Thursday, January 20, 2011

Pirates!: ThwARRRted


I had all kinds of great material ready for a one-shot (or maybe two-shot) review of Pirates! but I can't get the damned game to work. In part, I'm confused by the game history. The original release was in 1987 for the Commodore 64. MobyGames says there was a DOS release but lists it as 1994, which doesn't make any sense, because by 1994, Pirates! Gold had already been out for a year. Wikipedia lists no DOS release at all but says there was a PC booter version in 1987; apparently, DOSBox can emulate a PC booter but I can't find a download. Meanwhile, I did find a DOS version (from which the screen shot above comes) on this web site, but the introductory text is different than I remember and the game doesn't work: it keeps freezing after the opening text and battles. I've messed around with the settings in DOSBox to no avail. The existence of this game is a bit mysterious given the insistence of both MobyGames and Wikipedia that it doesn't exist, and I only found it on one abandonware site.

So...any ideas? (Other than playing a non-DOS/PC version; that ship has already sailed.) I'll keep trying to figure it out, but in the meantime I'll move on to The Seven Spirits of Ra. Worst case, I have to wait until Pirates! Gold in 1993.

Later Edit: problem solved (see comments). I'm still a bit mystified as to the history and origins of this DOS version, but I won't trouble myself too much. Posting coming soon.


13 comments:

  1. I have to versions that claim to be bootable. Tried to make them into a disk image with WinImage so I could use DOSBox's BOOT command but neither one booted properly [I've used DOSBox's BOOT command to run the booter versions of King's Quest games so it does work], so I tried running both from just the disk. Same problem as you, freezes in the middle of the first battle.

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  2. Try typing "loadfix" before you run the game.

    If that doesn't help, check out this thread: http://vogons.zetafleet.com/viewtopic.php?t=24363&sid=c157f1b318a5ca4f893340f64b6aaa2b

    Maybe try some of the special DosBox builds they are linking to. I remember an SVN build helping me run an old interactive movie game I once tried.

    If THAT doesn't work, you can always play the online dos-port version found here: http://dosdose.com/game/746/pirates!/

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  3. There's a video of someone playing the PC version with DOSBox, so there must be some secret handshake we're missing here.

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  4. I completely forgot about LOADFIX, but that did it. I lost the battle, but it at least didn't freeze.. I'll stick to the C64 version.

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  5. Just loaded up my own copy of Pirates! that I got off abandonia. Works fine throug dosbox, no need to boot off a disk or anything.

    link: http://www.abandonia.com/en/games/746/Pirates!.html

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  6. I remember Pirates! for the PC. It was the second game i ever played, after Nethack. So many fond memories of both of those games You've finally worked your way up to my childhood, and I can't wait to see these games.

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  7. LOADFIX was the answer. Thanks, Fartarget. I've never heard of this command before. I'm not 100% sure what it does, and I'm even more unsure why I've never had to use it before. But whatever--it works!

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  8. I have no idea what loadfix does. I just know it's a part of DOSBOX and it has something to do with memory requirements of really old games.

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  9. You will need LOADFIX for Might&Magic 2:Gates to another world as well.

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  10. The DOS version is most likely a hacked booter version. This is actually true for many of the 80s DOS games floating around the net, warez-groups used to do that alot.

    The '94 version seems to have been released on Kixx, which was a budget label that re-released old games.

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  11. Oh, and about loadfix, here's what the Dosbox documentation has to say:

    "Program to reduce the amount of available conventional memory. Useful for old programs which don't expect much memory to be free."

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  12. Vilse the bootable game was a game release because I actually owned the game (and has been lost since forever) with the box and the manual. The best part of the manual was experts from the memoir of a pirate, who claimed to have captured a frigate with a pinnace once (and said that pirates nowadays are sissies).

    (sorry for bumping such an old thread)

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