Guest review by: Jeremy Stock
New Horizons (the second in the Uncharted Waters series for SNES) is another great offering from the strategy giant Koei, and as close as you’ll come to being a real pirate on the SNES.
While the game doesn’t let you become an actual pirate, you can still stick it to a few people if you’re in a bad mood. The game does, however, have most of the elements that make a high seas buccaneering game fun. Some of those elements being the ability to capture enemy ships and make them your own, upgrade your ships, explore the world to find treasure, etc., and annoy the French.
You can choose between six different main characters, and once you’re up and running with a Letter of Marque, your future is pretty wide open. There are various countries to explore, alliances to be made, treasure to find, and enemies to sink. There is even a storyline to follow if you get bored with pillaging and terrifying the natives.
There are number of crewmembers, each with their own various stats, that you can hire, which gets you on your way to commanding your own fleet once you capture enough ships and make enough money. And there is no shortage of ways to find coin. Capturing enemy ships and selling them, exploring the world and finding rare animals, sites, etc. and selling the info, and gambling at a tavern are just a few of the ways.
Koei even tried to add a little realism to the game. Make sure you take enough food and lemon juice on a long trip or you’ll be stuck out in the middle of nowhere with no grub and a bunch of invalids. Those long trips also seem to bring the rats out of hiding, which, unfortunately, you can’t eat.
Controls are simple (seeing as you only have an SNES controller to work with) and most of your options are found in easy to navigate menus. The most frustrating part of the controls (or more like lack of control) is when dueling. You only get to chose a move to make, such as slash or thrust on offense or parry, etc. on defense, which makes winning a duel more to do with luck than skill. Still, once you find a good sword and build up your stats high enough, you’ll win most duels. Combat in the game is turn based so don’t expect any epic Master and Commander type stuff here. After all, this is a Koei game (granted, I haven’t played any of the Dynasty games).
As far as graphics and sound go, you can’t be too much of a graphics whore if you’re going to play this game. Only old school and classic gamers need apply here. To tell you the truth, I don’t think the graphics would have been considered up to date when the game was released, but at least they aren’t terrible. And the music is serviceable, but may get a little tired after 40 hours or so of play.
And you could easily play this game for 40 hours and more with the many different storylines, treasures, rare finds, etc. that can keep you exploring this game for a long time. You’ll just keep coming back for more.