Reloaded brings you the original Tropico: Paradise Island and the sequel Tropico: Pirates Cove in one pack.
Tropico: Paradise Island
While we enjoy a good city building sim as much as the next man, they all tend to be rather serious affairs. Not so Tropico! Transplanting the action to a small Caribbean island and casting you in the role of "El Presidente", this is a game with its tongue firmly planted in its cheek.
Starting the game you are given the choice of which dictator to play as, with options ranging from Fidel Castro and Augusto Pinochet to Evita Peron and .. um .. Lou Bega. Yes, the man responsible for that reprehensible slice of pop music "Mambo #5". Like I said, this isn't a game that takes itself seriously. Once you have picked out your favourite dictator you are given a dossier on them which allows you to change their characteristics, such as who they are, how they came to power and what their strengths and weaknesses are.
All of these choices have a big effect on how your game will play out. For example, if you were given your job by the KGB your people won't be too surprised if you refuse to hold free elections while the Russians will be far more favourable towards you, showering you with foreign aid. On the other hand, if you chose to be Lou Bega your island will be more popular with tasteless Yanqui tourists, and your nightclubs are the toast of the town.
Underneath the humor there is a serious sim though, with a complex economic system and a bewildering array of buildings to construct and edicts to issue. The game is a fine balancing act, with a number of domestic factions to keep happy as well as Russia and the USA, and the threat of being overthrown by a military coup, revolution, election defeat or foreign invasion is always there to keep you on your toes.
Generally you will start off with a handful of islanders, a few farms, a dock and your palace. From this inauspicious start you must build up your economy with more farms, mines and logging camps, as well as providing housing for your citizens, who start the game living in primitive shacks. Distilleries, lumber mills and cigar factories can provide more valuable exports, while your people will soon begin to demand entertainment, health care, education and churches. With a limited cash flow to pay for new buildings, you have to juggle the requests of the various factions on the island with your own long term plans. A few hours with Tropico will make you realise that Fidel Castro isn't doing such a bad job of things after all...
Tropico: Pirates Cove
Pirate Cove transports you back to the age of buccaneers and piracy on the high seas, placing you in charge of the secret Caribbean island base of a group of ferocious pirates. Your task is to build an island community which supplies everything needed to keep your pirates happy, and of course to fill your coffers with gold by sending out ships on raiding missions - while at the same time striving to keep your location secret from the fleets of the British, Spanish and French, who are obviously keen to shut you down so you stop nicking their pieces of eight.
The work on your island is primarily done by captive slave labour, with a force of mainly shipwrecked unfortunates or people captured by your pirates in raids. These captives need to be kept in a docile state through a combination of intimidation and order, and it's also a good idea to keep them relatively well fed and housed
As you might expect given the setting of the game and the nature of the first title in the series, Tropico 2 is a game with a healthy sense of fun and a welcome willingness to poke fun at itself. The thought processes of some of your captives and pirates are occasionally hilarious. The soundtrack is also brilliant - full of Caribbean calypso-style rhythms that enhance the atmosphere of the game. The graphics are old-school - in the 2D sprite way of doing things. However, this is more than made up for by the level of detail on most of the buildings and characters in the game.