Gameplay (5 out of 5)
Previously known as “Plunder”, Age of Booty is a great strategy game with a pirate twist. Manage your vessels, conquer port settlements and stock up on rum and wood and other resources to both strengthen your ship (armour, speed and weaponry) and provide resources to the towns you’ve conquered.
It isn’t all that easy though, as the hexagonal map restricts direct movement (a useful way of avoiding the slog of turn-based games) and rival pirate gangs have their own agenda… To this end, the computer AI is pretty good, and certainly had me rethinking my strategy several times on one eventful level.
There are bonuses aplenty across the game area that can enhance your conquest and supply some secret weapons, and it’s all admirably controlled from the comfort of your mouse - no keyboard necessary!
Requirements and Installation (2 out of 5)
Age of Booty is available both as a standard download from Capcom (download a trial here - full version just $9.99!) and as a download on Steam.
The recommended system requirements are:
Microsoft Windows XP SP2 or Vista operating system
ATI Radeon 9800 / NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GFX card
DirectX 9.0c (November 2007)
Intel Pentium 4 2.8 Ghz , AMD Athlon XP 3200+ or higher
1024 Mb RAM
400 Mb hard drive space
However downloading via Steam can lead to some problems - basically the game won’t work if your CPU doesn’t match the speed standards of Steam. This is not a problem with Age of Booty - Steam has altered the system spec to meet its own universal minimal spec. This is a shame as users with some Pentium 4 machines might have trouble running via Steam. As such running the trial from the link above is recommended.
Graphics (3 out of 5)
Set against a map sub-divided into hexagonal spaces, Age of Booty possesses competent animation and attractive design that draws on the leafy green of the untouched islands of the Caribbean or other lands from pirate legend.
It’s cartoony in feel, but charming, and the destruction of boats, settlements and other units is smoothly realised.
Age of Booty utilises a top-down 3D view of the game map, and this enables the player to move around quickly. The map pieces each possess their own topography and dimensions resulting in shadows, while the sea’s reflection of the detailed pirate ships is impressive.
Sound (4 out of 5)
In-game sound is minimal - however I’ve rated it on the quality of the voice acting and how this adds to the atmosphere of the game.
All of the sounds that you would expect from a pirate game are here - pirate sea-shanty music, “Garr!” and “Plunder!” not to mention the sound of vessels cutting through water, the echo of cannons from battles on the high seas and the creak of a sinking ship.
It all assists in creating quite an immersive game world, one that can become difficult to withdraw from as the map of each level increases in size.
Tremendous Fun (4 out of 5)
Tremendous fun, Age of Booty is priced low as well which means it’s hard to say no to buying the game once the day-long trial expires.
While it doesn’t redefine any genres and isn’t a killer app for the PC gaming arena it is a competent strategy title with a good game design and a fun atmosphere. Age of Booty doesn’t take itself too seriously and by taking this approach the developers have created a charming low budget hit.