Sail the Caribbean, marauding all on the high seas or ally your ship and crew as a privateer in search of riches - the life you choose is up to you. Face dogged enemies, raid unsuspecting villages, woo fair maidens, avoid capture or dig for buried treasure. Discover what it takes to become one of the most famous pirates in history!
User reviews: Overwhelmingly Positive (521 reviews)
Release Date: Jul 11, 2005

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Recommended By Curators

"Best pirate game ever made. Old but very much recommended if you can get the past old looks and UI."

About This Game

Sail the Caribbean, marauding all on the high seas or ally your ship and crew as a privateer in search of riches - the life you choose is up to you. Face dogged enemies, raid unsuspecting villages, woo fair maidens, avoid capture or dig for buried treasure. Discover what it takes to become one of the most famous pirates in history!

System Requirements

    Minimum: Windows® 98/Me/2000/XP, Pentium® 1.0 GHz or higher, 256 MB RAM, 1.2 GB Free HDD, 64 MB video card* with Hardware T&L support, Windows® 98/Me/2000/XP-compatible sound card*, DirectX® version 9.0b (included) or higher
    * Indicates device should be compatible with DirectX® version 9.0b or higher.
Helpful customer reviews
115 of 124 people (93%) found this review helpful
10.1 hrs on record
If you’re an older gamer, then you are more than likely familiar with Sid Meier’s Pirates. It was one of the first games to give you truly open-ended gameplay – you were free to sail under any flag, change allegiances, be a merchant or a pirate … the Caribbean was an open sea for you to explore. The gameplay was pretty straightforward, but it had an engaging quality to it that would cause you to lose yourself in the game for hours on end. Now the game has received a much overdue update and its basic design has withstood the test of time – the game is just as much fun as it ever was, if not more so.The premise of the game is simple: you’re a young buccaneer captain out to make your fortune on the Spanish Main. You’re also out to avenge the capture of you family and rescue them from indentured servitude, but it is really up to you whether or not you want to pursue their rescue. The game will rate your performance more highly if you do, but you can certainly simply concentrate on becoming a feared pirate and leave your family to fend for themselves. The game does not oblige you to do anything.Politics plays a large role in the game as it did in the Caribbean in the 17th Century. The four nations vying for dominance in the region constantly shift allegiances and move in and out of states of war. As an enterprising captain you need to take advantage of this and always be on the look out for new opportunities.The animations are detailed and you’ll see your sails react to the wind as you tack or come about, the wake kicked up by your ship, and even dolphins who come to play in that wake. While sailing the seas you’ll encounter other ships and as you approach you’ll see the flag of their nationality and the ship’s class. Battles on deck are abstracted to a sword dual between you and the enemy captain. You can select a rapier, long sword, or cutlass with which to fight, each of which is a trade off to some degree between speed and defense. You have three attack moves to choose from and a defensive move to counter each.The cities in the game are for far more than sacking. As you sail the Caribbean you’ll see the relative size of each city and be able to tell its relative wealth from the condition of the flag that flies above the town.When in town you have several locations that you can visit. Each town also has a shipwright who can repair your battle damage, buy your captured ships, or in some cases provide upgrades to your hull, sails, or cannons to aid your ship’s performance in battle. Speaking of treasure, it wouldn’t be a pirate game without buried treasure. At the lower difficulty levels maps are always complete and well-marked and it is simply a question of going to the right location and picking up your prize. At higher levels things get a bit trickier as you often have to make do with map fragments and must search for specific landmarks like an arched rock or a clump of dead trees to find the buried booty.Overall Pirates has that hard to pinpoint addictive quality to it that will keep you coming back. Hours will disappear as you strive to complete one more raid or get your next promotion. It’s a magical quality that’s missing in most games, and one that will keep you coming back to Pirates as other games come and go.
Posted: August 22
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22 of 24 people (92%) found this review helpful
20.2 hrs on record
One of my all time favourites - one of the only games I would rate 10 without hesitation for it is one of those few games where every playing moment is different - the sea of caribea feels alive and has always ships to plunge, resources to sell, towns to invade, hidden treasures to seek and even attractive governors' daughters to date with! These and numerous other quests await - Ya'harr!
Posted: July 1
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10 of 11 people (91%) found this review helpful
11.4 hrs on record
BEST ABOUT IT: The open ended nature, sailing around picking on ships that outclass you, and managing your fleet and supplies.

WORST ABOUT IT: The quicktime event dancing and fencing scenes are downright awful and the mere thought of them is usually enough to prevent me from playing this game.

GAMEPLAY: You start by choosing a country to side with and a small sloop in that chosen country's port. You can get some info and supplies from that port and then you're off to sail around the Caribbian. The ship controls feel fantastic, working with or against the wind, and there is strategy in what type of cannon shot you fire, round to damage a hull, chain to damage the sails, and grape to take out crew. You also need to buy or raid supplies to keep your crew from a mutiny.

CONTROLS: Steering your ship and firing the cannons is very satisfying. However the UI and map screens are clunky and seem like from an age prior to when this game was released. The QTE cut scenes are obnoxious and repetitive but they can mostly be avoided altogether.

STORY: You play as a young pirate who is trying to rescue his family and defeat some marquis villain. This is a sandbox game so you’ll be creating your own story for the most part. There's no way to customise your character other than your name and some stat bonuses (1 perk at the start and others with items), but you can captain any ship you can get your hands on and deck it out with upgrades.

GRAPHICS: The main graphics look Caribbean and still mostly hold up today and are certainly functional, but the cut scenes look dated. You have to use your imagination a bit. The highest screen resolution is 1152 x 864 and no widescreen. It looks ok though, and there are ways to force the resolution if you want.

PERFORMANCE: Ran smoothly for me and I didn't encounter any problems.

SOUND: Excellent. The sounds of the waves, creaking of the wooden ships, and shouts of your crew are some of the first things that come to mind thinking of this game. I’m not a fan of the Simlish spoken dialect though. The music is fitting and sets the cartoony pirate mood well.

REPLAYABILITY: Replay doesn’t get any better than this game. However I haven’t actually finished the story yet, it's just fun to sail around and do your own thing.

SIMILAR TO: I don’t know, the Sims 2 mixed with Grand Theft Auto 1 and Port Royale?

RECOMMENDED PURCHASE PRICE: I don't see this on sale often but $10 is reasonable.

Sid Meier’s Pirates
Firaxis Games 2004 (remake of 1987 original)

RATING: 75/100
Posted: July 29
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13 of 17 people (76%) found this review helpful
5.5 hrs on record
Yo ho ho!

+Sea Battles
+Sword Fights
+Hot Chicks
+Raid Towns
+Buried Treasure

-Ugly Chicks

A great game, a true classic. Even this version is quite old now, but I remember playing Pirates! Gold for many, many hours back in the day. This version is on par with the older ones. Some aspects, such as the swordfighting, were better in the other ones. Other aspects like the overworld view and sea battles I liked better in this version. No matter which version you try it's simply one of those games you must play.

It does contain a plot, but much like Skyrim it's up to you whether you follow it or not. You can choose to chase after your lost family or simply sail around looking for booty. It offers a wide selection of ways to achieve greatness, which makes it great.
Posted: September 25
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7 of 7 people (100%) found this review helpful
20.0 hrs on record
Sid Meier's Pirates may be the first game I ever completed to 100%, and it may be the only one where getting there didn't seem to be a chore.

I genuinely wanted to continue boarding, privateering, plundering, pillaging, smuggling, fencing, collecting bounty, and just sailing around the Caribbean until my character got too old to manage a happy crew or hold a Rapier.
I, personally, wanted to find Buried Treasure, Lost Cities, Lost Relatives, Infamous Pirates, Decked-Out Ships, and whatever trinkets or wenches were waiting for me at the next port's tavern, I didn't need a Quest Log to tell me where to go next.
Posted: July 3
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145 of 162 people (90%) found this review helpful
10.3 hrs on record
Classic game! I'll review this game in sentence fragments:
Fight Pirates.
Battle ships.
Ransack towns.
Sail the open sea.
Get booty.
Get other booty.


Seriously, it is a really great game. If you're looking for the ultimate pirate experience, I wouldn't say this is it but it is pretty darn close. If you like pirates and/or you just like games in general, I would give it a try; you can't go wrong. Plus, it has the almighty Sid Meier name on the game so you know there's a quality game here.
Posted: February 16
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