Reviewed: May 30, 2006
Released: March 27, 2006
Editors Note: Buccaneer's Bounty contains three previously released pirate-themed titles. Since GCM did not have the opportunity to review those titles when they original shipped we are reviewing them separately here. Simply average the three scores together if you need to calculate a score for the Buccanner's Bounty compilation compilation.
Originally released in November of 2003, Tortuga: Pirates of the New World is one of three classic pirate games included in the new compilation, Buccaneers Bounty by Cinemaware. This pirate simulation game has little to do with the trading aspects of the 1600’s and more to do with pirates and hunting them down. Or you can go the other way and become a pirate, loot convoys and towns as you avoid capture from several countries flotillas of armed ships.
Tortuga has some trading that you can accomplish but it is not necessary unless you really need some money. Otherwise hunt pirates, search for treasure and accomplish other missions handed out by the governors of the port towns and have fun.
Tortuga was made a bit differently than the other two games in Buccaneers Bounty. In this simulation game you start out with 10,000 gold pieces and a manned ship. You are given a couple of missions to start you off with using the game controls and how to play and it’s off to sea. Your main goal in the game is to gain the title captain; you accomplish this by completing missions assigned to you by governors or ones you find yourself.
You continue accomplishing missions and tasks for governors and raising your title from cabin boy up to captain. The missions you receive when you’re at the lower ranks are pretty easy but when you’re higher in rank the governors expect more from you so the missions are tougher. There are no particular missions you absolutely have to accomplish as you can always go to other towns and get missions from other rulers.
Sinking ships is pretty easy by just shooting them with cannon balls but capturing ships and being able to use them yourself gets tough. This is where a good crew comes in handy. Outfitting your crew and keeping them happy makes for good fighting men on your side. This is all accomplished by completing missions, keeping them supplied with food and finally paying them off before they get “Angry”.
You have to keep them happy by supplying them with food and of course rum but eventually after gaining gold and captured ships they will want some. A bar tells how angry they are and before you get it too low you should head to a friendly port and share your bounty. After sharing with them they will go their way and you will get a new crew and ship. You will also start out at the original 10,000 gold pieces.
The controls and different menus are easy to use and the gameplay is pretty straightforward. Having a map with the old world’s towns labeled on it is handy to have while you play. Many missions you’re told to go to a certain town and it would be nice to have them memorized but the map is handier.
If you find yourself low on funds you can trade with ports to get more money but you can only use money to buy trade goods and repair your ships. You cannot buy new ships, only fighting and capturing them gets you the better war galleons and military ships. If during combat you are defeated and sunk you will escape in a small boat and get helped out with a new ship and crew with 10,000 gold pieces.
Tortuga: Pirates of the New World has some very good graphics, you can even see the stuff on the bottom of the ocean. The system requirements are low for this game but it has some very good images and scenes while you’re in the different views. The scenes are well rendered and I had no problems or glitches of any kind.
During the town view it is a steady shot of one of several towns that only highlights the sections of town you visit and then has menus for your trading, repairing or other town topics. The ocean and fighting views are very well rendered. In the ocean view you can see towns you have already visited and ships that are within range of your line of sight. You need to pay attention while playing to watch out for things like treasure maps or other objects that can be missions in themselves.
Tortuga has some pretty standard sound and background music while you’re playing. There was nothing extra ordinary about the sound but it was very good and appropriate for the game. The background music would change according to your situation and fighting so it followed well with the gameplay. The usual sea noises and fighting sounds are heard at the appropriate time so the sound was good during the game.
I played Tortuga for several hours straight; gaining ships, gold and some trade goods by capturing ships and completing missions for governors and made ranks pretty steadily. There are many missions to be able to accomplish and none are ever the same, even when you play a saved game at some point and go to the same places. You are assigned many different missions from finding out about distant lands or ports to hunting down pirates and many in between.
You can easily play Tortuga through to the end several different ways using different strategies and still have fun doing so. The fighting is challenging enough and there is a wide variety of missions to keep you on your toes. You get to fight against towns and numerous ships when you reach higher ranks so it does get tougher the more you play. Tortuga is a very good value and there is plenty here to keep you busy on the high seas.
Considering you are getting three complete games that are still relatively new for the low price of $20 (or less if you shop around), Buccaneer's Bounty is a fantastic value, even if you only end up playing one of them.
Tortuga: Pirates of the New World is a pretty good pirate strategy game with a heavy dose of simulation . It is different enough from the other two games in Buccaneers Bounty to warrant including it in the compilation pack.
The game is about gaining rank and becoming a better sea captain, not about acquiring wealth or gold. Every so often you will find yourself back at one ship with a crew and some money so you will always have a challenge just to get a better armada before your crew turns mutinous.