Tropic Blunders

Tropical islands can be dangerous places. They’re usually controlled by fascist dictators running the country to their own ends, they often have several gangs – each with their own quirky gimmicks, there’s occasionally a shady US military presence trying to overthrow the current president and replace him with someone nicer (read: more manageable) and you can’t throw a stone in the jungle without hitting a military outpost filled with troops hell bent on turning you into Swiss cheese but if computer games have taught us anything, which they have, it’s how to survive a holiday on a tropical island that’s in the middle of a revolution.

We Need Guns. Lots Of Guns
The first rule of any survival guide be it against zombies, aliens, Nazis, zombie Nazis, zombie aliens or political unrest on a South American island is to stock up on weaponry. Carry as many guns as you can, however this rule should really be prefixed with “buy a magical, Tardis-like backpack” because I shudder to think where you would hide a bazooka without one. Failing the acquisition of said magical backpack, sellotaping revolvers to your knees is an acceptable alternative. The next question you might ask is “where do I get all these wonderful toys?” Well it seems that, in most tropical islands, black-market weapons dealers are ten-a-penny and are all more than happy to show their wares to a complete stranger, so my advice is to approach random people and simply ask if they have any guns for sale. Who knows, they might even mistake you for a freedom fighter looking to save their town and give you a substantial discount.

I knew budget airlines were bad but this is ridiculous!

Where We’re Going, We Don’t Need Roads
Tropical islands are big places so, with that in mind, rule two is simple: find transport. Depending on the island you’ve chosen to visit, there are a number of ways to acquire a vehicle. You could do the civilised thing and buy one from either a reputable car salesman or from your less reputable friendly neighbourhood black-market trader but if you’re feeling slightly more adventurous you could try hijacking a military vehicle, although expect to be shot to hell and back. It’s also common knowledge that in such troubled countries, people willingly leave their car unlocked and the keys in the glove box, so you may want to take full advantage of their trusting nature by stealing a parked car off the roadside – although be careful that it’s not a specifically colour coded faction vehicle, they might get angry at you for taking their ride.

If cars and bikes aren’t your thing then you can usually find alternative modes of transport such as boats, planes and helicopters (because everyone knows that if you can drive a car, you can fly a plane) or if you’re feeling particularly brave you could also try base jumping off tall buildings. As Just Cause teaches us, you can travel the entire length of an island with inventive use of a rappel and a parachute, although you might get mistaken for Spider-Man and asked to save someone who’s trapped in a burning building.

Umm... a little help!?

All In The Family
Having friends in high places is always beneficial, no matter what your circumstances might be but on an island filled with bent cops and political unrest, becoming best pals with some of the local gangs and factions can help you out a lot. Maybe the authorities have decided that you shooting their captain was naughty and wish to teach you a lesson. Without any allies, you’d be highly outnumbered and have to escape in the first vehicle you can find (which is usually a rust covered old banger that seems to explode on sight). With a bevy of buddies from a local faction on your side however, you can let a gang war unfold on your behalf while you skulk quietly out of town. Having a few friends on the island might also provide you with monetary help, offering you jobs, weapons and vehicles in return for your loyalty.

Arnold Vosloo knows how it is... he's already practising for Natal

I Want My Mummy
Rule four is quite a tricky one: become Arnold Vosloo. On the list of Hollywood badasses, Mr Vosloo is pretty low on the list. Even as the near invincible mummy Imhotep, he managed to get his arse kicked by floppy haired comedy actor Brendan Fraser. Twice. For some reason however, Atari decided he was perfect to play Foreign Legion veteran Saul Myers in their distinctly average shoot-em-up Boiling Point: Road to Hell. Why he was chosen I don’t know, but as many games – including Boiling Point and Just Cause 2 – seem to point out, a prerequisite of surviving on a tropical island seems to be the use of terrible acting and stereotypical Mexican accents.

So there you have it, four simple rules for dating my teenage daughter… I mean four simple rules for surviving a revolution on a South American jungle island. Maybe next time you shouldn’t book a holiday in such a stupid location. I hear Iceland’s quite nice this time of year…

Last five articles by Iain



  1. Richie richie says:

    Reminders of Just Cause 2 are not welcome! ;)

    Poor old Vosloo as well. He has no luck….

  2. Iain says:

    Haha I love the main picture Markuz. I’m beginning to think that my Captain Scarlet pic has started a trend for you ;)

    Sorry Richie :P I actually quite enjoyed Just Cause 2 for a lot longer than I expected, although most of that time was spent using planes as makeshift missiles.

  3. Lorna Lorna says:

    Really enjoyed this :D Not just the fab Pix3l pic, the handy dandy guide was good stuff. Tardis like pockets are one of gaming’s must-have fashion items. You forgot a magical map which would instantly, even though shrouded by trees, tell you where you are and where to go next without even an annoying sat nav voice to be found…

  4. Iain says:

    “You forgot a magical map which would instantly, even though shrouded by trees, tell you where you are and where to go next without even an annoying sat nav voice to be found…”
    Oh yeah, survival fail on my part :(

  5. Samuel The Preacher says:

    It’s the Boo hat that sells this for me.

    Funny article as always, Pix.

  6. Mark R MarkuzR says:

    I enjoyed this immensely, even though I DID get a tad carried away with the front page image last night but hey… I can’t help myself… you started it :D

    I’ve decided that I want to be a fascist dictator actually, although I’m not sure what my agenda will be other than just killing people for not being me. I really like the sound of it, but I’m not too sure about the tropical climate.. may play havoc with my knees

  7. Kat says:

    Ha :D You should make these a theme – how to survive in the wild west, zombie apocalypse, sandbox world etc!

  8. Edward Edward says:

    I know Rob did one on surviving a Zombie apocalypse a while back, but I’d also like to see more of these for different themes or genres :)

  9. Adam Adam says:

    I started playing Just Cause 2 recently, any tips just for surviving that entire game?!

    Great take on such an overplayed medium, you have to love how games companies try and shovel us the whole 9 yards worth of warring factions, evil dictator, big guns and lots of pretty trees, all tied up with a nice story of revenge and liberation. You’ve clearly endured the worst of it togive us some sound advice Iain :D I really hope theres more of the same ilk to come :D

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