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Mac gamers have waited nearly two years for Tropico 4 to make the leap to Apple hardware, but fortunately, Feral Interactive’s excellent port of the Gold Edition provides countless hours of micromanagement, world building, and tongue-in-cheek humor in a single, complete package. It's a title that should be in every Mac strategy fan's collection – that is, unless you already got your fill from the very similar Tropico 3: Gold Edition.
As the dictator of a small banana republic in the 1950s, Tropico 4: Gold Edition lets you shape the island nation of Tropico as you see fit, be it with the guiding hand of a caring father figure or the grinding boot heel of a ruthless dictator. But just because you're the all-powerful president-for-life doesn't mean that turning Tropico into a thriving, prosperous country will be easy. Dissatisfied citizens, poverty, a lack of skilled workers and resources, natural disasters, housing woes, global politics, and special interest groups are all hell-bent on turning your island paradise into a managerial nightmare.
Fortunately, there's no shortage of in-game advisors and tooltips to help you build what needs building, keep your people happy (or too scared to complain), and stay on good terms with the foreign superpowers, tourists, and trade partners that can make or break your country. And there are plenty of buildings and facilities to construct, such as housing and farms to provide for your citizens, sites like the Foreign Office to help take the sting out of negotiating with foreign powers, plus cigar factories and rum distilleries to provide trade goods that'll raise Tropico's monthly income.
That all sounds great, right? Well, it is – but much of it will also feel like old hat to owners of the previous entry. Just to make sure we weren't suffering from a wicked case of deja vu, we took Tropico 3: Gold Edition for a spin and found that little really has changed in the latest entry. That's not to say that there's no value here. Beyond the main game, Tropico 4: Gold Edition includes the Modern Times expansion pack, which provides 30 new buildings, numerous edits, and 12 fresh missions to explore. Fans craving more will find it here, but it's all strikingly familiar without significant enhancement.
The bottom line. Tropico 4: Gold Edition offers hours of strategy gameplay with the characteristic goofiness that’s made the franchise so successful, but there's little here we haven't seen before.
Mac OS X 10.7.5 or newer, 2.0GHz processor, 4GB RAM, 256MB VRAM
Great-looking game with tons to build, see, and do. Included expansion content provides 12 extra missions and a respectable amount more to explore.
Tropico 3: Gold Edition fans won't find much new to the approach. Graphical demands make for a diminished look on lower-end machines.