Tropico: Paradise Island Review

Last year Tropico provided gamers with a great little banana republic sim that gave them the opportunity to rule over their own Caribbean Island.  Benevolent dictator or iron-fisted despot, the choice was up to the player.  We won't go into the details of that game here, because if you're reading this review, it is already quite likely that you own the original game and are deciding whether or not to buy the Paradise Island expansion.  So without further ado, let's look at what's new in the expansion.

Paradise Island draws its name from its focus on your island's tourism trade.  A host of new tourist attractions and accommodations have been added to the game, which provide varying levels of appeal to budget-conscious, spring break partiers, average tourists, upscale clientele, or even eco-tourists.  Tourists will now be able to stay at time-share condos and beach villas while spending their money at marinas, nature preserves, duty free shops, and more.  Some of the new attractions will also serve to provide entertainment for your citizens.  These include movie theaters, museums, conservatories, and even the childhood home of El Presidente yourself.  The plethora of new tourist structures allows players to pursue the path of turning their island into a tropical playground better than in the original game.  A strong tourist trade is a great way to please your capitalist faction without having to resort to destroying your environment with a lot of heavy industry.

To further help players build their tourist trade, a couple of new edicts have been added.  A Spring Break Package increases your island's tourism rating and brings more spring break tourists.  A World Geographic Special will increase your tourism rating, increase your respect among several of your island's factions, and bring more eco-tourists to your island.

Should you want specific challenges, several new scenarios are provided that have a tourist bent.  The degree of difficulty in these is diverse enough to please newbies and challenge veterans alike.

The game's military aspect also receives some new additions in Paradise Island.  Players will now be able to convert colonial forts on the island into dungeons and build army bases.  Not only does the latter structure help exert government control, but it also provides housing for military families, and provides them with inherent health care, religion, and entertainment services.  There are also new scenarios to play that have a military focus to them.