previewed on PC
In Black Buccaneer you take on the role of Francis Blade (who appears to get hair styling tips from Sid Meier) who becomes shipwrecked on a mysterious island. Blade finds a skull amulet on the island that grants him the special powers of the Black Buccaneer. One of these powers is the ability to transform into a giant, undead looking beast of a man.
Blade learns that there is a mysterious pirate treasure just waiting to be plundered. Well what better to do if you're stuck on a mysterious island with a mysterious skull amulet then to go searching for a mysterious pirate treasure? Along the way of searching for this treasure many more mysterious adventures await.
All is not well in Pirateville!
But not all is well; There are some characters in the game that take an issue with Blade's plans of looting this treasure. Some creatures are so dead set against it that they will attempt to kill Blade just to stop him from getting that treasure. Be prepared to fend off an army of monkeys, apes, baboons, gorillas, and hordes of other enemies.
I must admit I have never played Prince of Persia but it was the first and only game that came to mind when looking at this game. Much akin to Prince of Persia, Black Buccaneer will feature lots of jumping, ranging from "totally impossible" to "completely impossible". But who is to say what is impossible when you can alter the progression of space/time or turn yourself into a giant undead guy with a huge sword?
Is it really impossible?
For the folks that enjoy this sort of game but may dislike constant finger movements in order to make the character perform properly, there are other, non-jumping puzzles to be solved too. The rest of us that can't get enough of this type of action will be begging the game to take us to the next set of evil monkeys or impossible jumping puzzles. The occasional trap will keep things loose and force even the most confident jumpers and monkey fighters to remember to save the game on a regular basis.
As mentioned before, Francis can transform into another character. The alter-ego, called The Baron, wields a wicked looking sword. As The Baron, you're able to hack and slash your way through the many foes on your path. While not very agile, he packs a punch and is perfect for combat. For non-combat situations, Francis is better of as himself as he's fast and agile: perfect for jumping and climbing. A 'third' female character called Vanilla, can also be found in the game but it is not known at this time when she becomes available. After you've gone through the entire game, you can revisit everything and see if you can get through the same puzzle as before in a different way. Many of the problems you encounter in the game can be solved in several different ways, adding to its re-playability.
It's a pretty picture!
The worlds vary from Caribbean islands to places that seem to be taken straight out of hell. Everything is richly detailed and it is obvious that the developers spent a lot of time to get this right. The graphics are perhaps not groundbreaking but definitely more than adequate and can easily compete with other offerings in this genre.
If you are looking for a pirate title such as Sid Meier's Pirates!, or Pirates of the Caribbean then Black Buccaneer will only disappoint you. However if you want to play an action/adventure game with melee weapons and special powers like Prince of Persia then Black Buccaneer looks to be the game for you.
Since to my knowledge there haven't been any major releases of any games similar to Prince of Persia for a while now, Black Buccaneer has a great chance at capturing fans of this genre. Although available for the PC, based on the nature of the game, Black Buccaneer will more then likely capture more console purchases then PC purchases. With the popularity that Prince of Persia has garnered in the past, it is clear that this game is intended to be a continuation of the genre. With nine different worlds and 26 different levels in addition to the constant battle with the evil monkeys this game is certain to keep the game player entertained for hours.