MicroProse's Pirates puts you in the boots of a pirate captain. In this combination adventure game and simulation, you amass your ill-gotten fortune by sailing around the Caribbean, trading with merchants, plundering cities, and attacking treasure-laden vessels.
Using the detailed paper map provided as a guide, you sail your fleet from city to city, taking advantage of the wind currents and avoiding shoals that could sink your ships. Using a crude astrolabe, you can approximate your position by taking a reading of the rising sun. As you sail the high seas, you're likely to encounter ships of varying sizes and origins.
If you choose to fight, you must maneuver your ship to a favorable broadside position and fire your cannons while at the same time avoiding return fire. If you make enough good shots, the enemy will surrender or sink. If you prefer a more personal form of combat, pull alongside the enemy ship and board it. You can then challenge the enemy captain to a winner-take-all duel. You use the joystick to control your animated character as you take on your foe in a deadly sword fight. If you win, you can take his ship as your own or plunder and sink it. If you lose, you're likely to be thrown in the brig and lose all of your possessions.
Follow the news closely and you can capture the Treasure Fleet in Pirates.
When you approach a port city, you can sail into port or attack and plunder the town. If you choose to attack, you can bombard the city and storm the fortress or land near the town and proceed over land to fight the local army.
You may decide to sail peacefully into the harbor. Once in town, you can visit the merchant to buy and sell goods (whose prices vary from port to port) and repair your vessels. You can also visit the tavern to recruit rowdy crew members and buy important information. Finally, you should visit the governor; he can make you special offers and bestow awards upon you. He might even introduce you to his beautiful daughter. You continue your travels until you're captured or you decide to divide the booty, disband your crew, and start over.
Microprose did an excellent job porting this game to the Amiga. The 64-color HalfBrite graphics are plentiful and detailed. The game comes on two non-copy-protected, hard disk-installable disks and has an 80-page manual chock-full of tips, statistics, history and folklore. Pirates will please both the arcade gamer and the simulation lover.
Amiga with 512K. 1MB recommended—$44.95