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Rule over a 17th century Caribbean island hideaway and all its unsavory inhabitants in this sequel to 2001's Tropico. As in the original, the player takes charge of an entire tropical isle, directing its development and seeing to the needs of its population. Instead of a 20th century Third World dictator, however, Tropico 2 players become "Pirate Kings." While the island domain is still the focus, players now govern over high seas brigands and captured peasants instead of indigenous laborers and ephemeral tourists. Commodities such as canned fish and souvenirs are replaced with goods like cannons and muskets. The goal is to create a perfect pirate paradise, with the bawdy appeal to attract talented buccaneers and the facilities to make sure they are properly trained and equipped.
As in the original game, a successful island provides its inhabitants with outlets for relaxation and entertainment, as well as the services and products needed for safety and growth. After a profitable raid at sea, most pirates like nothing better than a drunken night full of feasting, gambling, and "wenching," so it is best to provide opportunities for these activities. Yet even the most skilled pirates might not even make it back from such raids if not properly equipped in the first place, so wise rulers will also ensure their islands support the industry required to produce cannons, cutlasses, and muskets. Even the captured peasant laborers must be appeased to an extent, with basic provisions and religious accommodations, lest they lose all hope and revolt. Pirate needs and captive needs are often at odds, so much of the game involves developing a proper balance.
Certain pirate skills are especially desirable when sailing under the Jolly Roger. Navigation and seamanship help to steer the vessel true towards a profitable mark, then it takes skilled gunners and swordsmen to make quick work of the quarry. While players do not take direct control of the pirate ships that come and go from their hidden harbors, they can see that these vessels are manned by a well trained crew. They may also become familiar with the regular sea routes used by the English, Spanish, and French, allowing them to order their raiders towards the most profitable, least risky prospects. Diplomacy plays a role, as different Pirate King leaders take different countries as patrons.
Developed primarily by Frog City (Imperialism, Trade Empires), Pirate Cove is built squarely on the foundation of PopTop's original. While the subject matter of this second Tropico game is quite different from the first, many successful elements of play are retained. The Pirate King persona is defined by a number of qualities and character flaws that translate into leadership bonuses and penalties. Each citizen character is an individual, with its own name, attributes, and needs. Populations can be manipulated by the issuing of edicts. Once again, players may choose to prove themselves through increasingly difficult campaign scenarios, or create the ideal island hideout in a free-form Sandbox mode. Pirate Kings can even stow away a personal hoard of booty — just in case the winds shift unexpectedly. ~ T.J. Deci, All Game Guide