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Tropico 4: Apocalypse – PC Game DLC Review

Developer: Haemimont Games

Publisher: Kalypso

Author: Jim Zabek

Sandy beaches, tropical islands, piña coladas, tourists, and perky salsa music. No, I’m not day dreaming like the Zac Brown Band, I’m playing Tropico 4’s latest DLC, Apocalypse. Apocalypse offers a single new mission, How I Learned to Love the Bomb, a new skin for El Presidente, a new trait, Survivalist, and a new building, the Fallout Shelter.

Does this hazmat suit make me look fat?

Does this hazmat suit make me look fat?

I hadn’t played Tropico 4 in over a year but when the new DLC came out I figured I’d drop $5 for it and see how it treated me.

I loved it. The scenario weighs in at 168% of normal difficulty and it took me all weekend to beat the mission. True to its roots I was faced with all the normal challenges of running a banana republic. Elections are held every 10 years (unless I were to take totalitarian steps against them), my people needed to be fed, sheltered, and their economy managed. The happiness of the various political factions was always hanging in the balance and there was never a point where someone wasn’t unhappy with how I was running things.

But in addition to the normal challenges faced in Tropico 4, the Apocalypse DLC placed me in new and dangerous territory: a tip from Agent Sasha informed me that nuclear war was “imminent.” Her definition of imminent and mine might differ slightly (some decades passed before I was able to win the scenario) but, as will all things Tropican, you can’t take things too seriously. Setting the plot, giving me a plausible sense of urgency, and plopping an extra $30,000 into the Tropican Treasury, my first task was to build the new building, a nuclear bomb shelter. Easy enough. With that out of the way the real work began.

Not the typical news you expect when you take office.

Not the typical news you expect when you take office.

At its surface the objective to win the scenario seems easy: recruit four political factions to join you in the shelter. In practice this is more difficult. Creating policies that make you popular with a particular faction don’t help. Instead you have to accomplish a series of what otherwise might appear to be “optional” tasks. None are particularly easy or cheap.

(SPOILER ALERT)

Environmentalist, for instance, demanded I build five different satellite dishes for them. The dishes have some utility in the game, but having five is going well beyond their utility. They’re expensive. But failure to build them would mean you won’t bring one of the necessary factions into your shelter. There doesn’t appear to be a mechanism to unselect a faction once you offer it shelter (it’s supposed to be secret from the larger community) and you won’t know what the task to complete is before you choose the faction.

Mmmmm...gold!

Mmmmm…gold!

Another faction required I hire a specific number of employees in various buildings. As I approached having the number I needed one or more would often quit their jobs. I was forced to raise the salary for the occupation to rather high levels. That helped…some. Eventually I ended up hiring a slew of (expensive) foreign experts to come in and fill the slots. All of this is, of course, part of the fun and challenge of running Tropico and I was elated and relieved when I finally managed to successfully woo all four factions into my shelter.

Most DLC are priced at micro-transactions and provide a small but enjoyable boost to content. Apocalypse is no exception. Inexpensive, challenging, and fun it’s a tropical delight that got me back into playing Tropico and loving every minute of it.

Winning another honest election!

Winning another honest election!

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