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Tropico: Be the leader of a virtual country

Screengrab from a video game Tropico 3 (PC)

Screengrab from a video game Tropico 3 (PC) from Kalypso Media. for Explore LI / Kevin Amorim - tech page ltc Credit: screengrab/screengrab


RATING T for Teen


Tropico 3 is not unlike last year's Dawn of Discovery for the Wii, though it is more involved and informative. Players can choose from several prefabricated leaders, such as Fidel Castro, Che Guevara and Augusto Pinochet, or create their own from scratch.

Each has several personality traits. Some are positive: A hardworking leader boosts all production, for example. Others are negative: A womanizer will find it tough to impress the religious community or educated women.

Leaders all have two of each type of trait, along with a personal background and method for taking the presidency; these aspects influence their effectiveness and how certain groups will react to them.

Whatever their traits, a leader would do well to keep the people happy, providing jobs, food, spiritual fulfillment, housing and education.

The main thrust of the game, whatever the player's style, is to build a strong economic engine based on crop and mineral exports, tourism and fees. Foreign aid and trade deals also may contribute to the national treasury, as can contracts with corporate interests that may or may not seem beneficial a few years down the line. And, of course, a savvy dictator squirrels some money away in a Swiss bank account.


PLOT The player is installed as dictator of a fictional Caribbean country.

DETAILS PC, $40; Xbox 360, $50

BOTTOM LINE Be an informed dictator

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