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 hours.

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.