Buccaneer

Buccaneer
3.5
Platforms: PC
Publisher: Strategic Simulations, Inc.
Developer: Divide By Zero
Genres: Strategy / Other
Release Date: 1997
Game Modes: Singleplayer / Multiplayer

Raiding the Caribbean on the computer has been dominated by the game Pirates since most of us were gaming on Apple II computers. There have been many failed attempts to improve upon that game. Buccaneer succeeds in bringing a long needed, entertaining update to the old Pirates formula.

Buccanneer allows players to engage in a campaign game, ship-to-ship engagements, or multiplayer combat. The campaign game expands on the standard formula of the genre by allowing the player to pick one of six characters, each with a separate storyline. All the individuals have their own subplots and branching storylines with mutiple endings, and you’ll attempt to trade goods, keep crew morale from reaching mutinous levels, and build a reputation. In port, veteran pirates will be right at home. The usual options of visiting pubs, supply houses, shipyards, and meddling governors are all present.

15_1Combat is the mainstay of the game. The sailing vessels are beautifully rendered, though the battles are definitely arcade-oriented. The ships seem to be moving at sixty knots and respond like PT boats (thankfully, there is an option to slow down the action). Reload rates will make you think someone invented and installed “gattling-cannons” on your ship. While you can’t pick various shot types, you can target hull, masts or sails specifically. You also have the option of going to the gun-deck to handle the long guns yourself.

Realism aside, combat is rather fun. Players will take guilty pleasure in going to the gun-deck and pounding cannon shots into their unfortunate prey. Multiplayer encounters are essentially Buccaneer “deathmatches,” with ship-to-ship combat only. Those interested in a life of buccaneering might find some value in this game, though its oddball nature is sure to scare more mainstream players away. For Pirates fans, however, it’s a notable genre advancement.


System Requirements: Pentium 90 MHz, 16 MB RAM, Win95

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