Elite plus gonzo graphics

Cosmic Pirate logo Amiga Computing Excellence

EVER been stuck in the house on a wet Bank Holiday Monday, all the shops closed and you're bored of everything that fits into that inviting slot on your dear Amy? OK, so maybe you haven't played Death Mutants from the Planet Nong all that much, mainly because it isn't all that good. A real "push it to the back of the drawer and hope it goes away" case. But it won't. Neither will the 25 quid hole it made in your bank balance. Well, said he in his best washing powder vice, the Holiday Monday Blues are at an end. All you need is Cosmic Pirate and your boredom troubles vanish.

So maybe it doesn't have 3D graphics that lurk seductively with the whispered promise of "Wanna good time?" It's got sprites, though, and plenty of them. It was also written by folk who clearly know an Amiga from a Vic. The instant the disc goes in pretty things start to happen; every home should have the beautifully done animated boot sequence.

Oh, you want to know about the game? All right then, if you insist. You play the part of a rookie Cosmic Pirate who has joined up with the Nest 51 team for safety. Nest 51 happens to be a ginormous space station with all the facilities that a cosmic pirate's warped mind could wish for. The only swines are the taxes, which run in the 90 and 99 per cent range. You'll still make a wodge of dosh, because piracy is faintly profitable. Nest 51, although totally despotic in nature, looks after its own by running simulators and supplying ships.

The free simulators are there purely to get your shot accuracy percentage above 30; Nest 51 won't let anyone go out without that as a minimum. Everything gets thrown at you very quickly in a simulator. Time to buy a Konix Navigator Autofire stick, methinks. The first ship you get is a useful, basic device. Everything works, but don't try anything flash. Once you've booked a mission from one of the 26 grades you are free to zoom off, but not until you've paid Nest 51 even more cash. You'll have an overdraft, and if it gets big some nice people will come and shoot at you.

Once out of the Nest, and after some very pointless but beautiful effects, you arrive in a sector. Things appear that have it in mind to show you that they don't want to be friends with you.

If the feeling's mutual, they'll soon blow up, sometimes leaving little capsules - you'll have seen it in Zynapsflight III v1.3 (The Revenge) - but they don't just go away if you fail to pick them up, they turn into little guided missiles. These do you a lot of harm. Laffs, huh?

You may notice a little T symbol which moves about cunningly. This is the Hyperspace Portal Direction indicator. The portal can be free, allowing you instant travel, but it usually costs. If you've harmed enough aliens, you can get through - extra points are saved against the next journey.

Once in the portal, you can move closer to the fish-like ship or towards a planet. Planet strafing is fun, and can be very profitable. But one can come over all dead.

Once you find the ship you shoot it until it gives in. This would be great, but unfortunately it's doing the same to you. Once pacified you guide it back along the spacelanes, shooting all the way. Nest 51 takes the ship, gives you some money - not much - and you are free to continue living.

And so it goes on. It's like Elite minus the 3D bits and the docking plus gonzo graphics and fabbo sounds. It makes the most staid, sensible type want to do something very unstead indeed.

Cosmic Pirate is fun to be with. I've played it for hours and will play it for many, many more. I want to have its babies. Buy Cosmic Pirate and kick some donkey!

Cosmic Pirate logo


Blast ' em all away, show 'em who's boss. Become a space-pirate and watch the universe tremble at the very mention of your name. The days of the goggle-eyed aliens are numbered. Cosmic Pirate comes from the same guys who created Barbarian (remember that? It was the game which displayed a lot of Maria Whittaker).


You take on the role of the infamous Guy Manly who, after leading an uneventful life, has decided to become a space pirate. Can you blame him - pirates get all the girls and most of the parrots?

You begin the game by selecting a mission and launching in hyperspace. By moving around and shooting at aliens you can build up your score, essential if you're going to pass through the toll gate (a sort of black hole with a pass fee of 1000 points). Once through the gate a cosmic sector map appears and you choose a new sub-sector destination. The objective is to find a ship to disable and drag back home for massive bonus points. The sector map lets you pinpoint the correct sector to move into and you then follow an on-screen marker leading you to the ship. Disabling it requires a concerted blast until it gives up trying to hurt you - very tasteful.

Assuming you manage this awesome task without your ship exploding into something resembling the quake-ridden hills of Armenia, the next step is to tow the ship back to Nest51 (your home). Do this and you will receive an exorbitant pay packet, but unfortunately you are not allowed to keep it. The council, a sort of futuristic Tory government, takes between 90% and 99% of your profits.

With your remaining wealth you can purchase extras for your craft which give additional firepower or improve your speed. Then it is out into the cosmos for another earth-shattering session.


The game has been written in medium-res but by making use of the Amiga hardware the range of colours has not suffered. Dragging pirate ships back to base is almost spell-binding. The background is scrolled at incredible speeds, even for an Amiga, and in no time at all you'll be back home.

The pirate ships might look good but the other space craft don't bear much resemblance to those in Buck Rogers. Dressed up as kaleidoscopic bubbles they'll have you questioning the sanity of the universe, but they do look brill when blasted.

Sound is good too. Great stereo effects and opening tunes ensure the game is well supported musically. The usual zapping and white noise of most outer-space shoot-em-ups has been replaced with far better spot effects.


With your progress and additional ship equipment being saved to disk at the end of each game you soon learn to like Cosmic Pirate. It's a bit like Dungeon Master with action. Locating the different pirate ships and watching your score climb, knowing that in time you will be able to buy a much-prized sony cutter, is like saving your pocket money for armadillo feed.

The speed of your pirate ship is mind-boggling. Everything moves so quickly you will feel like bringing up your supper. Graphics and sound are impressive but best of all it has an addictive gameplay. This one will have you coming back so often your joystick will beg for a break.

Cosmic Pirate logo CU Amiga Screen Star

Price: £24.95

Being a pirate is hard enough, but being an interstellar hoodlum is even worse, particularly when all the crime in the galaxy is controlled by one organisation called The Council who cream a healthy 90 to 99% of all your piratic profits. That's a pretty poor return if you're not that good being a pirate. The first order of the game is to install your pirate, starting off with no money, no rating, no kills and no experience. In fact, yhou'renot even allowed to fly until you've yourself proven in the combat simulator!

After you have managed to obtain the necessary 35% shot/hit rate, The Council graciously loan you a mark three ship, with all the most basic weaponry. And then it is time to pick a mission, graded from A to Z in terms of difficulty, with several different assignments per level. The catch is that you have to complete at least one assignment before moving onto the next level. Choose a mission which looks reasonable, say assaulting a cargo cruiser with a shipment of dead rabbits (on their way to a French restaurant? Ed) priced at mere 120,000 credits.

To obtain the money for the toll gates, some really serious blasting is called for. You score for crumping aliens and for collecting the pods they leave behind. Not only do you get a bonus score but shields, smart bombs, or, if you're lucky, it divides into more pods.

The size of the freighters is tremendous - and they get bigger every level. I made it to level E where the ship was bigger than the screen! What is more, when you knock out its shield, your ship docks with it and the whole set up comes under your control! No real benefit is derived from having a ship that size, though the home bound trip through hyperspace does look rather more impressive - and apart from being indestructible, anything you shoot counts as a tax free credit bonus. Pretty and profitable, that is the name of the game.

Ship deposit, various fees for food, fuel docking all come out of your piratical purse. If your ship is destroyed the council cream you for ten thousand credits to replace it, and that's without road tax and number plates.

Later on in the game you get an improved ship. You can purchase lasers, shields and engines provided there has been an upward trend in the finance stakes. All of these are a sound future investment.

There is so much to Cosmic Pirate - battles with other pirates, new planets, not to mention an official licensed version of Asteroids on one of the simulators. I estimate that to play from start to finish, with a reasonable time on the computer per day and without changing characters, would take about five months - so you can't argue that this is a short game. And it's immense fun to play.

The programmers (called Zippo, and they won't let you forget it) have done a superb job combing fast action, huge colourful graphics, great sounds and awesome gameplay in one package. If there is any real way of summing this up I'd say it; but I'm afraid I've got to go and boost my pirate rating a few points.

Cosmic Pirate logo

Outlaw, Amiga £19.99

Zzap's Rockford: Arr! Me lad! Zzap's Thing: And a bottle of Rum! Weehee! Guy Manly is a pirate who's got tired of fending for himself. Instead, he's joined the Council - a federation of pirates which can patch into a network to find ships to plunder.

You begin play as a new member of the Council docked at NEST51. Your first job is to prove yourself by entering a set of simulators; destroying enemy craft, blasting asteroids and passing through tollgates.

When the Council considers you ready, you can launch into space and attempt to rob a Spacetruck.

Gordon Houghton Things get off to a brilliant start in Cosmic Pirate with a very attractive opening sequence. And it doesn't stop there: the whole game is crammed with well-drawn and beautifully coloured graphics - from the vector-like simulators to the hard metallic Spacetrucks. Zippo have obviously spent a great deal of time designing and implementing the presentation, which is almost seamless and incredibly atmospheric. The strategy is backed up by some super blasting action - just the thing for a piratical (what?) space game. Great stuff!
Maff Evans I really like this game. The whole thing is charged with an incredible amount of atmosphere, with the sensational graphics and wonderful sound keeping things really interesting. Using the selection system actually feels as though you're accessing a large, complicated computer system and the raids give the sense of competing against a whole host of opponents - not only the people you're stealing from but other pirates! All would-be future-crooks shouldn't miss out on this!