(Editor’s Note: It is bad enough that Steam runs regular season sales. Now that I have discovered Humble Bundle, I’m destined to live the rest of my life in poverty. At least I won’t have enough money to do anything besides play through my massive back log of games.)
A few months ago, Humble Bundle offered Tropico 4 for free for some reason. Never one to turn down cheap–or, in this case, free–games, I got the code and loaded it into my Steam account. I have been using my tank Acer laptop. While it survives almost everything, it can’t run even the most basic game. Therefore, my treasure remained unplayed until I was able to upgrade the desktop to a respectable gaming PC.
Well, I am sorry to report that it still remains largely unplayed. I downloaded it and have been working through the tutorial, but the computer is having issues. Randomly, it will freeze and buzz. The frustrating part is that there is no BSOD. At least in that case, I could Google the error code and have a starting point. Instead, Googleing “Windows 10 freeze and buzz” has produced results ranging from bad memory (tested, but more on that later) to a sound control conflict (tested). I also removed a second monitor because it might have been an HDMI adapter conflict (nope!) The last possibility is that it is overheating. I will check that soon because so far I’m enjoying what I’ve played of the game and want to provide an in depth review. An update: I checked temps and it isn’t that, either. I think that it might just be an issue with Windows 10 at this point. Next step, installing Windows 7. I hate the Windows monopoly.
Okay, an update. I downloaded the image file for Windows 7 and downgraded the computer. I say “downgraded”, but so far it has been upgraded to an actual working computer. A little more than 24 hours and I am happy to report no freezing and no buzzing, so that’s a positive development. Hopefully, it isn’t just a hiccup and I can get to playing some SimCity with Banana Republic flavor.
I’m happy to report that they “pepper” that “flavor” in just the right mix of “seasoning” to create the perfect “recipe”. Holy, cow, that was a lot of wordplay in one sentence. I might need to take a break afte that one. No! I’m strong enough to power through. The fans need me.
The game opens with an “everything is fine” splash page of a hot air balloon accompanied by a quote from a famous historical leader like GWB saying, “This would be so much easier if it was a dictatorship.” (Note: This is not a political statement. It is simply the only one my brain remembers right now.)
The loading screen fades, predictably into the game menu. I clicked on the “tutorial” option. I’m not sure why I did so. I almost never play though the tutorial of any game and I’ve played so many of these city building type games–especially since they are so revalent on mobile–that I’m pretty sure that I’ve got the basic idea of city building games. You build cities, right?
However I ended up in the tutorial, I was driven by the same strange compulsion to finish it. Even as the first set of missions took me through the very basics of camera control and city building, I continued to click through to mission set #2.
What kept me coming back for more inulting tutorial game play? That banana republic flavor, Man!. The AI guides you through this abuse with the simulated voice of your mentor, Generallisimo Santana. The vignettes between missions are humorous enough to keep even this jaded old man gamer scrolling in and out.
Final Note (I hope): Well, the freezing came back and I had no idea that I was able to skip over tutorial missions that I had played before. Therefore, I must have played through the first mission at least a dozen times in between restarts and fits of swearing. However, I have finally figured out what the problem is and it had nothing to do with anything other than a faulty RAM stick. So, about checking that as I said earlier…apparently, I hadn’t done so thoroughly or properly.
The remaining tutorial missions offer no surprises and simply cover the rest of the mechanics unique to these types of games. But, the voice and humor alone made it worth my while to play through them even if they taught me nothing.
The tutorials got me into the game and they got me interested in the game. I guess, on that front, they did their jobs. I’ve found another game to occupy the free time that I don’t really have. Seriously, though, if you are like me and don’t have the money to spend on Civ 6 right now, you are tired of the city building games in your library, but you still want control over thousands of expendable virtual lives (that somehow become like family, at least to me), then drop the 15 bucks for Tropico 4. They also have a collector’s edition with addons for $30. I haven’t played any of them yet (another article idea!), so I can’t recommend them as of this article.
If you’re really cheap, you can wait for it to be included in a Humble Bundle–or maybe as one of their free deals again–or buy Tropico 3 for 99 cents. Again, I can’t vouch for that game, but what do you have to lose other than a buck and a few megs of hard drive space? Heck, you could get 3, 4, and 5 for less than Civ 6. And people wonder why I do my video game shopping in the clearance section. I need money for my newly rediscovered Magic habit.
Viva la resistance! No, wait, that’s not right. Vive el jefe!