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Sid Meier's Pirates!

If you're looking for a fun adventure sailing around the Caribbean, definitely give Pirates! a try. The graphics are great, the music fits in well, and we really enjoy the gameplay.

Anyone familiar with classic stories about the Pirates of the Caribbean will quickly understand the gameplay. You are the captain of a pirate ship, and sail around the various islands in the Caribbean, attacking whoever you choose. You get plunder from the conquered ships, build up your fame and manpower, and trade goods from island to island.

You get to do ship-sailing tasks such as making sure you circle your ship to aim its side (i.e. the bank of cannons) at the enemy. You can send landing parties to explore islands, and land in the various towns. You can hang out in the tavern, gathering rumors and new crew. You can chat with the governor and maybe his attractive daughter. You can refit your ship and trade with the merchant.

As you go, you can build up to better and better ships, and even be captain of an entire fleet. The politics come and go, and you might be friends with some countries that later become your enemies. There are mini-games galore. You can board a ship and get into a hand-to-hand duel. You can dance with the women at the ball. If you're tossed into prison, you can sneak your way out again.

The graphics are really rather nice, with the bright blues, greens and sandy shores of the tropical caribbean area. The rolling of the waves, the sailing of the ships, and the bright sunshine really help you get a feel of this beautiful part of the world.

The music is great, too. If your crew is happy, they sing traditional sea tunes as they sail along. The combat music, sailing music, tavern music, all of it helps you feel like you're back in the days of swords and tight pants.

Some say that the backgrounds are repetitive, but I really didn't find this to be the case. How different is the deck of a ship going to look, if you're having a swordfight in it? The decks they show are incredibly detailed, with wooden barrels, gridded windows and carved woodwork. With the main focus of a fight being the fight, I have no need for 8 thousand backgrounds to fight against.

You get promotions from the various countries, which upgrade your look. You really get a sense of progress as you build your fame and become a power to be reckoned with.

I enjoy this game a great deal, and highly recommend it!

Buy Pirates! from Amazon.com

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