Sid Meiers Pirates (Xbox)

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Led by renowned developer Sid Meier, Firaxis reprises one of the most universally acclaimed titles of the early days of computer gaming. This 2005 Xbox version of Sid Meier's Pirates! follows the multi-genre design of the 1987 C64 original, while updating both presentation and gameplay with contemporarily cutting-edge technologies. Players take the role of an unremarkable ship captain who is destined for greatness.

As in the original game, players will set their own course toward this destiny, be it through diplomacy, subterfuge, or brute force. Sid Meier's Pirates! lets players explore multiple aspects of a swashbuckler's life in the Caribbean during the Age of Sail, from fast-paced sword fights and naval combat, to ravenous raids of ports and merchants, to political manipulation of colonial powers in the region.

Therefore, Pirates! players will encounter an unusually wide array of challenges, including arcade-action-style battles, strategic empire-building in the 17th-century Caribbean, and personality-driven role-playing. Each new game develops along its own unique course, according to the decisions made, the victories attained, and defeats suffered.

Veterans of the 2004 PC remake will notice a few differences in this Xbox port. Sneaking through town is done from a closer, third-person perspective, but the player's pirate can engage town guards in more action-oriented combat. A new ship-boarding mini-game, called "Evening the Odds," relies on button-press mimicking in the style of Shenmue's "Quick Time Events." The Xbox version also features multiplayer ship combat, complete with power-ups, for as many as four players on the same console.

Overall, Sid Meier's Pirates! is designed to allow players to progress as they choose through a diverse selection of non-linear, individual missions and challenges. The player's choices and actions can have effects on the game world, however, and as they become more powerful and feared, captains will begin to see their influence all across the Caribbean. Each adventure spans the captain's entire lifetime, and the ultimate goal is to eventually retire, at a ripe old age, with as much wealth and status as possible.