Ah, what a romantic notion. To sail the seven seas, to explore uncharted waters, and most of all to seek your fortune by finding hidden treasures. If only life fighting it out on the Spanish Main had been like it seem in Errol Flynn movies. Smart tunic, nice shiny boots, a big sword and a pretty princess with a penchant for pirates.
You meet her in Scene Two when you sloop overruns her her fathers bullion boat. You ransack the vessel and afterwards she demands you will be well fung. Scoffing, you replace your truly blade in a scabbard.
Having raped and pillaged your way around her fathers boat, you and the crew take her leave while singing a pirate-like ditty, confident in the knowledge that she's fallen in love with your nonchalant, happy-go-
Unfortunately, the reality of the situation was that in the first place you'd have been press-ganged into joining the band of miserable deck rats.
No smart tunic, no shiny boots. Just a dirty lump sack shirt, gangrenous beard and a green fog that follows you around everywhere.
Given these parameters for your apparel and general look, it comes as no surprise that there's more chance of the beautiful senorita running off with Captain Pugwash than your good self.
Given the reality of the situation it's a good job for the imagination of Hollywood and computer software programmers.
Although Pirates takes most of its romantic element from Hollywood, large chunks of the scenarios are lifted directly from the annals of history.
For instance, you can choose to unbuckle your swash over a period of some 150 years, taking on the mantle of a Brit or a number of now EC members who we English weren't very friendly with at the time.
If becoming a a Spanish pirate, or a French adventurer isn't enough to satiate your desire for plundering friendly, defenceless traders, then you cn don the garb of a famous explorer or one of the more infamous rogues to sail the high seas.
Having pondered over whether to play Captain Morgan or Francis Drake, you have the opportunity to make a few other choices that have a direct bearing on your future.
For example, you can adjust the difficulty level and more importantly select your special ability. This range of skills varies from expertise with a sword through to charm with officials and more importantly, the ladies.
Once you've deliberated over your options, it's time to cast off and head out into the blue and briny. The basic aim is to journey around various areas of the Caribbean strengthening your ship, bolstering your band of jolly Jack tars and seeking your fortune.
There are various ways to achieve this most roguish of task, each of which revolve around piracy on the high seas. You could choose to work for the governor of a particular island, follow orders and reaping the rewards that being in his employ bring.
Alternatively, you can follow your own instinct and take to the briny in search of untold treasures and wreck havoc in the shipping lanes of the traders, purely for your own benefit.
However, a life on the ocean waves is also fraught with danger for pirates. For one, there are quite a few other pirate-
Also your crew need their feed, grog and plundering, morale must be kept at a level which keeps them subdued. Failure to maintain your boys results in a mutiny, which ultimately means you ending up in a rowing boat in just your pants with your tricorn showing.
Keeping everybody on board smiling means landing at friendly ports to stock up on food, booze and debauchery. It also serves as a fine opportunity to charm the town's gentry and perhaps find yourself a gossiping wife who may reveal the location of daddy's assets.
All of the sailing and fighting is displayed using an overhead view. You control your ship's direction and can increase and decrease your speed using your masts and sails.
The outcome of a battle can depend on many different things. For instance, if the wind is light then you can get caught and stand a good chance of catching a broodside. However, if everything is favourable the basic objective is to render the enemy immobile and then maraud with your greasy boarding party. Once you've boarded, the play alters to a sword fight between you and the opposing captain, the winner taking the spoils.
This updated version of MicroProse's earlier release doesn't differ too greatly apart from a really neat ray traced animated intro and a proper Cornish pirate-type jig soundtrack.
Although there don't seem to be too many radical changes from the original Pirates, the whole game seems to benefit from both the slick accessing of a CD, and the atmospheric advantages this media grants you.
On the whole Pirates is a more-than-