by Sergio Brinkhuis
reviewed on PC
Viva El Presidente!
While those pesky rebels have tried to kill and bury you for years, you’ve proven hardier than anyone had held possible. It is obvious that they, the Russians and even the Americans have underestimated you and they are about to do so again. You are, after all, El Presidente, and it is time for a glorious return to Tropico!
Tropico 4 puts you back in control of your very own banana republic, though this time you will be building an empire, not a one-island nation. Actually, that’s not quite true. The campaign consists of 20 missions, each on a different island, with intermissions detailing your grand plan of creating an empire to rival the Americans and Chinese, one island at a time.
Islands in the stream
Each island has its own layout and natural resources and comes with a unique set of challenges. The challenges are varied and, as one would expect from a Tropico game, filled with humorous references. In one of the earlier missions, you are tasked to achieve five world records, starting with growing the world’s largest Papaya.
Just as your first farms are being populated by your workforce, a lady tells you that the contest is out the window because people have started fighting wars over it and threatens to dramatically drive up the prices of building materials on your island if you don’t stop. Luckily, your advisor Penultimo (who according to the island’s teacher can’t spell his own name without making five mistakes in it) tells you not to take her seriously.
Naturally, each mission revolves around building up your economy, but the challenges manage to put a significant spin on how you need to go about doing that. Where one mission pushes you towards tourism, the other forces you to mine the crap out of your island or build specific buildings that you might never have built without an incentive. Of course the island’s political factions throw another dynamic into the mix. Appeasing the environmentalists while having the island polluted by heavy industry is a difficult task and the communists won’t take any president seriously who tailors his economy towards tourism. On one map, the factions play a particularly strong role. The challenge here involves settling disputes between rivalling factions, pleasing one while ticking of the other to such a point that they lose all respect for you. Good luck trying to get re-elected in the early stages of this map, you will need it! To help you along, your achievements on previous maps sometimes yield a much appreciated and positive surprise when you start a new island.
Great campaign, best in the series.
Recycled graphics keep it from feeling like a new game.