Review by Gball1201

Reviewed: 11/23/05

A very fun, yet repetitive game

At the beginning of the game, you sit through a five minute cutscene showing how your family was kidnapped when you were a boy. Now, some 10 or 15 years later, you are a young pirate setting out to find your family - but you don't have to. You are given the option to play in one of five time periods (from 1600 to 1680). Depending on which time period you choose, the overall map changes. For instance, if you choose the 1600 time period, there will be many less towns to visit than if you had chosen 1660 and the Spanish rule basically everything.

Also at the beginning, you are able to choose a specialty for your pirate such as skill at fencing or skill at medicine (although there are a few others, medicine seems to be the best as your pirate will not live very long otherwise). Then you must choose to join up with one of four factions fighting in the area - the Spanish, the French, the Dutch and the English. Although you can change your relations with each faction later in the game by attacking ships and raiding villages.

And then the actual game begins. You start off with a small crew and a small ship but you can attack any other ship you see and, after defeating it in combat, you can either sink it or keep it. The more ships you have, the more cargo you can hold while plundering ships later in the game by stealing their supplies. You can also pull into any port at the beginning and visit several different people. The first is the governor of the town where you can be awarded for your accomplishments and eventually you can dance with his daughter whom you can later marry. Next you can visit the local tavern to recruit more sailors, talk to a mysterious stranger, the barmaid and the bartender all of whom will give you valuable bits of information. You can visit the merchant as well who you can buy and sell supplies to and from and the local shipwright who will repair and upgrade your ships at cost, although later in the game these upgrades and repairs become free as you plunder more enemy ships.

Eventually you will make some enemies and have the option to raid an enemy town in which you will either fight the Captain of the guard or engage the enemy in a land battle. Should you defeat these enemies, the town will be pillaged by your crew and you may have the option to change the town to the faction of your choice. Also during the game, you can hunt down and kill your rival pirates (all of whom were real pirates) and take their much better ships. Eventually your crew will become angry with you however and you will need to pull into a port to divide the plunder, where you will remain on land for several months before returning to piracy. Also it might be good to mention that your pirate may only be able to roam the sea for a good 20 to 25 years before sucumming to old age.

Pirates! looks great with very bright and colorful graphics and a steady frame rate. It also sounds very good, with pirate music playing in the background and the seagulls squawking as you pass. Overall the game is worth purchasing although the game will become repetitive over time.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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