Maxis turns 25 years old next year and one of their most influential titles of all time SimCity is just a year younger.  That’s give you an idea just how long city sims have been around, the title that put them on the map was sharing computers with mostly educational games such as Oregon Trails.  Computers were supposed to be for work or typing, in some cases both.  I remember being in high school and how cutting edge it was to be writing our senior year school paper on computers, and how one day a friend brought in SimCity changing how we looked at computers forever.  So to bring this waxing nostalgic story to an abrupt conclusion, I was playing SimCity in 1989 when it came out and I am pretty sure there hasn’t been a year that has passed since then that I haven’t been playing one sim title or another.  Certain titles become mainstay and certain companies, like Kalypso, become ones you associate with solidly built fun sims.  If you are a fan of this genre at all you should have heard of the Haemimont and Kalypso collaborated title Tropico and it’s various installments and DLCs.  If you have played them but not gotten to installment four in the series there is no better time than now and if by some misfortune you have not played them at all go out right now and get Tropico 4 Gold Edition and you can read the rest of the review while you are waiting for it to finishing installing and updating.


As the president of a tiny Caribbean island, it’s up to you to lead your country to greatness! Will you be a benevolent and tolerant leader, or a power-mad dictator? Will your economy rely on tourism, farming, big business or cheap sweatshops? The decisions you make will shape the future of your island, and more importantly, the size of your off-shore bank account.

However, time waits for no-one, not even El Presidente. The world is changing and Tropico is moving up with the times: geopolitical powers rise and fall and the world market is dominated by new players with new demands and offers – and you, as El Presidente, face a whole new set of challenges. If you are to triumph over your naysayers you will need to gain as much support from your people as possible – whether with the carrot or the stick is your choice.


Tropico 4 Gold Edition is the ultimate city building experience, including: Tropico 4 and the “Modern Times” expansion.

  • Become the heroic leader, or a despicable despot as your customized El Presidente avatar makes decisions for the good or ill of the people
  • Two extensive campaigns consisting of more than 30 unique missions including the new “Modern Times” campaign
  • More than 100 buildings in total, including the stock exchange, shopping mall, aqua park, car factories and shuttle launch pad
  • Face interactive real-time disasters including volcanoes, droughts and tornadoes
  • Council of Ministers – Elevate citizens to government positions to help push through your more controversial decisions
  • National Agenda – Receive objectives from Tropican factions, foreign powers and secret societies
  • Sandbox mode for custom games, with improved map and scenario editor for endless replayability

Hands On:

This is not my first Tropico game and not my first hand at Tropico 4 though this is my first time to play “Modern Times.”  When it comes to a gold edition of a game it is really important to consider whether or not to include all the content associated with the game to date or concentrate on the one that gives the most dynamic story.  “Modern Times” seemed the perfect choice to go with because it keeps the original storyline concept and just advances it into an extended timeline whereas most other DLCs were more of tangents or just extra content.  If the two campaigns aren’t enough all of the other DLCs are available but this combination gives a nice linear play.

If you are familiar with city sims in general you have an idea of certain things that need to happen and buildings that need to rise in order to get a functioning city started, Tropico is no different in this basic way. It is how you build your political, social and economic that make this sim unique.  Basically you have been given the chance to build a better Cuba, and what would make Cuba better is really up to the player.  You may believe Castro was too lenient or should have gone towards capitalism instead of communism or should have turned the island into Club Cuba with resorts and water slides.  Or maybe you feel Cuba should have gone for another geographically isolated location, like the moon?  You find yourself trying to please the people, interest groups, foreign lobbyists and other nation’s agendas while deciding whether or not you need better healthcare for your people or a new lumber mill to boost the economy first.  Then just when you think all your plans are in order and your future looks perfect you discover a dormant volcano is no longer feeling so dormant or the tropical storm off your coast just turned into a hurricane.  There goes Si World, Cuba’s first aqua park on the beach.

You can also decide how in depth you want to manage your people.  At any time you can select any individual in the game and get vital statistics on them or you can mostly rely on the Almanac, a much more broad summary for your information, you can build only what missions ask for or you can try to be pre-emptive and anticipate the next concern or just see what else you can accomplish while working within the mission parameters.

The great thing about the Tropico sims and Tropico 4 Gold in particular is the variety of choices of how to play so that it truly is never the same game twice whether you are playing through the missions trying to fulfill agendas and overcome obstacles or playing the game in sandbox mode where you customize your game and make your own mission plans.  There is even a map and scenery editor so you can make your own missions and lands so that maybe you decide you want to know what would happen if a dictator took over Hawaii and tried to build itself into a succeeded nuclear country? (someone build that one for me!  I would do it myself but you see how many games I play!).

Last Call:

The sky isn’t even the limit on in Tropico 4 Gold because you can make your island home part of the space race.  The variety of gameplay and leeway with missions and scenarios make it a keeper game for plenty of replay and when you throw in sandbox mode and map and scenario editor then the only limits to this game, particularly this Gold Edition, is your mind.  You are El Presidente, the world of Tropico is yours.




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Dustin "Ripper71" Thomas has been a staff writer with for over 10 years and has taken on the role of Editor with a brief stint as Editor-In-Chief. He is also a co-founder of @IsItOctoberYet where he covers haunt nightmares, amusement park fun and Golden Knights hockey.