as follows: O.S - Windows 95/98/2000/ME/NT4. CPU - 200MHz. CD-ROM. RAM - 32MB. Disk Space - 820MB. Graphics card optional.
Tropico is different. Sure it is the first Sim based on being a dictator of a small island but it also plays differently. For seasoned SIM addicts most games can be just jumped into and you will figure it all out in a few hours. Tropico initially appears just like any other sim game. Build a bit of this and that and provided you dont do anything stupid you will do OK. This maybe true for the open ended scenario but there are also some pre designed games on here that are very difficult. The scenarios themselves just add a little twist but the real challenge is trying to keep everyone happy so you get re-elected. The actual gameplay involves building various buildings to achieve these ends. So first up is the islands economy. You can generate revenue from Farming, Fishing, Mining, Tourisim and Logging. As the game develops you can develope each of these. So farming Tobacco becomes Cigar production with the addition of a factory. Fairly basic stuff to anyone who's ever played a sim game before. Buildings take time to build in Tropico. Farms take time before they make money. Factorys take time too. This means you have to be quite careful and you have to think out what you are doing. Positioning a factory on a hill will take even longer as the little chaps need forever to level the land first. I can understand this will frustrate some people. I loved the Sim City style instant fix. If you can afford it you build it and as soon as you build it.... its there and working. Tropico is not like that. So you have to plan. You need a strategy. It took me a while to enjoy this new approach. Sim games arent for everyone and all sim games are not for all sim fans. After you have the economy ticking over, you need to address all the other issues. these are fairly easy to solve but there is always the problem of when and in what order. As you create new buildings such as banks, you need a few educated workers. Schools
can be built to provide these or they can just be "bought" off the boats that visit the island. All this is pretty standard sim fair. Building and resource management. Within the game there are lots of routes you can go down. It would be impossible to concetrate on Tourism, mining, farming and industry all at the same time so you have to make decisions. You need a bit of each but at some stage to succeed you will need to develope a clear strategy. There are a few additional elements such as diplomatic relationships with the US and Russia but the real challenge in the game is keeping all the balls in the air and keeping everyone happy. Sound and Graphics are fantastic and the overall presentation and interface are superb. You dont love a game because of the interface but its really is easy to hate one if the interface is poor. Tropico is very simple to play. You only need the mouse. If you have never tried a sim game before I would not recommend Tropico. I would instead recommend Rollercoster Tycoon that is far easier to jump into and far more action packed. If you like sim games and want a new challenge then Tropico does offer this although some people will find it slow and frustrating. It will never be an all time great but it will keep you amused. It is a welcome addition to the growing variety of this type of game.
"El Presidente, the people grow restless!", my advisor exclaimed bursting into my plush stateroom. It was true, after a decade of my rule over the island paradise of Tropico, the lack of public amenities was making my rule unpopular. Tough decisions had to be made and soon, even tougher than the decisions already taken. After a landslide victory in the last free elections the honeymoon period was over. In those halcyon days the population numbered a mere 45 and it was easy to make money simply by diversifying our corn farms into tobacco. The cost of new housing to replace the shanty towns the locals inhabited had easily been met by the new trade and these profitable years had enabled me to cream off several thousand dollars into my Swiss Bank Account. But as rumour of the prosperity of Tropico had spread around the Caribbean so the population had grown as immigrants arrived, keen to earn the ever increasing wages the economy could support. Also as the years passed the Tropicans had demanded better and better facilities. After new housing they wanted schools, hospitals and churches which had been expensive, even more expensive were the wages for those who worked in the new buildings. As well as their wages these skilled people could not be recruited from the local population and so the relocation costs for foreign doctors, teachers and ministers all had to be met. Now the economy was stagnating as the treasury shrank from it's high of $50k to a worrying $10k a new industry was needed and fast. The people were now demanding entertainments, mainly the capitalist faction led by the vociferous Maria Panos curse her name! Rumour has it the insolent women plans to run against me in the elections which the people are demanding. Elections!! I alone am ruler of Tropico, we shall see about elections! Of course my advisor recommends that elections are the best way to keep the people happy, failing to a
llow free votes may cause a riot or even revolution, pah! Two years pass and a new logging camp has increased the bank balance as the hardwood forests of the island are plundered for export. Extra cash has been invested to ensure my lumberjacks only take the mature trees and each one taken is replaced with two saplings to sustain our forests. Also a cigar factory has been built near to the tobacco farm so we can gain even more cash from this valuable crop. These measures have boosted the economy but still the people demand more. To satisfy their desire a pub and restaurant have been built conveniently near to my palace! As well as keeping the locals happy (more so anyway) it provides a small profit to the coffers of Tropico. The elections were a landslide for my magnificence after these measures, my opponent was not up to the job of ruling and the people saw how my rule had benefited them. Another ten years pass and a tourist industry is beginning to take hold of the economy as hotels and related attractions have been located on the more picturesque south end of the island. This resort was not called Southend though, a rather more fetching name was chosen, Paloma. Of course El Presidente has nothing against Southend at all, or the ladies who frequent that part of the world. But I digress. To even further diversify the economy a gold mine has been started in the interior, in the gold rich mountainous region. This was an expensive venture as a new road had to be built through difficult terrain and the workers are paid enormous wages to encourage them to trek so far to work but the results should be good profits over the next decades. But the people still complain at lack of services, poor housing and other such minor distractions. A new hospital is planned to replace the clinic we already have and luxury homes and being built to replace the tenements. The problem is that as fast as new dwellin
gs are put up more immigrants arrive and the Tropicans breed faster than rabbits, must be something in the water! The second election was closer as the opposition leader was a Communist who based his campaign around the housing issue and so got a lot of votes, almost 45 to my 95, the idea of democracy is getting less appealing, maybe I need to invest in a larger army? After another ten years the island is getting polluted as population races past 250 and our first power station is built. The environmentalists are outraged at the state of the place but they are a small minority group so they pose little threat. I have ordered a few trees and shrubs be planted around the island and issued an anti- pollution edit to appease them, petty people! "El Presidente, you have lost the election!", shouts my advisor. "What! How is this possible?" I ask bemused. Apparently the people had decided that due to a combination of factors the opposition was a better choice. My lack of care for the environment, the extortionate amount I charged them for rent had been hard to bear. But what finally broke the camels back so to speak was the lack of food, I had been short-sighted as the population rose I had forgot to built new corn farms and this was my downfall! Still I had accrued enough in my Swiss Bank Account to start a new life on another island, if I could find my way to one in the rowing boat the inhabitants had kindly given me! Tropico, as you may of guess is a game in which you run a small island in the Caribbean. It is played from an isometric 3d view, or birds eye view if you like. On starting you choose your character, a nice touch as you pick your good and bad points as well as the method of coming to power. This is an important part of the game which will affect your whole career. For example if you choose Charisma as a good point then all the people will have 5% more respect for
you, this isn't much though! Bad points are quite funny, flatulence will lose you lots of friends as does alcoholism, although the Russians quite like this trait. Not quite PC that? Next you choose the difficulty settings for the island etc. which are massively definable,. Choose the size, shape and richness of the island resources and also how realistic the people and economy behave. On the hardest level expect to get killed within 20 years and the easiest level is very forgiving. For this reason I would say this is very good for younger dictators to cut their teeth on! The graphics are good, you can zoom right in to see individual people and even watch the bananas grow on the trees! Zooming out you can see the clouds scudding across the skies. By clicking on the people you can access a lot of information about your subjects, what they enjoy, what their family is like, where they work even what they think. The designers show a good sense of humour as the people sometimes think "stop looking into my head!" Even funnier in a dark way is "I'm dying" just as they shuffle off their mortal coils! You have to juggle the economy of the island whilst trying to keep the people happy. This is not easy as there are so many things to keep tabs on. The people need good quality housing as well as well paid jobs. Don't forget to keep them entertained and healthy and of course they need education and somewhere to pray. Overall this is a very good game which just lacks that magic ingredient to make it a classic. The in game music and voice of your advisor given El Presidente advice help make it an experience but it just falls short of having quite enough depth. As I said earlier this is a great game for the younger dictators to try, I did enjoy it myself however (not being a spring chicken) so anyone who enjoys this genre (Sim City/Civilisation etc) would probably enjoy it.