Forgotten Pirate Games
Pirates have been capturing the imagination in popular culture for a long time now & the video game audience is heavily invested in the mythology of these swashbuckling vagabonds. Some of these games, like Sid Meier’s Pirates!, have even helped to change the l&scape of the gaming world. Not all pirate games are as successful though.
Some games are hidden by the s&s of time, patiently waiting to be found by a daring buccaneer that finds the X that marks the spot. With so many pirate games available on the market, it is easy to lose track of them, but that’s not to say that there aren’t still plenty of great pirate games that deserve a second glance.
10/10 Pirates: The Legend Of Black Kat
PlayStation 2 & Xbox
Pirates: The Legend of Black Kat was released on Playstation & Xbox consoles in 2002. The plot follows a dangerous female pirate: Katarina de Leon, better known as Black Kat. In a quest for revenge & lost treasure, Black Kat sails the seas searching for Captain Hawke, the man responsible for her father’s death.
The game itself had some solid gameplay, especially the sailing mechanics, which were simple but fun. There is a surprising amount of customization available too. Players can utilize different projectiles for the cannon, including chain shots & call upon magic in battle. The Legend of Black Kat is a solid game to scratch those nostalgic itches.
9/10 Pirates Of The Caribbean Online
Microsoft Windows, macOS, & Classic Mac OS
Released in 2007, Pirates Of The Caribbean Online was a pirate MMORPG that built the movie universe into a playable world for fans to enjoy. The game centered around creating a pirate, exploring the lore of the universe, & completing quests to progress in level. Players flocked to the game to battle against the most dangerous pirates from the franchise.
The studio closed the game in 2013, but some enthusiastic fans created their own spin-off game. The Legends Of Pirates Online is, of course, in no way affiliated with the original game but is a fully built replica of Pirates Of The Caribbean Online. It seems there is an appetite for more Pirates Of The Caribbean content as the game is run by volunteers.
8/10 Pirates: Legend of the Black Buccaneer
PlayStation 2, Microsoft Windows, & Xbox
In this pirate epic, players control Francis Blade as he explores the isl& of La Borgne after being shipwrecked. Once the player finds an amulet that allows Blade to transform into the Black Buccaneer, an undead voodoo pirate captain, the game gets more interesting. The aim is to repair a ship, so players can escape the isl&. There is also an exciting boss battle that rewards players with long-lost pirate treasure.
The game is large enough & contains puzzles to keep players guessing what to do next. Although the game looked visually impressive, the overall reviews were lackluster, which is why it remains forgotten.
7/10 Age of Booty
Cloud (OnLive), Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, & Xbox 360.
Age Of Booty is a Real-time tile-based strategy game published by Capcom. Players will need to take over tiles, fight for resources, & battle against other pirates who are looking to steal the loot. It has an easy learning curve, so, players can pick it up at a casual pace.
The challenge modes are not easy, however, as once players get toward the most serious difficulty, things can get tricky. Age of Booty is an addictive experience if playing with friends & rewards communication & teamwork. It’s simple, but there is depth to the game to keep players hooked.
Launched way back in 2012 & published by KingsIsle, Pirate101 was almost forgotten until 2022 when loyal players took a st& & flooded the servers. The idea was that joining en masse would force the developers to update the game. The game already boasts voice acting, companions, & turn-based combat.
The plan to force KingIsle to update the game worked as the studio promised updates to the game in 2022. However, KingIsle did ease expectations saying it needs time to readjust. The game is free-to-play & offers customizable ships & pirates, & it’s family-friendly.
5/10 Pirates, Vikings, & Knights II
Microsoft Windows, OS X, & Linux.
Pirates, Vikings, & Knights 2 is a free-to-play game that combines three eras into one war zone. There is a team deathmatch mode, a territory mode, & a unique booty game. Each faction is unique & comes with different equipment, strengths, & special moves. Players use mouse movements to direct melee strikes, but opponents can try to deflect in the same way. It is a lot like Chivalry or Mordhau, & it’s free!
Being a free, exciting medieval combat simulator is why the reviews for the game are still very positive. Sadly, due to the rise of newer titles, the player baseis hovering around 13 concurrent players, according to Steam Stats.
4/10 Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros’ Treasure
Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros’ Treasure is an excellent pirate-themed adventure game published by Capcom for the Nintendo Wii. The Wii console is a unique platform that gave Zack & Wiki a special twist to the point-&-click adventure style.
Players control Zack & his sidekick monkey Wiki as they search for the treasure of legendary pirate Barbaros. The game combines puzzle-solving with Sparkling, exciting cutscenes. Zack & Wiki gained highly positive reviews from critics due to the originality & unique experience that only the Wii could offer. Despite the cult following of fans, commercially, the game didn’t meet expectations.
3/10 Sea Dogs
Released in 2000 & published by Bethesda, Sea Dogs follows in the footsteps of previous titles, such as Sid Meier’s Pirates! The gameplay is more developed & uses an updated engine to allow Sea Dogs to improve the design. It is action mixed with strategy & a hint of role-playing. At first, it can be confusing for players, but the gameplay actually has an endearing simplicity.
Players control Nicolas Sharp as he attempts to manage a ship & crew. Like many Bethesda games, the story is nonlinear, & players can pick & choose where to go. Despite obvious issues, the game is a fun experience but is a product of its time & has aged considerably. Sea Dogs is a nostalgic hit for players who have already played it, but outdated.
2/10 Treasure Isl& (1984)
ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, Plus/4, & C16
Treasure Isl& is a game based on a novel written by Robert Louis Stevenson & published in 1882 that transcends its original time period. The video game was released in 1984, making it one of the very first pirate games ever made, &, as a result, it is a product of its time. The gameplay is limited, but it is great for a nostalgia trip for the players that had the pleasure of playing the game at its peak.
In the game, players take control of Jim Hawkins, the protagonist of the book, who is preparing for a showdown with the immortalized Long John Silver. Throwing cutlasses at pirates & using limited resources to progress through each level; swashbuckling action at its finest. The game begs the question: why aren’t more classic books adapted into games?
1/10 Sea Legends
Sea Legends was released on May 31, 1996. Set in 1667, players must sail to Barbados, but there are many plot twists ahead. The game features piracy & war on the high seas with layers of a scripted role-playing quest to follow. Players take the role of Captain Richard Grey, a noble British sailor that can turn into a pirate if the player chooses.
There are elements of a point-&-click adventure style that is a precursor to popular pirate games like the recently revived Monkey Isl& series. However, for a game released in 1996 & with a total download size of 135MB, there are also some impressive 3D duels & interesting sailing mechanics. Family secrets, betrayal, & murder all await in Sea Legends.
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