Sid Meier's Pirates!


Review by Matt Paprocki

2K Games


Graphics: 8

Sound: 8

Gameplay: 9

Overall: 9


sidmeierspirates1_xbox.jpg (41235 bytes)I never realized this before just now -- Sid Meier's Pirates! is the original Grand Theft Auto. Think about it. You cruise around in your boat, you shoot other people's boats, you create a gang of not-so-nice people, and you take other people's turf. Sure, you use boats instead of cars and drink ale instead of hot coffee (cough), but Sid Meier's Pirates! for the Xbox takes the open-ended adventure feeling from GTA and brings it back to where it all started -- the open seas.

Pirates!, written by Sid Meier and published by MicroProse, first appeared on home computers like the Commodore 64 and Apple II way back in 1987. A port of the game was released for the NES in 1991, and an enhanced version, Pirates! Gold, appeared on many platforms, including the CD32, Genesis, Amiga and PC.

Sid Meier's Pirates!, now available for the Xbox, is essentially the same game it was almost two decades ago. Like the original (and Grand Theft Auto, for that matter), the game is completely open ended. Whether you decide to follow the game's suggestions is entirely up to you. Sure, you *could* seek revenge against the Spaniards who wronged your family -- or, you could simply sit around, shooting ships as they sail by in the ocean blue and acquiring food, treasure and a crew as you come across them.

sidmeierspirates2_xbox.jpg (36350 bytes)Once you've decided to which country your loyalty lies, the real game begins as you seek out ships from other lands and blow the crap out of them -- hey, you are a nasty pirate after all, right? As you stop in various ports across the land, you can do things like recruit new members for your crew or buy items. As you work your way up through the ranks, you'll spend time taking down enemies and dancing with various ladies across the land. Did I just say dancing? Yes, alongside your handiwork with a blade and your navigation skills, you'll have to perfect your dance moves in order to win friends, influence people, and get financial backing.

The rest of the adventure is up to you. You'll have to decide whether you wish to avenge your family, become a treasure hunter or an explorer, or become the finest dancer in the land -- and who knows, maybe you'll do all three! Sid Meier, author of such games as Civilization, Colonization, Railroad Tycoon and Alpha Centauri, understands where the fun in gaming lies -- not in complex controls, but in allowing the gamer to go on an adventure. Sid Meier's Pirates! is an open ended game which throws dozens of potential missions and goals at you at once and tempts you with tons of unlockable features. There is no "beating" of this game, only the retiring of one pirate and the launch of another. It's addictive, it's fun, and it's highly recommended.


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Last updated: Sunday, September 18, 2005 09:56 PM