Dogs of the Seas
Genre Action -> Adventure
Today's Rank 16889
Date 2000-12-05
Publisher Bethesda
Date 2002-03-28
Publisher Ubisoft
North America Retail Box ArtSea Dogs casts you as a young English privateer who had the misfortune of getting boarded and captured by the Spanish during the golden age of piracy. Left to rot in an island prison, you soon make your escape, capturing a small ship and making for the nearest English port. There the adventure begins as you accept a letter of Marque, which grants royal authority to attack and plunder Spanish ships. Sea Dogs offers three games in one. A third-person perspective lets you guide your character through the various towns and ports and interact with the citizenry. The shore-side adventure plays like a good 3-D RPG and allows you to uncover plots, hire pirates, and buy supplies. But the gameplay on land is merely a prelude to the real action: piracy on the high seas. The combat model is excellent, enabling quick-thinking captains to maneuver their ships to fire broadsides into enemy vessels. You pick from the surprisingly wide variety of cannon shot in order to bring down mizzenmasts and mainsails, clear the decks of crew, or simply blast the enemy ship into matchwood. When you board or are boarded, a third option pops up that lets you duel with the enemy captain. Your health is a representation of the amount of crew you have relative to the enemy. It's a decent system pirated straight from Sid Meier's Pirates!, the original high-seas adventure. Another bit of stolen Pirates! booty is the ability to pursue your own destiny. Unlike most other games, Sea Dogs does not impose a restrictive plot upon the player. Stay loyal to the English, join the Spanish, plunder the French just for the fun of it, or renounce all nations and become a pirate king--the options for adventure in Sea Dogs are as limitless as the ocean. Where Sea Dogs takes on water is its difficulty. It took an awful lot of dying and reloading before we came upon an encounter that we could handle with our meager initial force. Getting thrown to the sharks wouldn't be quite so bad if gamers were given a chance to hone their skills, but Sea Dogslacks any kind of tutorial to let you practice ship-to-ship combat and swordplay. If your interest is only casual, this one won't shiver your timbers. But if you're in it for the long haul the game delivers a fantastic pirate experience. --Bob Andrews Pros: Great piratey atmosphere Excellent graphics Lots of depth Dramatic ship-to-ship combat Cons: Too difficult No tutorials
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