Sid Meier's Pirates

Format: PC
£34.99 / £39.99 (Collector's Edition)

3 546430 111581 / 3 546430 113042
Age Restrictions: 12+
03 December 2004

Become a Pirate Captain in the 17th century Caribbean amassing fortune and fame in an attempt to seize your rightful place as one of the most revered (and feared!) pirates in history. Test your skills as a sea captain exploring the high seas and exotic ports in a richly detailed 3D world. Overtake the enemy and seize valuable booty. Exchange plank-shattering broadsides in fierce naval battles, and engage in duels with worthy opposing captains...

Sid Meier's Pirates is a breath of fresh air in a marketplace where few original games exist. In fact, it's very difficult to compare this to any other game on the market at present. It will be a bit of a surprise to younger gamers out there to learn that this was originally a hit back in 1987 on the old C64. Sure the graphics, sound and gameplay have come on leaps and bounds, but the heart of the game is basically the same (with some much needed technological advancements though).

You start the game working on behalf of the Dutch, Spanish, English or the French. But don't worry about staying faithful to your chosen nation - you are a pirate. And, if you so decide, you can attack the ships of your own country.

As your reputation and skills grow, so will the size and quality of your crew, and your ability to take on larger enemy ships, raid and plunder heavily fortified ports, and locate ancient treasure. There's a whole cast of interesting and dangerous characters to meet, mysteries to solve, exotic island destinations to discover, and powerful alliances to forge.

Just about every ship battle will start with cannon fire and end with one ship being boarded. And when you've successfully taken out a ship you can take their treasure as well as their crew - if you want them.

But it's not all ship battles - although it is mostly. You can win the heart of a woman - impress her with exotic gifts and then charm her with your dancing prowess (which is a mini game all in itself) or look for lost relatives and other similar quests.

The only downside to this game is that spending long stretches at sea can be a bit of a bore sometimes, but you're never far away from some excitement or other.

If you spent many hours on the original, you will be in heaven with this updated version. And if you never played the original, boy are you in for a treat. And I'm very proud of the fact that I managed to review this game without once quoting some clichéd pirate line - attempting to pass it off as a clever pun. Out of 10, I give this game a pieces of...

Nick Smithson (I can't believe I just said that!)

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