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Corsairs: Conquest at Sea

Score: 60%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Microids
Developer: Microids
Media: CD/1
Players: 1
Genre: Action/ Strategy

Graphics & Sound:

The graphics in Corsairs: Conquest at Sea are pretty poor -- blurry ship sprites, an ugly menu system, an interface that pains your eyes. The towns look reasonably cool, but not enough to redeem the graphics in the rest of the game. The intro FMV is pretty good, but it doesn’t redeem the game either -- this game looks like it should have come out a few years ago instead of now. Really.

The music is fairly good, and got me in the mood of the times, but the sound effects are rather third-rate, without the realistic booms and bangs that I want from my pirate sim. Of course, graphics and sound are only part of the package, you also need...


...Pirates. Pirates! Gold has had the top spot of pirate gaming for years. Unfortunately, Corsairs doesn’t even come close to knocking Pirates! Gold out of that position. You play as either the French or the British in a quest to be the best pirate in the seas. This is supposed to range through a vast array of quests and adventures, with boarding parties and town raids and everything. Unfortunately, this game doesn’t really implement any of the pieces very well. The ship battles are obnoxious, with my five-ship flotilla taking more than three minutes to take out a single small ship -- agh!

The boarding battles are just as bad, with lots of similar looking sprites clang-clanging against each other. It’s better than Cutthroats’ little cartoon animation, but not by much. The quests themselves are generally trivial, with a “kill these guys, then save this town” setup. And trading is supposed to figure into the game heavily -- instead, you simply abuse the trading engine to get filthy rich, going back and forth between towns on the map to get as much money as possible. Nothing seems to be right in Corsairs -- everything is just a little too easy or too hard or too obnoxious to bother. There are serious control issues with picking ships to move around the map. This game has a lot of potential, but the gameplay and control issues end up ruining the possibilities.


Corsairs itself isn’t that difficult once you start to abuse the trading mechanism. You’ll have more problems controlling the ships and moving them around the map than with the missions that the governors give you to do.

Game Mechanics:

The mechanics of Corsairs are deeply flawed. Control’s a pain, trading is a pain, and battle’s a real pain. This game had so much potential -- on first boot, I was terribly excited by the different things that I could do, the different ships that I could buy, the different towns that I could visit -- but after playing it, you realize that Corsairs: Conquest at Sea gives a terribly empty feeling in your stomach. Pirates! Gold it’s not. If you’re an absolute fan of the genre, you may want to get this. But otherwise, steer clear. It’s better than Cutthroats, but not by much.

-Sunfall to-Ennien, GameVortex Communications
AKA Phil Bordelon

Minimum System Requirements:

Pentium 166, Win95/98, 32MB RAM, 4X CD-ROM, Sound Blaster or compatible card, 100MB HD space, mouse

Test System:

AMD K6-III 450 running Windows 98, 256MB RAM, Creative Sound Blaster Live! Sound Card, Creative TNT2 Ultra w/32MB RAM, 6x24 DVD-ROM

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Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated