Tropico 3 - 360 - Review
Nestled deep within the jungles of the tropics lies a dictator in his bed dreaming of corruption and deceit. He awakes to hear cries of a rebellion outside his palace balcony and must decide between giving a speech to calm their anger or let loose the hounds of his special ops team to quell the unrest. The choice is a difficult one as the upcoming election looms and his supporters are starting to doubt his leadership due to the lack of adequate housing and living condition. What will he do? Well, Haemimont Games and Kalypso Media leave the decision in the hands of the gamer.
Tropico 3 represents a pillar of a genre that has been long dead in the water – namely, the city management simulator. Allowing players to control a dictator and rule a tropical island throughout a rich political time in history (starting in the 1940’s), it has a plethora of tasks and objectives for players to accomplish. In a short amount of time, what may be 15 minutes of spare time turns into 2-3 hours of time spent on Tropico 3.
Although the graphics of Tropico 3 aren’t outstanding by today’s merits, it’s a title that is able to slip by without needing a powerhouse engine behind it. The water effects aren’t to die for, the attention spent on the little things, such as detail on citizens or buildings, isn’t overwhelming and the foliage spread amongst the island isn’t incredibly eye-appealing. When push comes to shove, Tropico 3 is serviceable, but isn’t furthering the genre with a leap in graphical output. But as I said, it never needed to … Fighting off assassinations, figuring out what’s more important between tourism or tobacco, deciding to favor capitalists over communists, and even taking money on the side to fill up a Swiss Bank account are among things players have to deal with on a regular basis. The multitasking may be overbearing to newcomers to the genre, but to die-hard fans, it’s extremely pleasant to see the amount of options at the fingertips of the player.
An issue that kept creeping up was the inability to properly lay down asphalt for the roads due to terrain. Many of the times, it was trial and error that occupied too much of the free time that would’ve been better spent leading the people of the island rather than worrying about the road being too sharp of a turn or overcoming a hill or rocky road. The game should’ve automatically fixed the issue rather than forcing players to problem solve for 5-10 minutes.
Among the creative attractions of Tropico 3 was the presentation and atmosphere the title has in droves. Evolving from a shantytown to an apartment-driven community, Tropico 3 is as authentic as they come. The music, even if it runs on a short cycle, was inviting and never intrusive. The satirical commentator who reads the news about the often poor business decisions of the player was insightful and aides in improving areas that are clearly lacking.
Containing a 15-mission campaign, short tutorial, sandbox mode and special challenges, Tropico 3 has enough replay value to keep players at bay for more than a month. If that doesn’t satisfy the hunger, players are eligible to jump online and download user-created challenges to overcome. With dictators such as Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, Tropico 3 is an educational and entertainment piece that is well-deserving of a few playthroughs by all gamers.