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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.


Tropico Windows The Almanac provides a wealth of information about your populace in a pretty, graphical format.
Tropico Windows An apartment building awaiting construction.
Tropico Windows I can't lose! When elections come up, you can either ignore the peasants' cries or can manipulate the election. Or you can just assassinate your opponent.
Tropico Windows One decision you may eventually have to make is whether to be pro-United States or pro-Soviet Union as the Cold War heats up.

Promo Images

Tropico Magazine Advertisement
Tropico Magazine Advertisement
Tropico Magazine Advertisement
Tropico Magazine Advertisement


Alternate Titles

  • "热带岛国" -- Simplified Chinese spelling
  • "Тропико" -- Russian spelling
  • "Banana Republic" -- Working title

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

Fun, but nearly impossible! Windows Scott Monster (1009)
It would have been better if there had been more scenarios to play on Windows James Walter (274)
Game Rating 71% Windows William Shawn McDonie (1180)
If there is a latin expression to translate "Doh" for a game. This would be it. Windows Indra was here (20848)

Critic Reviews

FiringSquad Windows Jun 08, 2001 92 out of 100 92
Game Informer Magazine Windows Jul, 2001 9.25 out of 10 92
Gameplay (Benelux) Windows May 31, 2001 89 out of 100 89
4Players.de Windows May 01, 2001 87 out of 100 87
Gamer's Pulse Windows May 28, 2001 87 out of 100 87
GameStar (Germany) Windows May, 2001 87 out of 100 87
GameSpy Windows May 21, 2001 85 out of 100 85
Adrenaline Vault, The (AVault) Windows May 31, 2001 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars 80
Eurogamer.net (UK) Windows May 03, 2001 8 out of 10 80
AppleLinks.Com Macintosh Sep 03, 2001 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars 80


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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.

Related Web 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)
Contributed to by Jeanne (76206) and Ray Soderlund (3576)
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