We Just Played Tropico 3

Tropico 3 for the PC and the Xbox 360 is the upcoming sequel to the Tropico series, which has a tumultuous history. The original game was created by dearly departed developer PopTop Software, and the sequel was created by Imperialism developer Frog City. The third game is being developed by...

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Tropico 3 for the PC and the Xbox 360 is the upcoming sequel to the Tropico series, which has a tumultuous history. The original game was created by dearly departed developer PopTop Software, and the sequel was created by Imperialism developer Frog City. The third game is being developed by Haemimont Games, whose previous work includes Imperium Romanum and Glory of the Roman Empire.

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El Presidente, I presume?

In any case, the third game is clearly trying to capitalize on the strong points of the previous games by offering a city-building strategy game with a layer of tongue-in-cheek humor that makes not-so-subtle jabs at a certain other Caribbean island that became a socialist nation in the 20th century. The game comes complete with an jazzy soundtrack packed with upbeat Latin music that seems to work well with the game's look and feel--colorful island landscapes and interface screens reminiscent of red-ink-covered, typewriter-written documents from the 1950s.

The setup in Tropico 3 is much like that of the previous games--you are a new "presidente" who has come into power on the island of Tropico, and you must manage your land's agricultural output, exports and trade relations, and the general happiness of the proletariat. While the game has all the trappings of a standard city simulator, from hiring and firing workers at factories, farms, and other industrial sites to building key structures to fulfill your peoples' needs, it will all be wrapped up in a tongue-in-cheek, humorous presentation that begins with a tutorial from your obsequious advisor and carries through to the dictator you play as.

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Your custom dictator can be outfitted with a beret that will strike fear into the hearts of your enemies. Or, rather, the enemies of the state. Of course.

You can choose to play a pregenerated dictator, but you can also create a custom character that's either male or female from a variety of different looks, choosing from a variety of Karl Marx-esque beards for male characters and ballgowns and earrings for female characters. You can also choose a variety of different origins for your character (a scholar who was a political prisoner and accomplished a bloodless coup, a military strongman, and so on) and must choose both advantageous and disadvantageous traits. These include things like having ties with various factions, such as the military, the clergy, Soviet Russia (the communists), and the USA (the capitalists). Each of the advantages seems extremely powerful though each disadvantage also seems pretty severe, but they should help direct your gameplay style and foreign policy, your administrative policies, and the structure of your island-wide presidential speeches (which can be tailored to appeal to certain factions at the cost of losing support elsewhere).

Tropico 3 is scheduled for release in October.

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