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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Newest Acquisition

Yesterday, I found myself in a situation of total providence.  Well, providence at any rate.  I found a rather obscure game, Uncharted Waters II: New Horizons by Koei for the SNES.  I picked it up loose (no box and/or no manual) for $10, which is half what it's worth.  Not sure if I'm going to resell it yet.  I find the game quite intriguing.

Here are some pics including the box art:







The game is also available for the Sega Genesis/Megadrive, although I hacven't looked up the value and I don't know how rare it is.

So, what's the premise?  Uncharted Waters II is an historical fiction piece centred around the rise of Mercantilism, the death of Feudalism and the birth of Colonialism.  It's a cobination of a role-playing game and resource-based trading game.  Mix in piracy and mercenaries and you have yourself one heck of a game.  I played it for maybe about half an hour and for every second I played, I watched the learning curve just get steeper.  That isn't to say the game sucks.  The last game I played with a steep learning curve was Kingdom Under Fire: The Crusaders for the XBox, which is a fantastic game.  It just takes about three or four hours to learn how to play it.  But the game is also 40 or so hours long, so I'd say that that's very fair.

When you start the game, you pick a character who is a representative of one of six colonial empires - Spain, Portugal, Holland, Italy, England and Turkey (Ottoman - people, not furniture).  From there, you go through a bit of a tutorial where you get and equip some items and put together the crew for a ship.  As I played, I noticed that the game has a full day and night cycle, which is something I don't remember seeing in any SNES titles that I had played.  It has a calendar to go along with it.  This is necessary for measuring how long your resources will last you.  You also get a taste of the game's combat system, which is a turn-based card system.  You have two turns, an offense turn and a defense turn.  In each, you'll pick a card that represents an attack or defense type in hopes tht it will counter your opponent's.  The only combat that I've seen is essentially a one-on-one duel. 

From there, I checked out all of the different buildings at port, bought some goods to sell and then cast off.  When I landed, it was in Hamburg, Germany - and they had even more tutorials for me.  I then picked a mercenary mission, sold some goods, bought some supplies and cast off again for the port of Bristol to deliver a letter for the sume of 700 pieces of gold.  I completed the mission and then turned the power the off and put the game away.  The next time I pop it in, I'll see if the save battery is still working.

From what I've gathered, I haven't even scratched the surface of this game.  I haven't seen any minigames nor have I seen much story unravel.  I haven't done any piracy either, so this game is getting more and more interesting.

The company that developed the game is Koei, creators of the strategy series The Romance of the Three Kingdoms and Nobunaga's Ambition.  They are now Koei-Tecmo, after buying the Ninja Gaiden and Dead or Alive developer.  Recent games in their stable include Dynasty Warriors Online for PC, Samurai Warriors 3 for the Wii, Nobunaga's Ambition for mobile devices and Fist of the Northstar: Ken's Rage for Playstation 3 and XBox 360.  Their website is http://www.koei.com/ if you'd like to see what they're up to now.

4 comments:

A Beer for the Shower said...

I totally had that game for Genesis. It never got beaten, having fallen victim to a childhood experiment with the microwave.

Isaac said...

I have this game too! It's actually quite rare, good find bro

Handshakes said...

I've never heard of this one, it sounds interesting.

I used to be something of a fan of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms games on the Genesis, so it is neat to see some of Koei's lesser known offerings.

When I hear your summery of the game I can't help but think of Sid Meier's Pirates, I wonder how fair of a comparison that is.

Player_1 said...

It's kind of like Pirates, but it's all turn-based, at least from what I've played. I'm not sure of the difference in scale, though. This takes place on most of the known world at that time, barring North America.

But it does take place in 1522, so I would think that NA should have become an open theatre being that Jamestown was established by Caboto (he sailed for England) at the end of the 15th century.

I don't believe that it unravels that way, though.