Review: Tropico 2 – Pirates Cove

Rating: ★★★★☆
Fun. Just an absolute blast. You’re likely already familiar with this sort of game – civic planning and the like. You run a town, you decide how the money gets spent and where the buildings get built. But this time you do it as a pirate king. You provide your pirates with gambling dens, taverns, female companionship, and the like. You also build ships and send your captains out to bring back booty. That’s the game in a nutshell, but there’s real charm here as well. When you read the thoughts of your subjects (you’re a psychic pirate king) they’re often thinking amusingly snide things. Also, sometimes your captives will get uppity, and you’ll have to loosen the reigns on your pirates to put them back in their place.

The graphics are excellent, and everything is designed to look extra piratey. But the real star of this game is the music, which is available on it’s own as a Soundtrack CD. Fun tropical music that makes excellent background music while remaining catchy enough to keep your attention. I found the CD is a great compliment to other pirate games that don’t have good background music of their own.

Review: Pirates of the Caribbean PC Game

Rating: ★★★★☆

I admit being perturbed at the name change. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVED the movie Pirates of the Caribbean. But I also loved that Seadogs was made by a small company I’d never heard of. I loved that they were making a sequel. But I didn’t love that Disney came along and bought that sequel and slapped their logo on it. Continue reading

Review: Battle Songs of the Toucan Pirates

Rating: ★★☆☆☆
The Toucan Pirates

Buy the CD
Genre: Traditional inspired, mostly insrumental
Rating: G
Target Audience: All Ages

A lively CD full of peppy music for dancing a jig. Steel drums, pennywhistles, and banjos all make for old-fashioned Irish music with a hint of the tropics. But it doesn’t really conjure up images of sea battles and storms – this is more like the music you’d hear in the pub after pulling into port. Apparently the Toucan Pirates realized it needed a little something more, which would be why the music is accompanied by cannon blasts, creaking ships, and the occasional yells of “hoist the mainsails” and such. For me these additions were a little much, but easily forgiven. Continue reading

Review: The Pirate Prince

Rating: ★★★½☆
The Pirate Prince: Discovering the Priceless Treasures of the Sunken Ship WHYDAH
by Barry Clifford

In his book “The Pirate Prince”, which I believe is the first of his several accounts regarding the pirate ship Whydah, Barry Clifford seems to have two primary goals – the first is to completely disillusion the reader as to any pretense of glamour associated with undersea treasure hunting. The second goal, ironically, is to completely enchant the reader with the glamour of undersea treasure hunting. Surprisingly, he manages to do both rather well.

To the first goal Clifford goes into great detail explaining the difficulties of locating a wreck, of separating fact from legend, of recreating centuries old scenarios using half-facts and hunches. But these are the difficulties we imagine when we think of treasure hunters. What we don’t generally consider is what happens once the wreck is discovered.

In a word – bureaucracy. Continue reading

Review: Seadogs

Rating: ★★★★☆

I bought this game on a whim – didn’t know a thing about it but the box looked good. One of the best spontaneous purchases I ever made. Beautiful graphics, relatively easy ship controls, and absolutely wonderful music (this holds espically true when you visit a pirate village, where the background music is ripe with “yo hos” – very fun.) In the game you play Nicholas Sharp, a pirate captain that you can take ashore to buy goods and chat with the locals, or take aboard your ship to pillage and plunder. Best of all, whenever you give a command you hear a piratey voice say things like “Full sails, aye captain” or “Cannons loaded, captain.”

A fine, fine game, but it does have about three real sticking points. First, it’s buggy as hell. But this is easily fixed with a patch available at the official website. The second point is that there seem to be multiple missions and plotlines interwoven, and it’s tricky to tell what you’re supposed to do when in order to keep the story moving along. And the third is that the game starts you off in a weak little boat making it almost impossible to survive. But when you do finally climb up the ladder to bigger and better ships, it almost becomes too easy.

A beautiful but flawed game.