[[It's All About the Control]]
The success of games such as SimCity, The Sims and Civilization, simply proves that people want to rule and have power over others. This is the reason why wars are fought; and this is also the reason that some computer games are designed. Pop Top's newest offering, Tropico comes to mind when one thinks of power and control. Indeed what could be better than being the dictator of your very own island in the Caribbean?
As the newly installed dictator of an obscure Caribbean island, you must somehow overcome the terrible poverty in your island, and in case things go bad, maybe you should stash a few million in a Swiss bank account should you need to take an early retirement.
Tropico is mainly a game of building. There will be over 100 fully 3D rendered structures for you to build including hotels, golf courses, banks, universities, apartments, casino, mines, and more. If you build good hotels and casinos you will get rich tourists willing to spend their money. But you must still remember to keep your own people happy. If your citizens are unhappy, there could be unfortunate consequences. For example they will turn to a life of crime, and rob the tourists (and they won't come back). Even worse, they may join those pesky rebels living in the mountains who want nothing more than to overthrow you.
You will also need factories and mines to build your industrial base on. If you need money, maybe a tobacco farm is a good idea. If your people are hungry, obviously farms are called for. If there is too much civil unrest, maybe a headquarters for your new secret police. Of course, what you build will affect the people on your island. Build a factory; the people will automatically go there to work.
[[People and Graphics]]
The people of Tropico live their own lives. You do not have to control them directly. But what you build will affect them. Build a school, and the intelligence goes up etc. There will be six types of effects the buildings will have on the people: crime, tourist appeal, residential appeal, governmental respect, governmental repression and pollution. There will be a wide variety of people on your island including: bankers, miners, professors, soldiers, doctors, rebels, teachers, prostitutes, teamsters and more. Each person will have more than forty different characteristics to track. These characteristics will be defined by the type of buildings you build.
Now on to the graphics. Each building will have a stereotypical "Latin-American" feel to it. Buildings will show the effect of poverty, aging, and decay that was present in the Cuba of the 1950's. Peeling paint, chipped and cracked walls, sagging roofs will all be a part of most of the buildings (except the tourist and governmental ones).
You will be able to see a great deal of detail in the game, as you can see from the screenshots. You will even see how mountains affect weather patterns which will help you plan where to build farms. Tropico will be playable at insane resolutions of 1600 x 1280 and the interface will scale with the resolution.
When starting the game you will be able to choose between a random island and several scenarios. Perhaps something like: you have just seized power and must remain in control for forty years. Just like what happened in Cuba. Unfortunately PopTop has decided that Tropico will not feature a multiplayer game because, the game is all about controlling something by yourself.
Tropico will be one of the most unique gaming experiences to hit the shelves in recent memory. If the developers can meld the gameplay, the design and everything else into a fluid, fun game, this should be a big hit.