A magical tropical city-building simulator, or how I got nostalgic

A magical tropical city-building simulator, or how I got nostalgic

For some reason, I always remember the Tropico games with special trepidation, but that only applies to the first two projects. The greatest number of hours were recorded in them, and all attempts to be absorbed by new releases did not find a response in the soul. Every time I tried to sit down to modern parts, I got bored very quickly, and the soul demanded to go back to the roots. This was immediately followed by the installation of one of the first two parts, which together took me to the beginning of the zeros. Flashbacks flashed through my head one after another, and this pleasant feeling of lamp nostalgia, awakened in the heart by the motifs of the great Tropico soundtrack, was sometimes replaced by sadness due to the irreversibility of long-gone times.

Despite the great age of the first games in the series, they still look and play quite nicely. Or maybe it’s all about nostalgia, which makes you overlook the problematic areas of projects? In today’s article, I will try to analyze whether the first part of Tropico should be played in 2024, and how good it is by modern standards (I will leave the second part for the future). Well, as a bonus, so that you can dive into the past with me, I will post an archive with an installer of the official reissue of 2006 and a Russifier, as well as a fully installed and ready-to-run assembly – download and play! I did not forget about Tropico 2 together with a separate Russifier.

It is worth starting with the question: what is the game about? Tropico is a real-time economic strategy where you have to try on the skin of Fidel Castro (or any other ruler of a Latin American country) and rebuild your banana republic. You need, as in other city-building simulators, to create and develop your city, paying attention not only to replenishing the budget, but also to the needs of citizens. As a true dictator, you are free to refuse to hold elections, or to hold them with fraud, which of course may not please your subjects. It is up to you to choose what and who to base your rule on, creating either a police state with a large army and police force, as well as the influence of propaganda on society, or go down the path of democratization. The needs of citizens are expressed by different parties, which ask you to pay attention to one or another problem in society: lack of food, lack of schools or churches, even the non-primary need for entertainment facilities will be voiced by your advisers. Pay attention to the requests of citizens or rule with a firm hand, imprisoning all dissidents and developing a repressive apparatus, otherwise power will slip away from you like sand through your fingers!

Do you know that I particularly appreciated Tropico at the time of its release? A distinctive feature of the game was the simulation of the behavior of each inhabitant of your island (if I remember correctly, competitors of those years did not have this). You could pick any citizen and see their views, worldviews, needs and desires, and hang a camera over them, monitoring their every move and watching their life unfold. This is what I liked to do in those years. Later, of course, it got boring, but at first it was really fun. Now such mechanics are unlikely to surprise anyone, but back then in 2003 it was interesting!

Before starting the game, you should decide on the mode. At your disposal are separate campaign scenarios created by the developers, as well as the possibility of starting on a random map with a choice of various properties that affect the difficulty (amount of resources, island size, initial number of inhabitants, victory conditions, etc.). The next stage is setting up your appearance, giving the hero positive and negative character traits, as well as determining the path by which you came to power. Each line of your biography carries both good and negative effects. For example, a libertine will have a low level of respect from women and the clergy, and an attractive leader due to internal charisma easily wins the hearts of his voters and has an increased effectiveness of appearances on TV and radio. In addition, you, like a real emperor, have the opportunity to open an account in a Swiss bank, where sums of money for various questionable actions will go. To be honest, I didn’t really understand why this was needed in the game, so I tried to work in my position honestly, without trying to engage in personal enrichment.

The management of the country, which is located somewhere in the Caribbean basin, starts in 1950, and this is the heyday of the Cold War! This is what will help you stay afloat. You can maneuver between two geopolitical hegemons in the person of the USA or the USSR, or choose someone’s side and get maximum support in the form of funding, exchange of technology that makes the production of some buildings cheaper, or even military cooperation, thanks to which your patron will build a military base on the island and monthly will pay for her stay!

For more subtle management, you have “Decrees” at your disposal, which point-wise affect various spheres of the life of the state. Here is the opportunity to introduce a dry law, and the right to imprison a politician you don’t like (who overtakes you in the elections), and free lunches, and much more, no less interesting! The totality of your decisions, multiplied by the issued decree, can potentially lead to an excellent result! For example, if you are strongly developing the tourism industry, rebuilding hotels, marinas, tennis courts and other facilities with an eye on the rich guest, issuing a decree on holding a carnival can encourage an influx of tourists. And launching an advertising campaign on the television of other countries to tell about an unforgettable vacation on your paradise island will help consolidate the result and help the industry!

You can try to develop all areas of life in your state gradually, or emphasize one thing, for example, to establish the production of furniture from tropical wood. Or maybe you want to start your own rum factory, becoming the second Cuba to export an excellent high-grade product to the world market? The project gives you many opportunities! Yes, this is not a very complex or deep game in its mechanics, but rather a pleasant and light product that charms with its music and general atmosphere. After launching Tropico and hearing the melodic motifs, you will be ready for a relaxed pastime right from the main menu. Therefore, if you want to get an interesting, meditative gameplay and enjoy the gradual development of a tropical state under your wise leadership, then Tropico is definitely your choice!

And for those who don’t want to search for and download this city-building tycoon on their own, in the Telegram channel “Old-fashioned Gamer” I posted both a fully installed and ready-to-play assembly, as well as a separate installer together with a Russifier. I added the second part as a bonus, and even its localization. Be sure to read the instructions in which I explained how to install Tropico and how to remove the frames around the edges. Enjoy the game!

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