A business/strategy/RPG-like simulation.
You play as a captain named Articus whose daughter is kidnapped by Bloodthroat, a "lecherous pirate". You must raise 50,000 gold pieces as ransom, by transporting goods and battling nefarious high-seas pirates.
"On returning to the ship from business in the port, I wasinformed that my ship was raided, and my daughter Katherine hasbeen kidnapped by Bloodthroat the Pirate. He demands a ransom of50,000 pieces of gold within thirty days or he will sell her intothe harems of the Coast. Now I must raise the ransom, and try torescue my beloved Katherine."
Thus ye must free the young lass from the grasp of the vile Pirate of the Barbary Coast!
You're a more or less peaceful man, which is why you are going to pay for your daughter's release. But in order to pay the ransom you need to raise the money. Luckily you have a treasure map and you are a skilled merchant, so getting the gold should be an achievable goal.
You begin the game in the port of Casablanca. You can select a destination to go to, or you can see what this port has to offer you. Generally all the ports are the same. There's a merchant, a ship's repair dock and a store there. The main difference between the ports are the prizes of merchandise, so your main goal is to buy cheap and sell expensive. You start off with 5000 gold pieces and you need to add one more zero to that in order to see your daughter again.
Now sailing from port to port (you'll see a map with available locations) you may also encounter enemy ships. If that's the case you can either flee (the smarter option) or fight. Sometimes a fight is unavoidable.
The fighting sequence is really the one that gets on the nerves. Back on the C64 I used to be very quick and could load 4 or 5 canons before the enemy ship would come into their sites and then I'd blast them out of the sea. Here the loading is very slow (especially if you do it with the keyboard). But once you get the hang of it, you'll make an admirable seadog. Luckily you can play either with the keys, mouse or joystick (I suggest the mouse).
The goal is to gather money, find the Pirate and get your daughter back. With some luck you can do it in about half an hour. The ports have fairly similar prices, so if you remember a few of them (what's good to buy and what not) you won't have trouble making money (*hint* I bet your history teacher never told you about the profitable cocoa-wool trade route between Casablanca and Algiers). The treasure island and the pirate captain will always be placed on the islands in the Atlantic ocean. So I'm not sure how often you'll be replaying this game, since it has a rather low replayability.
So in short, this is a CGA 4 color game, about 20 years old with nothing more then the bleeping sound. So don't expect and visual or audio pleasures from this game. The game does run smooth enough and I'd suggest it for a remake (were it in my power), because it has some potential, but that's about it. You can't save, so if you're not careful with the prizes you might end up loosing money.
For any additional information read the in-game booklet and the ship's log (you'll learn all you need to know to play).
Pirates of the Barbary Coast is an ambitious but flawed strategy/action game set in the Barbary Coast region, during the high piracy era of the 17th century. One of the (few) best things about the game is the plot, which casts you as a captain whose daughter has been kidnapped by Bloodthroat (how fitting) the Pirate. He demands a ransom of 50,000 gold, and gives you 30 days before he sells her to the harems of the coast. Your job, of course, is to raise that much money and rescue your daughter.
Gameplay is primitive, and not all that much fun. You raise money by trading goods in various ports-- that's about all the strategy there is in the game. The action part comes in where you decide to fight a pirate ship (you can run from them as well). If you manage to sink the ship, you can board it and seize the captain's log and booty. The pirates' captain logs contain information about which types of goods can be bought cheaply, but they can be out of date. They can also give clues to Bloodthroat's hideout, but this is a rare event. The game's interface curiously resembles a text adventure in many places, such as the fact that you must click on items *in order* (e.g. powder, cannon, push rod) in order to load a cannon successfully. Following this historically accurate procedure is fun for the first time, but becomes a nuisance for the umpteenth time that you're frantically fighting the pirate ship. You must also keep your crew fed, although they replenish the food a bit too quickly for my taste.
Overall, PoBBC will not knock anyone's socks off, or distract people away from Sid Meier's Pirates!, but it does offer some nice touches, as well as ease of play. Recommended for anyone looking for a real oldie on the subject matter that pioneers this niche premise.
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