Pirates of the Caribbean Review

As a pirate, the best part of being on land is the opportunity to test your skill with a saber. There are swordfights in Pirates of the Caribbean, but once again frustration takes all the fun out of them. You are given only two moves, swing and block, and one on one duels involve spending most of your time blocking while looking for an opportunity to swing. Unfortunately, you are often attacked by multiple foes who tend to circle you and strike your back while you sluggishly try to maneuver your way around them and get an occasional hit on someone. Needless to say, be prepared for a lot of reloads.

It looks a lot better than it plays.

At sea you have two views. The first is a high-level view of your ships, nearby ships, and the surrounding islands. You move your ship around by pressing forward, left, and right keys until you run into another ship or an island. Navigation is difficult because you can't pull back far enough to get an overview of the whole area and there is no map screen. Geographical knowledge of the Caribbean area won't help you either since as mentioned before you are in a fictional locale. It is also difficult to avoid being drawn into battle by nearby ships, which is troublesome early in the game when your ship will constantly by pounded into flotsam by better equipped foes.

The other view is a third-person 3D view of your ship and any other ships or land features in the vicinity. This graphics in this view are superb and very detailed right down to the men working the guns and sails on the decks of the ships. However, the combat itself is a bit of a mess. It is difficult to distinguish friend from foe, let alone get your ship into a position to fire on the enemy. You'll spend more time spinning the camera around looking for another ship and then trying to close the distance between the vessels than you'd care to know, and there is no way to speed time up when trying to pursue another ship. To make up for this problem there is an option to click on an icon of a ship which will take you to a wait screen and then drop you next to the selected ship, but more often than not this gives the enemy ship a free broadside shot at you before you can even react. To make matters worse, the game uses your gunnery skill to determine accuracy, so early on you'll spend more time lofting shells into the water than you will striking hits on enemy ships. Combat at night? You may as well scuttle your ship yourself.

It's hard to recommend Pirates of the Caribbean to fans of pirates or the movie. There is little tie-in to the movie, and none of its wit or excitement. The game also does very little to draw upon the rich history of the era. You sail around a pond of a sea listening to New Age style music that you'd expect to hear during a cheesy cruise line commercial, and historical inaccuracies abound (for example, the Portuguese are mistakenly made a player in the Caribbean). You're better off waiting for the next pirate game and letting this one set sail on its own.

In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 55%.  Pirates of the Caribbean has little resemblance to the movie or to the real pirates of the Caribbean. With a clunky interface, poor control, and frustrations aplenty, it should be sent to Davy Jones' locker.

System Requirements:  Pentium III 800; 128 MB RAM;  32 MB Video RAM; 8x CD-ROM;  2.5 GB Hard Drive Space;  Mouse.


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