Shipwreckers!

a game by Psygnosis
Genre: Action
Platforms: PC, Playstation, PSX
Editor Rating: 6.7/10, based on 5 reviews
User Rating: 8.7/10 - 3 votes
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Shipwreckers!
Shipwreckers!
Shipwreckers!
Shipwreckers!

Overview

Every once in a great while, a a truly unique game is released. I don't mean unique like, "Wow, the graphics in this racing game are better than I have ever seen." I mean unique in that the game can be compared to no other, past or present. Shipwreckers! falls into this category. I can't think of any other PSX game that is even comparable in the style of play. But you know what? There is something very familiar with the gameplay. It is easy to pick up a controller and start firing cannonballs.

Shipwreckers! is a combination shooter, adventure, action, and puzzle game. You will spend many hours blasting your various weapons at other pirates, stationary weapons, and overhead targets. Don't let this scare you— it's a piece of cake to learn how to do all these things, but it's not so easy to master them.

Gameplay

Most games tend to fall into a category, something a bit different than a game genre, like flying or driving games. Shipwreckers! would fall in the "addicting gameplay" category, because you will start playing and look at the clock four hours later and realize you have not budged the whole time. One word of caution though. Everyone may not like this game. Some people may find it too simplistic and lacking the glitz and glitter of most of the games today.

In Shipwreckers! you play a pirate, sailing around in your ship, running into other pirates who really don't like you and think that you would look much better at the bottom of the sea. There are also land-based artillery that will try to keep you from passing too close to shore, not to mention the birds dropping bombs (of some sort) on your head. Oh, did I mention the alien ships that beam your crew up into their spaceship? If you can avoid all that, all you need to do is find all the floating bottles and treasure chests. No problem.

This game has two elements that make up the bulk of the gameplay. The first element is exploration. "Exploration" may not be the best word to use, becuase you are pretty much limited in the path you take. However, there are lots of hidden areas to find and you must make sure you don't overlook anything in the common areas. The game did like to place treasure chests and power-ups in the corners of bays or lagoons, so it was important to search every inch of water.

The second element — and the most important — is the combat. Your ship starts out armed only with a bow-mounted single-fire cannon. As your adventure progresses, you will find more weapons that are more powerful. You can find rockets, multi-fire side cannons, mines, and underwater charges, to name a few. This is where the game really gets fun. You will have other pirate ships coming at you, attacking from all directions. It is up to you to blow them out of the water. This may not sound really exciting, but it actually is quite surprising.

Everything in this game is done in a tongue-in-cheek fashion. The game is meant to be a light-hearted satire of the old pirate days. A prime example: when you blast a bird out of the sky with a missile, the feathers go flying and an object resembling a roasted turkey comes crashing down to earth. Not too realistic, but it will make you chuckle. Also, another of the serious enemies you face are the puffer fish. These fish like to swim under your ship if it is standing still and puff up until they explode, causing damage to your ship.

One other thing that you will run into along your journey are different things that make your travel resemble an obstacle course. You have to maneuver past giant saws, multi-cannon turrets, and flamethrowers. If you are unfortunate enough to get caught in a flamethrower, your ship catches on fire and starts to blaze. Since your crew is not crazy, they immediately start abandoning ship one at a time. If you pick them back up quick enough, it will revive some of your life. If not, they will drown. I thought this was a great idea and was a quite innovative twist to just having your ship burn until your life was gone.

The last thing Shipwreckers! has going for it is the multi-player mode. This pits you against four others in an attempt to blow each other out of the water. You can configure the match to be timed, or just a battle until only one ship is left floating. This is a great addition to the game, and I think you will really enjoy blasting your buddies out of the water.

I do have a couple of complaints about this game. First, the enemy pirates were too stupid. Half the time they would just run into the shore and sit there while you loaded them up with cannonballs. This happened too frequently to be called a random glitch. Next, the game gets a bit repetitive after a while. It is still challenging all the way through, but after some time, it starts to feel like you have already seen and done everything once before.

Graphics

The worlds that are created are excellent and you will be drawn into the whole pirate experience. I really enjoyed the explosions and fire. Psygnosis has figured out how to make some of the coolest looking explosions, because game after game, I always walk away saying this. There are some occasions where things do look a bit small but this is just minor.

Bottom Line

If you are looking for something a little different, you should check this game out. The gameplay is quite addicting, but does tend to get a bit repetitive after a while. Psygnosis is one of the best at creating explosions, and this game is no different. I don't think this game will appeal to everyone because it is not high-tech or fancy. It is just pretty darn fun.

Download Shipwreckers!

PC

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Playstation

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

PSX

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Game Reviews

If you want to get shipwrecked this holiday season, Psygnosis has the game for you. You man a galleon on a mine-laying, bomb-blasting excursion through the seven seas as you search out treasure, weapons, and power-ups while claiming ports for your pirate pleasure. Although the colorful graphics seem like they're geared toward a younger set, the gameplay (which involves searching mazes and finding exits) can get intense, and involves more than a fast trigger finger. Is it yo ho ho and a bottle of dumb? Not if you like your high-seas action mixed with a little humor.

People say:

7.0

Shipwreckers is a cute and original game whose simple play mechanics make it very appealing. Using an isometric view to navigate the cartoony 3-D terrain, your goal is to pilot a pirate ship through various waterways in the hopes of securing harbors and finding treasure. The gameplay is mostly action-oriented, but there are a few basic puzzle elements that involve the opening of doors and the use of transporters. A variety of weapons such as flamethrowers, depth charges, rockets and mines are available in addition to any pirate's weapon of choice-cannonballs. Although the One-player Mode is fun, the two-player combat is clearly this game's strength. Here, players square off in various water arenas with power-ups and ship upgrades available to them during battle. The game feels a lot like a fancy game of Combat, especially when the camera zooms way out when opponents distance themselves. Aesthetically, Shipwreckers isn't flashy, but its 3-D graphics fit the atmosphere of the game perfectly. The only annoyance is that the weapons and explosion effects are impressive, but they look out of place given the rest of the less flashy scenery. The music on the other hand is truly annoying, and I found myself playing with it turned off in order to keep my sanity. Overall, Shipwreckers proved to be a very seaworthy vessel.

6.0

Shipwreckers' mix of puzzles and high-seas shooting action just didn't do it for me. I got bored wandering around the levels, solving puzzles (most of which are easy), and getting blown to bits by the frustratingly tough enemies. Fortunately, the game has a saving grace--its excellent Multiplayer Mode. Up to five people can engage in ship-to-ship death-matches in 10 different arenas. These multiboat bouts can get pretty wild!

5.0

Shipwreckers is another game that you shouldn't play alone. The Multiplayer Mode is a lot of fun with cool power-ups and claustrophobic arenas (that's a good thing), however the single-player game is a little too boring and straightforward for my tastes. Basically, you go around solving puzzles and shooting things; there just isn't that much to this game. The frame rate slows down at times and the music is a little too rinky-dink for me.

7.0

Overall, Shipwreckers is a fun little puzzle game with a touch of action. It's not the best around (compared to similar action/puzzle games like Lost Vikings) but it's certainly a lot of fun. The graphics look good and it has a cool multiplayer feature. The biggest problem I have with the game is the music-it's like those demos on old Casio keyboards. Luckily you can turn it off! If for nothing else, buy this one for the Multiplayer Mode.

In the family of micro machine-type action games dominated by cars, tanks and helicopters, Shipwrecker's pirate clipper ships are an original twist on the micros genre and a cool change of pace for the PlayStation.

This lighthearted game gives you command of a pirate vessel to explore several water covered regions in search of treasure, new weapons and message bottles. A variety of enemies threaten your boat including: land-based gun turrets, airborne balloons, airships and dragons. There are also underwater enemies such as clams, exploding fish and submarines that glide about in the shallow clear water. Minor threats aside, the main enemy is comprised of dipper ships that carry flame throwers, cannons and (perhaps the coolest weapon of all) a directed flow of ship-c haring lightning.

Five areas containing three levels each take you to the Arctic, Caribbean and an industrial zone. Each one is quite long and has an interesting level Boss to be defeated such as a lobster, a Genie or an Inca statue, to name a few.

Gameplay is similar to Return Fire, only on water. The overhead perspective combined with the pitch-and-roll physics seek to create the effect of a ship at sea (although it looks and feels more like a toy boat in a sink). Light progression-dawn to dusk along with fog and cloud effects also add to the sea-faring atmosphere.

Shipwreckers also has an entertaining Multiplayer Mode. It consists of an auto-zooming overhead view of the action, in which players battle it out in a maze-like territory. Up to four heavily armed ships can engage in a contest of cat-and-mouse similar to Bomberman but with more weapons. As you master the art of land mining, blow torching and cannon blasting your human enemies, you'll probably want to play multiplayer more often than Normal Mode. Suffice to say, it's highly addictive and fun. As the onslaught of 3-D polygonal games continue to populate the PlayStation, it's nice to see an original sprite-based game like this come along.

Overview

After quite a dry spell, this holiday season has provided quite a bounty of pirate games. Earlier I reviewed Strategic Simulations' Buccaneer, preceding by a short margin the British company Psygnosis' release of Shipwreckers!. Both are high-quality games, but in extremely different ways: while Buccaneer provides astounding artwork and incredible realism in its treatment of pirates, Shipwreckers! concentrates on a sense of fun and whimsy that is a joy to behold. You play the captain of a heavily armed galleon sailing around collecting treasure, picking up bottles helping fill in your map, fighting a sordid set of opponents, and capturing towns under the pirate flag. There is no complex background story here; for once, the designers knew better than to fill this full of the pretense of serious pursuit of objectives.

Gameplay/Controls/Interface

The gameplay here is both extremely fun and extremely addictive. Across a wide variety of diverse missions, you solve puzzles, discover lost treasures, and battle menacing pirate enemies. You have a nice wide overhead perspective (this is not a first person 3D shooter) and travel through 5 exotic worlds. This is not an easy game; even with a wide array of weapons pickups including cannons, mines, rockets, and flame throwers, the perils are quite challenging, and you will find yourself restarting a level more than occasionally during the game as your health evaporates. The artificial intelligence of the opponents is quite solid, if not overwhelming. Each world is quite intricate, so that even if you manage to escape every danger you do not make it through quickly. You can play the game alone, head-to-head, or in multiplayer mode battling up to 5 opponents at once. There are ten specifically designed multiplayer levels.

The controls in Shipwreckers! are just perfect -- the game supports keyboard, joysticks, and gamepads, and the latter really work best (the designers even specifically recommend playing via linked Microsoft Sidewinder gamepads). The menu screens are both gorgeous and functional (this game and Buccaneer have set new high seas' standards in this area).

Graphics

The 3D-accelerated graphics in Shipwreckers! are wonderful, with the ocean, ships, and obstacles all beautifully (and cutely) depicted. But this is no state-of-the-art effort, and to be honest many 3Dfx-accelerated games easily outdistance what is found here. But given the cartoon-like atmosphere, the visuals here seem just right. One example of the wonderful graphics is the frequent appearance of waterfalls, which are not only nice to look at but also often essential to dousing a burning ship or to finding a secret passage. The full motion video element to the game is also highly entertaining.

Audio

The audio effects in this game are absolutely splendid, perfectly suited to the atmosphere of the game. The songs are varied and quite bouncy, the sound effects are quite wacky, and the vocal effects extremely melodramatic. Overall, the sound in this game is more essential than in most games to enjoy the gameplay properly.

Documentation

The printed documentation for Shipwreckers! consists of a well-done black-and-white jewel case manual. It is nicely organized and quite instructive. However, many aspects of the gameplay are intentionally left undocumented, presumably so that you can have the challenge of figuring them out on your own.

System Requirements and Comments

The minimum system requirements for Shipwreckers! are a Pentium 133 CPU, a 2X CD-ROM drive, a 3D video acceleration card, and the Windows 95 operating system. For a game of this nature to be unplayable without hardware 3D video acceleration is highly unusual -- make sure you have a supported card.

Bottom Line

This game is so addictive and enjoyable that it will appear to game players of all ages and with all types of play preferences. You do not have to like pirates or know anything about them to really get absorbed by the innovative gameplay here. From Quake 2 fans who want a breather from the heavy serious action there to Riven fans who want a bit more arcade combat, this game is a sure-fire winner and a real crowd pleaser.

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