Pirates! on NES
Reviewed by Bill O'Toole III
Graphics 7 out of 10
The graphics aren't really up to par for a Konami release, although they
definitely get the job done with a bang. The graphics that they show
while you're visiting a town are quite good and the graphics while
sword-fighting are impressive as well.
Sound 7 out of 10
The sound while you're sailing the seas can get kinda annoying if you're
playing for an extended period of time. It's supposed to sound like the
sea but it really sounds like static or something. While you're in a town,
music is played and it sounds really great. It doesn't sound like traditional
Konami music at all, but it really gets you in a "piratey" mood. The sound
would have scored much higher if the sea sounds were taken out or improved
and stuff like bird calls were added in.
Play Control 8.5 out of 10
Moving your ship around will take a little getting used to, but once you get
the hang of it, it will become second nature to you. The sword fighting
scenes have exceptional play control. I've played several incarnations of
Pirates on computers and one on Sega Genesis, and I must say that the NES
version far and away has the best play control.
Fun 10 out of 10
The gameplay is where this game truly is great. What could be more fun
than going out and plundering enemy ships and towns? Not only this, but
there are so many other things to do in this game that it could keep you
occupied for years (literally). You can get married, you can sneak into
enemy towns, you can swordfight nobleman to find out where lost members
of your family are, you can be sent on special missions by friendly governors,
you can visit taverns and keep up on the local gossip, and just SO MUCH MORE.
I haven't even hit the tip of the iceberg with all this stuff you can do. This
game must be played to be appreciated, and I guarantee you'll be playing for
Challenge 8 out of 10
This really depends on what difficulty you select. There are four different
difficulty levels (Apprentice being the easiest and Swashbuckler being the
hardest). On the harder difficulty levels, your crew will not be very loyal
and will often abandon you or mutiny. Obviously, the enemy ships and towns
will also be tougher to take over, and trying impress a governor's daughter
will also be harder. Before you begin, however, you are allowed to choose
one skill for your character to have, and this may or may not make some
aspects of the game more difficult.
Replay Value 10 out of 10
This game is infinitely replayable. With six different time periods to
choose from (which are all VERY different from each other), four
nationalities to choose from (which make the whole game VERY different),
four difficulty levels, and a choice of skills to choose from, it will take
a whole lifetime to see and do everything in this game. Different countries
randomly go to war with each other, making your game easier or harder.
And when everything is over, you get ranked on how well you did. You find
out what job you get after pirating and how many points you scored out
of 100 (my personal best is a rich banker with 77 points out of a hundred).
Big factors for points are what your rankings in class are (if governors
are pleased with you, they give you a higher rank and some land), if you're
married, your personal wealth, how much land you own, etc. This is definitely
a game that you'll keep coming back to.
Overall 9.5 out of 10
Pirates! is a perfect combination of strategy, action, and adventure. This
game will keep you enthralled until your days of pirating come to an end,
and then you'll just go back and start again. The game is very easy to get
into and you'll find yourself dedicating hours of your life to it. For any
gamers who don't have this one, don't hesitate. Buy it when you get it. This
is a MUST-HAVE. Oh, and if you can, get a map with it. It is almost impossible
to play without a map of the towns. This is by far my favorite Konami title
of all time, and with all the great games they have released for the NES,
that is saying quite a lot.