Port Royale

Format: PC
Ascaron/Big Ben Interactive
RRP: £29.99
4 014935 251136
Age Restrictions: 11+
Available now

The year is 1572 and you have ventured to the New World to try your luck. Not suited to these parts it is not long before you are set about by pirates, who sink your ship. Now you are stranded in the small town of Caracas and for the last weeks have toiled, with some other sailors, to restore an old sloop to seaworthiness. Now you must choose your destiny. Will you become a merchant, a pirate or a bit of both?...

Set in the Carribean during the time of European colonialism and imperialism, Port Royale sees the player accumulating wealth, rank and prestige in order to become the greatest seafarer on the ocean waves.

You can attack pirates or ferry food to starving colonies in order to increase you rating. You can also build communities and trade goods, eventually creating trade shipping routes between civilisations.

Being a pirate, finding treasure maps and looking for buried treasure and shooting down any vessel that comes your way, is great fun. But once you get used to the controls it's just as much fun to go about building a community.

The graphics are impressive - especially when attacking other ships, where you can see sailors on deck going about their business before you blow them to kingdom come. Alternatively you can become one of the good guys building plantations and store houses to produce your own goods. And the music and background sound effects help you get into the period.

While the game seems incredibly complex when you start it is not long before the tutorial has taught you everything you need to know to set off on your own.

The biggest complaint I have is that during the multiplayer game it is not possible to fast forward long periods where nothing happens. Therefore long seas missions become very, very boring.

An interesting game that will keep you enthralled for quite some time.

Nick Smithson

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