|Platform||Amiga, Atari ST, Apple II, C64, CPC, NES, PC-DOS|
|Gamemode||Single player |
|Voting of the C64-Wiki users (10=the best vote):|
|9.18 points at 83 votes (rank 3).|
You need to be logged in to cast a vote.
|C64Games||10||30th November 2008 - "highlight" - 21034 13336 downs|
|Lemon64||8,9||30th November 2008 - 210 votes|
|Kultboy.com||9,16||4th April 2008 - 63 votes|
|Happy Computer||85%||Games Special 9/87|
Europe faces enormous changes — new kings and emperors ascend. For the ambitious man a life opened with many possibilities, where he can gain a good reputation, riches, a beautiful woman as a wife and where he - by royal grace - can be named nobleman! "Duke of the kingdom" sounds good, doesn't it? Now the time has come, when everyone can attain fame and fortune! Nowhere are the possibilties greater than in the Caribbean. Here, the great powers are entwined in an everlasting fight about the domination in these strategically important waters. Here, the expellees from Old Worlds search for a new life in the New World. Here, rich merchants, cumbersome Fluyt-freightships and Spanish galleons - slow and loaded full of Spanish gold - sail the seas. Sabre rattling, cannon thunder and wild man: In PIRATES you need to survive an exciting buccaneer adventure in the Caribbean and make a career as a frightless pirate captain. Who doesn't know the old, American silver screen movies in the style of "The Crimson Pirate"? If you feel its your vocation to be a reaving pirate, you can now cave in to your appetite unrestrainedly: Between 1560 and 1700 plays this buccaneer simulation. In the Caribbean, Dutchmen, Englishmen, Frenchmen and Spaniards fight about gold, territory and its people. Depending on the time span and nationality that you choose at the start of your career, the game will be harder or easier. You may choose a certain period of time or relive the course of an expedition of a certain sailor. At the beginning you are on your journey with only a small boat, few people and little gold reserves. In the corresponding town, where you anchor, different actions can be initiated: a visit to the governor, a merchant or in a tavern. You can also without further ado rob the town. However, you then won't be treated very friendly by governors from towns in the same country. Fight against other ships while the cannons thunder away, plunder towns, merchandise and bewitch beautiful women, all these things belong to your tasks, the same as fencing with other captains and fort commanders. The journey through the Caribbean is displayed by a map-like and topographically nearly correct graphic. Unfortunately, you have only a few game years for your career plans. The bigger your fleet and the more men you have, the easier will it be for you to attack big and treasure-rich cities. With the necessary information, which you can get in the bars at the harbour (Who is at war against who? When and where will a ship with fat loot arrive?), it should be possible for you to seize even the gold-loaded Spanish Treasure Fleet or the legendary Silver Train. Sometimes, a dubious figure appears, who wants to sell you information or a part of the treasure map. Do your chores faultlessly and be loyal towards your own nationality, then you will be rewarded with titles and acreage. With rising reputation you may also court the many beautiful daughters of the governors. On the way, there will be information about lost family members, who wait for their release. These family members on their part own pieces of the map, which are said to lead to a legendary Inka treasure.
 The Game
The player takes over the role of the captain of a crew of pirates in the Caribbean of the 16th to the 18th century. Your aim is, to reach reputation and wealth in the four European Great Powers (England, France, Netherlands, Spain), who have changing diplomatic relations between each other (between alliance and war), by booty quests. Next to the normal game, you have also the possibility to play a historical mission, e.g. "The Silver Train Ambush" by Francis Drake in 1573. You can choose between four difficulty levels, which are not final, as you can decide for a higher difficulty grade during the game. The difficulty level has a great influence on the loyalty of the own crew and the fights at sea and land. Furthermore, your choose the greatest skill of your character: e.g. skill in fighting or navigating. This talent stays unchanged during the course of the game. You can plunder merchant ships and paved towns and you get for this through letters of marque additional rewards, such as peerage, acreage or the hand of a daughter of the governor. Furthermore, it is possible to capture other pirates and either blackmail ransom or hand him over to a governor as a sign of loyalty to the country. As an additional highlight beckons the "Silver Train" going from town to town and the sailing "Treasure Fleet" with unbelievable treasures. In Pirates! there are also unexpected encounters: Pirate hunters with an excessive armament or treasure ships with a great amount of gold on board, which can be found near the "Treasure Fleet". Added to the martial happening, there is the possibility to find buried treasures or reunite your long lost family. It is also possible to increase your wealth by trading with different goods.
As aim of the game one should name several points:
- Reaching all titles of nobility, i.e. Duke in all nations
- Finding the whole family (mother, father, sister, uncle)
- Finding the four Inka treasures with the help of the maps of the family members
- Robbing the Silver Train and the Treasure Fleet (possible every year)
- Marriage to the most beautiful daughter of the governor
At the end of your pirate career the player will be allocated a certain part of the captured treasures, depending on the chosen difficulty grade, and a report ist given. Into the report are taken: the personal fortune, the titles of nobility, the given acreages, the status of your wife, the own age, the found family members, the money of the crew and the personal defeats.
The player will be presented his further living after his pirate career in text and pictures. Depending on the success, this can be a life of everything between a poor beggar to King's Advisor. The highest reachable degree is "King's Advisor“ (Prince), which you reach with about 200 Pirate Points.
- Graphics: for 1987 outstanding optics, animated sequences, many intermediate images.
- Sound: There are single music clips for special occasions, fortunately, there is no continuous music in the background, especially on the rather long sailing tours this would get on one's nerves.
- A special feature of the game is, that it runs dynamically. The relations between the single nations change haphazardly. This way, every game is different, there is not one game the same as another. By this it can happen, that the game does not play into the hands of the player and even goes against him. This requires the player to adapt himself to changes and to know how to use every single chance.
 In towns
The menu: In the city you always have the menu available, or you can see a part of it. You do not have to call it up. The menu contains the following menu items:
- Visit a governor
- Visit a tavern
- Trade with a merchant
- Devide the plunder
- Plan another expedition, retire from privateering, advance to level
- Check information
- Continue travels, party status, personal status, ships log, maps, cities, take sun sight, save game
- Leave town
In the town, many things can happen, here only a small overview: buy and sell goods, repair or sell ships, collect news about towns/alliances/amnesties/Treasure Fleet/Silver Train/conquests/etc., deliver pirates and pirate hunters to get ransom for them, buy letter of marque, try to marry daughter of governor, get maps about whereabouts of family members, buy treasure maps, hire seamen, divide the prey and last but not least - save the game.
Leave the town:
Choose the menu item "Leave town". You are then either on the ship again (if you came the town from the harbour), or in the open country (if you entered the from land).
 At sea
Controlling the ship:
The menu contains the following menu items: Continue travels, Party status, Personal status, Ships log, Maps, Cities, Take sun sight.
Cliffs and shallow water:
They can be seen as white crestwaves. If you run aground, you will lose a ship and the corresponding amout of goods, plunder and crew. If this was your last ship, you lose all the plunder and the goods, your health gets worse and you spend 6 months with the natives who cater for you.
To go ashore:
Just steer the ship to the place where you want to go ashore. From now on you control your crew (see "On land").
This is announced to you from the crow's nest. First only that it was sighted, then the type of the ship and finally the flag. The closer you investigate a ship, the higher is the probability that you get forced into a ship fight, if the captain is a pirate or a pirate hunter. You usually have the following options:
- Continue voyage/sail away
- Hail for news
- Close for battle
If you win and the hostile ship was sunk, you are unlucky, otherwise you can do the plunder. Furthermore you can decide whether to assimilate the ship to your fleet. Most of the time, the men want to be taken into your crew. If it was a pirate or a hunter you have also the possibility to imprison him (bonus from the governor) or to question him (about the Treasure Fleet etc.).
Sail into the harbour:
For this, move the ship into the direction of the town until the screen switches. Then you see the name and the nationality of the town and you have the following options:
- Sail into harbor: If the town is hostile to you (personal status), then the fort will - if available - open the fire on you in most of the cases and sink one of your ships.
- Attack Town: under cannon fire you need to sail up to the harbour (controls as in "ship battle"), then carry out a fencing battle with the commander of the fort (controls as in "The fencing battle"). If you have taken also this hurdle, then the plundering will come up (controls as in "Trading"). But often the gold was already stashed away! Sometimes you can name a new governor! If you lose, you can view the jail from the inside (including all discomfort).
- Sneak into town: With this menu item, no dividing of the plunder is possible! The following can happen: A fort guard gets you and this leads to a fencing battle. If you win, you are in the town. If you lose, you go to prison for 6 months (worsening of your health), and lose all goods and plunder. You get into the town undetected.
- Leave town: You are sailing again.
Mutiny of the crew:
This can happen due to different reasons. Here a small choice: too little supply, too many men, too little fighting, too little plunder, etc. In this case, your own lieutenant will challenge you for a fencing battle. If you win the battle, you have only a short time to remove the cause. If you do not win, you will be discharged with all the possible discomfort of the pirate life (bad health, no plunder, etc.).
 On land
Controlling the crew:
The menu contains the following items:
Continue travels, Party status, Personal status, Ships log, Maps, Cities, Take sun sight, Search (for treasures, family members, etc.)
The terrain: The type of terrain goes from normal ground (moving fast), bushes (moving middle fast), wood (moving slowly) to water (cannot be entered).
Setting sail: Steer your crew to the point where your ship is anchored. As soon as it touches the ship, you will control your ship again (see "At sea").
Treasure hunt: Steer your crew to the point where you think a treasure is hidden. Then you call up the menu (fire button) and chose the menu item "Search". If a treasure is hidden at this place, the value will be added to your prey. If not, then your crew and you have digged for 3 days to no avail.
Rescue of a family member: There are altogether four abducted family members. The controls during the rescue are the same as with the treasure hunt. Every rescued family member owns a part of the treasure map of a very valuable Inka treasure.
Outside a town: Move your crew into the direction of the town until the screen switches. You then see the names and nationality of the town and you have the following possibilities:
- March into town: If the town is hostile to you, the fort will start the fire on you. Nothing happens to your crew, but they cannot enter the town this way. You are now in the town. (see "In towns")
- Attack town: under the fire of the guards you need to try to get into the fort with your crew with as little loss as possible, see "Land fight", then you have to do fencing battle with the commander of the fort (for controls see "The fencing battle"). If you win the fight, the plunder of the town follows. The gold is not always still there. Sometimes you can name a new governor. If you lose, you will be sent to prison for some months (not good for your health), you lose your goods and the plunder.
- Sneak into town: With this menu item, no dividing of the plunder is possible! The following can happen: A fort guard gets you and this leads to a fencing battle. If you win, you are in the town. If you lose, you go to prison for some months (worsening of your health), and lose all goods and plunder. Or you get undetected into the town.
- Leave town: Your crew is outside the town again.
Mutiny of the crew: This can also happen at land (for more see section "At sea / Mutiny of the crew").
 The fencing battle
The aim: To win, you need to lower the moral of you opponent by as many hits as possible, so he will give up the fight.
/ / fast attack high / fast attack middle / fast attack low
/ / strong attack high / strong attack middle / strong attack low
/ / parry high / parry middle / parry low
/ / parry high and retreat / parry middle and retreat / parry low and retreat
Choice of weapon:
Before the fight starts, choose one of the following weapons:
- Rapier, (middle reach, middle movements)
- Longsword, (great reach, slow movements)
- Cutlass, (small reach, faster movements)
The moral moves in the following areas: lost / panic / shaken / angry / firm / strong / wild / won
Here all your skill is needed. You need to demoralise your opponent by hitting him so much, that he gives up. If the number of the opposing men (force) is much higher than the number of your men, your moral will sink erratically. An example: number of hostile men is 40, number of your own men is 1 (you alone) and your moral is "angry". If you get hit now, you have lost the fight. The fight goes on until it is decided, i.e. there is no premature break off or escape!
 The ship battle
The aim: Either damage the hostile ship so much that it sinks, or try to decimate the hostile crew, so that the following fencing battle can be overcome without many own losses.
Controlling the ship:
turn ship clockwise
turn ship anti-clockwise
raising sail - full sail - (3 sec to full sail) / sail faster
lowering sail - battle sail (3 sec to battle sail) / sail slower
fire cannons (broadside)
The ship type:
Choosing the right ship type is crucial in the ship battle. Notice that every ship has a limited capacity, that speed and manoeuvrability most of the time decrease with rising size, every ship has a different sailing point (watch the direction of the wind) and merchant ships are mostly not suitable for the ship battle.
First choose, what ship you want to fight with. Then you see the pane in which the fight takes place. On the screen you see the following:
- In the upper two thirds the hostile ships (yours is black)
- In the lower third at the left your own display
- In the lower third at the right the display of your opponent
The display contains the following information (from top to bottom):
- The wind speed and the wind direction
- The ship type and the heading
- The number of cannons and men
- The type of damage to the ship
- The info line about cannon loaded / not loaded and sail (full sail / battle sail)
During the fight itself your try to board the hostile ship as fast as possible, if you have enough men, or, if you don't have many men, to decimate the hostile crew as much as possible. To board the ship you and the hostile ship have to touch. After that the fencing battle between you and the opposing captain starts. If you fire broadside (fire button), this will always be shot from the side that is facing the hostile ship in a right angle. The fight is aborted if it takes too long (about 5 min.) or the ships have too much distance between them (about once the height of the screen). You can also use this to take flight, but notice that the enemy will often seize a ship from your fleet.
 The land fight
The aim: The land fight is of strategic nature. The aim is to reach the fort without great losses.
Controlling the crew:
Types of landscape:
The type of landscape goes from normal ground (moving fast), middle ground (moving middle fast), difficult ground (moving slowly) to water (moving very slowly).
Soldiers are sent out from the hostile fort, who try to destroy your crew. The soldiers have the advantage that they have ships prepared everywhere, which make them proceed in the water very fast. Your crew, however, needs to swim. You can steer a part of the crew or the whole crew. If you steer only a part of the crew you need to bring the rest of the crew into strategically good positions. In the forest and the city the enemy cannot see you! The flint fire between a part of the crew and the soldiers starts, when both groups have neared each other enough. The close combat starts, when your part of the crew directly piles into the enemy. Your aim is to reach the fort (red building in the town) with as little loss of your crew as possible. You can also flee by moving a part of the crew over the border of the screen.
Tips for trading:
Trading of ships and goods is mainly done during times of peace. For this it is advisable to own a fleet of three or four greater ships. Your crew should not be too big and it should not consist of pirates that defected to you after boarding a pirate ship, as you might have to face a mutiny quickly. Cannons cost the same everywhere, sugar is very cheap in Dutch and Spanish towns and very expensive in English towns. Profit margins of up to the fourth of the purchase price are quite common. You should make a profit of about 20.000 gold coins per trading tour. Pay attention that the trading way is not too long, as typical trading ships as Cargo Fluyt or Merchantman are very slow and clumsy. Therefore you should also, if need not be, avoid every ship battle.
 Treasures and family members
Sometimes you get offered parts of a treasure map from old sailors in the tavern. Hints about places where a family member is kept, or a person who knows this place can most of the time be learned from persons with a noble title, that you captured (after boarding a ship in exchange for freedom), from your wife (if you have one) or a daughter of a governor at which you made eyes ( wit and charm is very helpful here).
You can view these maps or pieces of a map with the option "Maps". They are at a much larger scale and incremental, so you need a good knowledge of the place and much fantasy to find the spot. If you are lucky, you can find a hint on the map to what region the place could be, e.g. "near El Eutera".
Now you need to go to the place, of which you think is the right one and dig there with the option "Search". This takes a few days. If it was the right spot, you will find something there.
 The map
... the original map, that was enclosed to the simulation ...
... to view bigger image click with left mouse button ...
 Tables and more
You can find them here:
Overview: Quickstart and overview of the possibilities at the start.
The Treasure Fleet and The Silver Train: Exact data about the time and whereabouts (copy protection).
The towns 1660: Exact data about the towns and their coordinates in the year 1660.
The ship types: The ship types and their exact data.
Famous expeditions: More about the playable famous expeditions.
A manual to the game in incl. the map, can be found online on C64Games.de - Game No. 460 .
You need to know, when the TREASURE FLEET or the SILVER TRAIN will arrive. If you are asked about it by the programme, look in to the corresponding table and first choose the MONTH, then EARLY/LATE. For most of the games you willl need the time of 1660. A wrong input leads to you not winning the following fencing battle und in succession to a mulled career (this is the copy protection of the game)!!
- How do I make my career :
- The theoretical basis is: Always bang on the Spanish! As the Spanish have to most colonies, ships and riches in all epoches, there is the most to get there. As soon as one of the small countries is at war with Spain, you should attack, after you have gathered a powerful team of men in taverns of some colonies. At the beginning you will only be able to attack small colonies, only with rising success you can storm big Spanish towns.
- You can get upwards on the job ladder either by plundering and annexing hostile colonies or by seizing pirate ships. Captured pirates should be delivered to friendly governors, as they react very nicely on this.
- With increasing success you will be promoted, at first these are military degrees (cadet, captaion, major, colonel, admiral), then comes the elevation to nobility (Baron, Earl, Marquis and finally Duke). Furthermore there are also small acreages for almost every promotion.
- With promotion you get also information about the whereabouts of famous Spanish men, who have information about the abducted family of the hero.
- And finally, a high rank and enough wealth melts also the heart of some of the daughters of the governor (unfortunately the girls are only on the make), sooner or later you will marry one of them, whereby there are also differences here (there is anything between Miss Caribbean and dolled-up old bag)!
- A good start is Englishmen 1560. In this time, the towns are richest and the Silver Train and the Treasure Fleet have the most gold with them. You start in Trinidad and scrape along the who coast until Panama. It is important to get the Treasure Fleet as early as possible, as she sucks the gold from the towns. Apart from that it is always important to keep politically up to date, to use every chance to get new titles.
- It has proven well to clearly put yourself on one side politically: In the optimum case you always have exactly one political opponent, please everybody else and you can at the same time rise in the rank. You should be careful and not risk your career for a long time due to a single good occasion. But if you have reached the rank "Duke" and with this the highest rank in one of the nations, you can view this nation as outlawed - respect doesn't pay off any more. This way you can well endear yourself to earlier enemies.
- Cheats in the narrower sense are not known, but there is a version where you can enter how many men you want to take with you when leaving a town, which takes all the difficulty off the game.
- The number of points at the end of the career can be manipulated by letting the own crew get massacred in a fight and dividing the plunder between as little people as possible. Then every surviving crew member gets such a big part of the gold, that the points summit to heights and you get this way over 300 Pirate Points. The minimum number to sail is 8 men, but you can move over land with only one man.
- Of course there are so-called "save-game-editors". With its help you can manipulate the scores as you wish, i.e. fleet, goods, money etc. can be changed arbitrarily. But who would want that? Everyone who thinks, he might need this, should take a closer look at DISK2 or the savegame-disk on the versions available online. But all this only helps to a limited extent in the game. If you haven't got what it takes in the sea battle or at fencing, there is no use for the nicest ship or the biggest superiority. These editors are at best good for an easier start or a nicely faked entry in the Hall of Fame. As this and the trick to let the crew get shot before dividing the plunder, are commonly well-known, nobody has probably entered a highscore yet... (s. below).
Guybrush: „THE game of my youth, before I got my first PC and on it Civilization (also developed by Sid „God“ Meier). For 1987 a complexity, that you could only dream of, from me a clear 10!“
ManiaK: „The best C64 game of all times. Graphics for this time great and rather complex! I have played the game so often, that one day I could assign the treasure maps to a place from memory! 11 out of 10 points. :-)“
Bambus77: „Regarding the complexity the best game on the C64. The atmosphere was gripping and addictive. The follower by Firaxis set the bar of gold even higher.“
Spaceball: "There is no game on the C64 offering more long time motivation. Just a must for the ambitioned C64 fan."
MVH: Pirates was and is for me one of the best C64 games that ever existed. I played it for the first time at a friend's, when I had no C64 yet and when I finally had one, I played for nights, although I didn't even have a map. World class, I don't regret a single minute that I played at that time, even though I did not become anyone important (in Pirates ;)).
Shakermaker303: "I still can remember that I laid my Diercke world atlas from school next to my C64, to check if the map in the game was correct. I once played Pirates from morning to late in the evening during "holidays" :-). A really gripping adventure, addictive and probably didn't only enthuse me. One of the best and most voluminous games at all - therefore also from me the 10 points!"
Rockford: "The thing with the world atlas has a familiar ring to me, and also on the greater maps I one day knew exactly after the first piece where I had to go to. The first real open-world game, no game was like the other, there were thousands of possibilites. Even the single action sequences fencing and ship battle never got boring - at least for me. The feeling when you have to beat down 90 opponents on your own and you actually make it... unique. Only the land fights were a touch too tiresome. Many times I thought: so, just this one thing should be done... and well, pass the place here... and already three hours had passed again. 10 points! What else?"
Ludi Purger: "It is and stays the best game that I ever had on the C64. Until today, the game fascinates me and I have to play it again and again. Through the time I have tried also the PC version but it doesn't reach the feeling of the C64 version. This games was the reason why I got myself my first emulator for the PC when I had no space left for a breadbox. 10 points!"
Blubarju: "Pirates! was my first full-price game on the C64 (before that I had at the most only bought a low-budget game, especially the ones by Mastertronic). So at home I inserted the 5 1/4 floppy disk into my drive, ready to hand next to me the manual and maps, and I was enthused. For full 8 weeks (my personal record) I played only this one game and at least I made it to be governor. In the evening before getting to sleep the manual was my favourite reading. The Microprose games stand out due to the mass of historical background knowledge. With this the reading of the manual is twice as much fun. Pirates! is surely the best game on the C64.
daskraut: "This was one of my favourite games at that time and definitely the one, with which I spent most of the time. Very cool! The remake from 2004 is also very nice, I play it at the moment. But there's nothing like the original!"
Ragnarok: "A gripping game with unexpectedly great depth and enormous repeated gaming value from the feather of Sid Meier. "Pirates!" has lost none of its original fascination, even today. The successful conversion for the Amiga is also worth taking a look!"
- One of the astonishing things about this early work of Sid Meier, which is probably in all the top 10s of C64 games in the world, is, that big parts are programmed in Basic, which showed itself in some versions after the programme crashed (caused either intentionally or unknowingly by using the floppy wrongly or excessing a certain amount of gold) and one entered then the LIST command.
- At C64-Games.de also a CMD version on d81 image is available. It runs on all drives for which you can set the drive number to #8, also with Jiffy-Dos etc. All the external texts are in seq-files. No changing of disks, no loading times as in vice, RamLink etc. (a completely new game feeling with Pirates . . .)
- The version by Nostalgia (Pirates! 101% +10DR [pal/ntsc] ) runs on the drives 1541, 1571, 1581, CMD-FD 2000/4000, CMD-HD, RamLink, REU (Jiffy-Dos cannot be used) and offers some fixes, expansions and cheat modes (sse docs on diskette).
- C64Games.de - Game No. 460 (here also the CMD version is available)
- C64Games.de - Game No. 3449
- Lemon64 - Game No. 1941
- Gamebase64.com - Game No. 5727
- Gamebase64.com - Game No. 16074
- CSDb - Release No. 113902 Nostagia version (Pirates! 101% +10DR [pal/ntsc])
- Test Report No. 221 on
- ZZap64 test report
- Video at YouTube (Wrong word for copy protection entered, therefore a mulled career!!)