aka: Banana Republic
Moby ID: 3937
Windows Specs
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Description official descriptions

Tropico is a real-time strategy game that mixes elements of Sim City, the various Tycoon games, and even a little of the Sims into a city-building, managerial type game in a unique location.

You are the recently elected/installed/victorious (depending on how you achieved office) president of a small Caribbean island named Tropico. Before you lies a small community of people and a lush, rich island to improve or exploit at your will. You can become a benevolent ruler who brings this third world country into the realm of economic superpowers or you can be a ruthless dictator whose sole goal is to leech as much personal wealth as he can from the populace before they get the courage to rebel.

Using a modified engine from their previous game, Railroad Tycoon II, PopTop Software utilizes isometric graphics on a 3-D terrain to represent the island. Clouds float overhead, sometimes throwing lightning down, people walk from their homes to their chores, and hills and forests get leveled in the name of progress. All this happens at the user-specified speed and its the main user interface as players specify new construction, lay down edicts, and keep tabs on their citizens.

Each citizen is his or her own entity, with their own names, relationships to other citizens, wants and desires. Some feel the need to excel in studies, others seek religious enlightenment, some just want a good time. They even take political affiliations and work towards those ends. The citizens of Tropico do not blindly follow orders, they must be persuaded through meeting their desires, or just pure greed or terror. If you wished, you could follow the life of a citizen from childhood through his/her teenage years, through the course of several jobs, all the way to retirement and death.

A single-player only game, there are both set scenarios and random islands to play through, with various difficulty levels including a sandbox mode that allows you to play around without worrying about money or political ramifications.


  • Тропико - Russian spelling
  • 热带岛国 - Simplified Chinese spelling

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Credits (Windows version)

111 People · View all



Average score: 82% (based on 38 ratings)


Average score: 3.9 out of 5 (based on 68 ratings with 4 reviews)

It would have been better if there had been more scenarios to play on

The Good
The music was certainly good and the graphics were excellent. There was also a lot of information about the people on your island. Each person had their own name, country of birth, house and family. When I first saw this amount of detail, I thought that this game could be worth the £30 I paid for it. However, I was wrong.

The Bad
The limited number of maps available. You can either create your own island are play one of the ingame scenarios. I played a couple of the scenarios (there are only six in total) and created a couple of my own islands and after this I got a bit tired.

The Bottom Line
Overall, the idea for the game was good: run a small Carribean island for anything up to 70 years. The information available for each person was also outstanding. However, the limited number of game worlds meant that the replayability of the game was relativley low. Perhaps I should have payed £20 instead of £30 or perhaps I shouldn't have bought it at all.

Windows · by James Walter (271) · 2001

Fun, but nearly impossible!

The Good
This game is rich in environment. The music is sublime and sets the mood. The graphics are a treat to watch, and match form and function. There is a tremendous amount of personality and charm imbued in gameplay.

The challenges of laying out a city will draw you in and force you to really think about how to accomplish what you need to do. The game is engineered to make you observe and think about how to lay things out.

The Bad
Its fairly easy in the beginning, but it starts to get really difficult as you approach the the 30 year mark. You can only stay in power as long as you are elected or maintain a force to stave off an attack. Even if you're doing a great job, the people will start looking at the things you may have failed and still vote you out of office.

There are a handful of missions, but hardly more than the ones that came as the demo.

The Bottom Line
Super tough, but addictive.

Windows · by Scott Monster (986) · 2006

If there is a latin expression to translate "Doh" for a game. This would be it.

The Good
I must admit the music (especially the opening music) is very entertaining. The first challenges on how to gain money for you island was kinda fun, but when you got that solved, its downhill from there...

The Bad
Seriously. I wonder if the makers of this game ever tried playing this game, or if they were ever gamers in the first place.

Let's start... First mistake in this game: NOT ENOUGH INFORMATION on basically everything. When you're used to these city-type simulation games, you're likely used to the fact that they give you information on every tool, icon, and stuff. This game was definitely made for those who don't read much...sigh. (plus no link between the manual while playing the game).

Second. NO CAMPAIGN GAME PLAN. Egad, making a game like this and the only thing to teach you is that one time tutorial. The campaign is only a stand alone game, no connecting stories or such, pretty shallow really.

Third....below please.

The Bottom Line
You'd find more challenges playing minesweeper for all I'm concerned. Experienced players should avoid this game at all costs, not even worth the mention. Somehow I get the feeling the makers weren't giving much effort in this game...

Windows · by Indra was here (20750) · 2002

[ View all 4 player reviews ]



The European version of the cover has a Castro-ish dictator standing on the island.

Designer diary

Tropico designer Phil Steinmeyer contributed a running series of articles to Computer Games magazine throughout the game's development. His topics ranged from play balance to determining and managing system requirements. He even mentioned designing the box and the reasons for the general/no general versions.


The game comes with a collection of biographical sketches of (in)famous world leaders such as Fidel Castro and Eva Peron.

Lou Bega

Lou Bega, a German musician and songwriter, appears as playable dictator. He also contributed a song which is exclusive to the German version.


The game was meant to be named Banana Republic (in reference to the real life Banana Republics), but it had to be changed to Tropico since there is a clothes brand named Banana Republic. Tropico means Tropic in Spanish (duh).


  • Computer Gaming World
    • April 2002 (Issue #213) – Best Music of the Year

Information also contributed by ClydeFrog, Jiguryo and Scott Monster.


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Related Sites +

  • Official Webpage (Mac)
    The official product page for the Mac version of Tropico on the publisher's website, which provides a profile of the game, as well as ordering information, among other such details.
  • Tropico
    Official game website

Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 3937
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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Ray Soderlund.

Macintosh added by Jeanne.

Additional contributors: Kasey Chang, Kic'N, Unicorn Lynx, Sciere, Zeppin, Klaster_1, Patrick Bregger, daniel celtic.

Game added February 19, 2020. Last modified February 28, 2024.