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Tropico 3
PC, XBox 360

Reviewed on: PC

Publisher: Kalypso
Rated: "T" for Teen

CHEATfactor Game Review
by Joe Sinicki

Audio/Visual: 6
Gameplay: 5
Lasting Appeal: 5
Overall: 6
CHEATfactor: 6

The world of politics has always played an important part in my life. While that may sound like the opening of a junior high civics essay, it’s true. My mother, grandmother and several of my aunts have all been very active in the local if not national political world. Perhaps that’s why games like Civilization and Tropico have always appealed to me.  I love to see just how my decisions affect not only the people around me, but the entire world.

Let’s get this out there right away – Tropico 3 is not only the best game of the franchise; it’s one of the best games of the genre, and with games like Civilization 4 -- that’s saying something.  Featuring breathtakingly detailed visuals, an imaginative and interactive world at your disposal and one of the most rewarding gameplay engines in quite some time, Tropico 3 won’t exactly start a revolution, but it is a game that should be experienced.

Like previous installments of the series, Tropico 3 puts you in the role of El Presidente, a fictional leader of a fictional Latin island named Tropico. Unlike other city building types games, Tropico does a decent job making you feel like a leader and not just a business man. Starting off with just your palace and a few key buildings, it’s your job to lead your little slab of tropical paradise. Just how you do that is up to you; do you lead with an open palm, creating open relationships with allies or rather an iron fist – making an example out of all that oppose you?

"’ll have to consider everything from your country’s educational system to health care."


The key to Tropico’s appeal is unquestionably its depth. You won’t be tasked merely with building up the industrial aspect of your country; instead you’ll have to consider everything from your country’s educational system to health care.  You can choose to hire from outside your country for a quick fix, or take the time to build up your own school system in hopes of hiring within. Add the fact that you’ll have to monitor everything from your relations with world powers to minor details like agriculture and night life – and the life of El Presidente is a busy one.

Most of the fun you’ll have with Tropico 3 is in the game’s sandbox mode. That’s not to say that the campaign isn’t fun, but that some of the missions are a little frustrating and repetitive. In sandbox mode, you’ll be free to run your island without the objectives the campaign mode gives you. It’s also here that you’ll learn a good portion of just what makes your country and the game in general tick. There’s a lot of trial and error in Tropico 3 and it’s best to not have to experience that trial and error gameplay while your country’s well-being is on the line.

Tropico 3 is an absolutely gorgeous game – plain and simple. Even the most minor detail in your island is rendered with enormous care and detail. I was very surprised to see that even when zooming in as close as possible, the game still looked spectacular. Just try not to marvel at the amazing water or distance effects. As impressive as zooming in is – it’s somewhat more satisfying to take a step back and take a look at all of the action taking place on your island.  It’s really hard to see a technical feat like that, and not be impressed.

"...making you feel like you are the country’s leader..."


From time to time, you’ll see El Presidente wandering throughout your island (mainly to survey economic growth or fight against a rebellion) – and oddly enough he’s rarely a controllable character. Got that? You’re El Presidente….but you can’t control him.  The level of depth in this game does an amazing job making you feel like you are the country’s leader, but seeing that leader roam around the island on his own accord took me out of the gameplay incredibly. Thankfully it doesn’t happen often – but when it does, you’re going to wish it hadn’t.

Another issue I had with the game was just how inane some of the tasks were.  A major portion of the game’s progression is the ability to build roads to connect your integral industries, and open trade routes. That being said, you’ll often find yourself having to come up with ways to fit roads in the smallest of spaces – which again comes down to trial and error. What’s worse – it’s surprisingly hard to demolish rock when you screw up in some spaces. When money is so important to your country’s success, and ultimately your success in the game, the trial and error gameplay becomes increasingly more frustrating.

Tropico 3 is a great game with a few kinks that keep it from being an incredible one. You’ll enjoy this one, as long as you have the time to devote to it, and the patience to pick play through its flaws. Fans of the series have found a new standard, and those looking to try out the genre have found a great jumping in point with Tropico 3



CHEATS USED: Cheat Codes, Trainer

I remember playing Sim City in grade school and loving the cheats for more money and tools.  The cheats in Tropico 3 make me feel like I’m back in that computer library – they’re fun and useful.  Don’t have enough money to give your people a decent health care package and a good school system? Hit the pesos cheat to gain a quick $20,000.

Using this cheat, developing my island become incredibly easier as I was able to spend to my heart’s desire, but still build up my defense force. Don’t feel like using the cash on an army? Use the muerte cheat to instantly kill of a unit.

Unquestionably, the game’s best cheat is the content cheat, which raises your citizens happiness by 10 points. This cheat gives you the ability to do whatever you want, even rule the island as an unfair dictator and still have happy citizens.



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