The Let's Play Archive

Republic: The Revolution

by Olive Branch

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Original Thread: You say you want a revolution? Let's play Republic: The Revolution!


The Glorious People's Table of Contents

What is Republic: The Revolution?
Republic: The Revolution is a real-time PC strategy game developed by Elixir Studios and published by Eidos Interactive in 2003. It is a political simulator set in a fictional post-Soviet, Eastern European satellite nation called Novistrana. Your goal as the player character is to guide your nascent political party to overthrow the corrupt, despotic President for Life. How you actually want to overthrow the government, however, is entirely up to you and your ideology...

A Russian satellite nation political simulator? How does that work?
The game revolves around getting support for your party from the people of Novistrana, and performing numerous political actions in order to meet the objectives for each city. There are other factions at work though, and they'll do their hardest to stop you and meet their own goals. Every character, district, and party has a different ideology. Republic: The Revolution has three "worldviews": Force, Influence, and Wealth. These three are combined in one way or another to define someone's ideology, and becomes very important in gameplay terms.

Force is the militaristic, strong-armed, working-class, even criminal approach to government and ethics. Force is not subtle, but the poor and oppressed like seeing a show of brute strength in these desperate times for Novistrana. The police, the military, the unions, and the criminal elements of society make the four Force professions. Force beats Influence in terms of effect: all that violence makes the academic elite queasy.

Influence is the educated, religious, middle-class, and "democratic" approach to government. Influence deals with pie-in-the-sky ideals and charismatic rhetoric of a new world order. Whether it is a progressive coalition in a congress via politicians, students and professors of the ivory tower bringing a more palatable view of Marx to the people, or a family-values, Eastern Orthodox priest bringing the word of God to the oppressed, Influence is a lot more peaceful. Influence beats Wealth: a bit of brains and intelligent debate makes the moneymen weak in the knees.

Wealth is the capitalistic, media-loving, upper-class approach to government. Wealth glorifies the free market and the success of the West can certainly be replicated in the natural resource-rich country of Novistrana, but a coalition of media figures, entertainment celebrities, and business tycoons is necessary to guide the naturally-born-to-lead elite and the nation to prosperity and respect. Wealth beats Force: when you have money and power, you can easily buy out the dregs of society.

Lastly, the interesting thing is that ideology is not static. As your faction chooses different actions to gain/attack support and strengthen/weaken characters, the inherent "ethics" of those actions will have an effect on your party's ideology as a whole. If your ideology begins to differ widely from your inner circle, they will begin questioning your views, and perhaps leave the faction if there is too much of a rift.

I am feeling oppressed and want to free myself from the government's yoke, but who are you?
I am Olive Branch, a newly registered goon who loves videogames and teaching. I picked up Republic: The Revolution when I was a teenager in 2003 after seeing it for sale in a Best Buy. I hadn't heard of this game before, but I was sold on the shiny box art promising a political simulator. Being that SimCity 3000 was one of my favorite games ever and I also had fun with more obscure games like Populous: The Beginning and Tropico, I thought R:TR was going to be a good buy.

Goodness me, that was a bad purchase looking back. R:TR has never been patched and some annoying bugs still litter the game. The gameplay can be a very annoying game of "political whack-a-mole" as the previous abandoned LP pointed out, with loyal support flipping back and forth way too easily between the factions. Possibly the biggest complaint people had at release date was the interface. Now, I've braved bad interfaces before. R:TR has a crappy interface, but I was able to eventually learn to learn the intricacies of it. Still, there's something about R:TR that just "feels" good, like a good premise that isn't entirely ruined by poor execution.

I recently installed R:TR after finding the CDs, and figured that this could be a very interesting game to LP in a narrative. I love political intrigue, and awesome LPs like Fangz's Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri LP, Moon Slayer and Deryl's SimCity 2000 LP, and Zoolooman's sadly discontinued Civilization IV LP were key to helping me understand just how these kind of games can become something... more. Even a game with a "story" like Republic: The Revolution can benefit from this.

How can I help in our glorious rise to power?
Republic: The Revolution is a very linear game, but it offers a number of paths to take depending on the objectives, even if they all lead to the same goal. For instance, our initial ideology and first hired lieutenant will affect the general direction of the first city's takeover. Freeing a political prisoner a few in-game days later will alter the objectives depending on who it is we freed.

I will leave it up to goon votes to decide what path of action to take in such branching moments, but I will also ask you, the loyal supporters of this revolution, to decide other courses of action once in a while, such as who to leave behind when we change cities, when and where to attack a particular faction's support, and so on. I will work all of your decisions in the narrative.

Speaking of narrative, I will do my best to update at least once a day, or once every two days at worst. In-game dialogue/canon will be written normally, but any commentary on my part will be in italics. As the game progresses I will be explaining game mechanics and other fun stuff at the end of each chapter.

Hold on a sec, the first chapter's setting looks suspiciously like Dystopian Rhetoric's opening for this LP...
I won't beat around the bush: I found that Dystopian Rhetoric's opening paragraphs (archives needed) for her Republic: The Revolution LP were pretty much perfect. I hate to call it plagiarism (even if that's what it is), but I asked Dystopian Rhetoric for permission to steal them. She gave it, so I went ahead and adapted the little "history lesson" in the first chapter.

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