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Pirates! (DOS)

Pirates DOS
Genre: Action, Strategy
Perspective: Top-down
Pacing: Real-time
Vehicular: Naval / watercraft, Vehicular combat
Setting: Sea pirates / Caribbean
Published by: MicroProse Software
Developed by: MicroProse Software
Released: 1987
Platform: DOS

On the IBM PC, already in full swing, Sid Meier's masterpiece "Pirates!" appeared in the same year as the original version - on the Commodore 64. All the details about the features of this wonderful game can be found on the page of this last one - here we will limit ourselves to describing only the differences in this re-release, which is native to many today's players.

Alas, it cannot be called the most beautiful with all the RS-patriotism. The fact is that this edition provided support not only for the 16-color EGA graphics mode, but also for the ancient four-color CGA adapter, performed for which "Pirates!" look much worse than even on the ancient Apple II. It's hard to say what Microprose was guided by, but that the splash screen for the game, that the screens with titles are displayed exclusively in the CGA palette, even when launched on an IBM-compatible PC equipped with all the graphical innovations. However, do not rush to get scared: as soon as you answer a couple of questions correctly - by choosing, among other things, the graphics mode not CGA, but EGA - the game will begin to show itself from the best visual side.

The 16-color picture at 320x200 resolution has significantly improved detail and color saturation compared to the original and the Amstrad CPC edition, not to mention the Apple II; Michael Hare, with the help of animator Murray Taylor, updated many of his illustrations to remain recognizable but more pleasing to the eye. The font of the text, which has now learned to be displayed not only in uppercase, but also in lowercase, cannot but rejoice. The only thing that does not allow the release for the IBM PC to claim the title of the undisputed favorite as of 1987 and even more is the sound design: classic melodies performed by the unchanged PC Speaker sound obviously poorer than on the original SID. True, if you run "Pirates!" on a computer from Tandy, which is conditionally compatible with the IBM family, three-channel music will return, and the splash screen will play in more cheerful colors.

But it was on PC that two innovations were added to the gameplay of the legendary classic: firstly, your team can be temporarily divided, leaving part of the crew to wait for you somewhere in a secluded place (of course, if you have an extra ship for this). Just remember to supply your reserve with strategic provisions, otherwise the former comrades-in-arms will scatter in different directions in search of forage - well, a happy reunion is carried out from the action menu, if you come close to the previously abandoned comrades and select "Join Party". In addition, the governors who are friendly to us will from time to time give various instructions - for example, to save a son who has been captured by capturing one or another city of the enemy; of course, if successful, you can count on a generous reward.

The controls have also changed a bit: at startup, the game offers us a choice of joystick and keyboard; in the latter case, eight numeric keys of the small keyboard are responsible for the directions, and the function of the joystick button is immediately performed by "input" and "5" - in general, everything is more or less convenient. In addition, the "V" key is used to switch sound modes ("Off" - "Only background effects" - "All sounds").

As a result, it can be argued that the Pirates! on the IBM PC, despite not the most advanced graphics and, to put it mildly, an unattractive audio component, it more than deserves attention even against the background of later and slightly more colorful ports for Apple IIGS, Atari ST or Amiga.