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Title: Pirates! (2nd Review)
Rom Player: FCE Ultra
Reviewer: Ray

Synopsis: Argh, me pirate's dream.
Where to start… Well, I thoroughly enjoy the game; since the first time I played it on the PC, and then on the NES, I was hooked for hours on end. The game is an RPG Strategy game in itself. One can choose a career with any nationality, be it the English, French, Spanish, or Dutch. Also, one can choose any time period on the Old Spanish Main, be it the beginning of the Spanish Empire in the New World where there is next to complete control over the Main, or to that of the late Golden Age of the Spanish Main, when each nationality takes hold of their holdings on the Main.
If you are new to Pirates!, stick to starting off at the lowest level of apprenticeship and working your way up. I recommend choosing fencing as your skill. Others have their distinct advantages, i.e. Medicine keeps you around longer on the Main.
Now as for time frame, I would not choose “No time frame selected.”
Now nationality choices, the Spanish are in control throughout the whole game and are very powerful. As far as control of the cities and ports on the main, however, towards the end of the time frames on through the 17th century, there are more nationalities permanently established, such as the English Virgin Islands and French Haiti, and the Dutch St. Eustasius, and St. Martin etc.
Hence, making the choice of the Spanish Nationality is more promising for the last few time frames. As for the English and French and Dutch, you can carve an empire for them in the beginning by capturing towns and installing a governor of your choosing. However, it does take great manpower. For instance, a garrison force of a town of say, 50 or so, will take about 150 plus to take the town and make the governor flee.
Also, you will begin in the game with Letter Of Marques, which will be your entitlement to join either nationality. It can be hard in a time frame where you have to be very diplomatic, as your sovereign nation could declare war on an allied nation you have been working with to gain title.
It can be hard at times, especially if you are allied with the Dutch or the Spanish, as the Dutch are what I always would like to call the Middle guys. The Spanish are always at war, due to the fact that you are on the Spanish Main, and everyone wants their share of the treasure. So it is hard if you are working, which I would suggest, to ally with a second country to increase titles. Usually, you need to catch enemy shipping, bring pirates to justice (the other guys), and plunder as many towns of the enemy's as much as possible, i.e. the Spanish. Now, the Spanish have a Silver Train and a Treasure Fleet, which moves up the coast from Panama, south of Nombre de Dios, and west of Cartagena. Now this, mateys, is the hot spot; between Nombre de Dios, north of Panama, to Caratagena, and to Rio De La Hacha before the Island of Curaco. The silver and treasure are very hot in that area. Stick to that region for capturing them. Check the ports there frequently. Also, captured pirates or hunters can tell you where the trains or fleets are at a given time, or you can hold them for ransom, and wait for a decent price from your neighborhood governor.
Now for sea battles, you can fight with your ship; a skirmish battle between the enemy ship and yours. I prefer ramming, or in case you don't want to hijack a ship, you can bombard it ‘til she is near sinking, and then when the ship is sinking, safely approach from an angle where her guns can't reach you, and she will strike her colors. Now you can also attack ports by land, and by sea. Usually, those are the towns that have forts. It can be very easy to raid towns without forts, as one just attacks town and automatically fights the captain of the guard, without going through the approach. Now by the approach, I mean that from the sea, you approach the fort with your ship and must reach it to beach and attack the fort. Watch out for the reefs and wind. Then there is the land battle. What I like to do is lure the garrison out; I will take a small party and parade them about the fort while I have a second company in the nearby woods for cover. While garrison is away, you can approach without being attacked, but you need to wait while the garrison is clear of you.
Now in the town, you can visit the governor to get advice and missions, as well as the current situation of your nation on the Main, and you can make pleasantries with the lovely daughter of the governor(s). If they approve of you, they will collect information on the locations of the trains and fleets. Also, wait until you are 29/30 to marry at the least, as you’ll have status with your titles.
The Governor will issue titles upon completion of deeds and/or missions. He will give the locations of Spaniard informants that know the whereabouts of your family, who were sold into indentured servitude on the Main. You can find up to 4 family members; your sister, father, mother, and uncle. Each one will have a piece of a map to a different lost Inca treasure. You can collect up to 4 different treasures, one for each family member. The key to finding family members is memorizing locations and areas; it will take some time. You can also get more pieces to the map by fulfilling more deeds, and in gaining a title; you improve your reputation and status, as well as titled land acreage.
Now if you like to plunder everything in towns and on ships, be sure to sell your plundered goods at a fort town, at the town merchant, to get extra gold. The merchant there also serves as a shipwright in the repairing and buying of ships of yours. Now the tavern is a great place to obtain news on the Main, as well as recruiting and getting info about cities on the Main. There will be one eye-patched, heavy set gentleman who will sell you information on certain cities, and also a treasure map seller, who will sell you a piece of a treasure map for 600 pieces.
Well, how to end it… The sound is great while in the town (a lively attitude), but mostly, you are on the Main sailing, and for some, it can be repetitive and rather tedious sailing from port to port.
But hey, if you’ve got your stereo or mp3 player, turn on your own tunes.
However, the game itself is a great RPG Strategy, and is certainly worth a broadside.
You will get hooked.

Best Cheats: Nada Mateys.

Game Play: 10
Graphics: 5
Music/Sound: 5
Originality: 10
Overall Rating: 10

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