Uncharted Waters

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a game by Koei
Genres: Adventure/RPG, Strategy/War
Platforms: Sega GenesisGenesis, SNESSNES, NESNES
Editor Rating: 6.9/10, based on 4 reviews
User Rating: 8.0/10 - 2 votes
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See also: Pixel Art Games, RPGs, Old School Games, Pirates Games, Uncharted Waters Games, Sailing Games, Merchant Games
Uncharted Waters
Uncharted Waters
Uncharted Waters
Uncharted Waters

When Koei set sail from Asia for new historical-simulation story lines, its first trip was Uncharted Waters for the SNES. This Genesis version remains fairly faithful to that earlier version.

A Sailor's Life

It's the 16th century, and you set sail into a world of discovery as one of six seafarers, deciding to become a Trader, Adventurer, or Pirate. By sailing to various Old World ports of call, you earn gold, buy ships and supplies, and recruit a crew. Pirates can expect frequent fighting along the way, too.

Someone's just discovered that the Earth could be round, but the Old World's graphics and sounds are looking rather flat here. The visuals are basically limited to glorified dialogue screens. At least the loopy tunes are the only thing that could make you seasick.

The game's intensive button pressing and icon-based, menu-driven interface will send some virgin Koei captains into the doldrums. An active imagination and a knack for numbers are the keys to enjoying this game, as much of the game play involves money-managing activities.

The turn-based seagoing combat takes place on an overhead view of the ocean.


  • Fledgling captains shouldn't sail outside of Europe their first time out of port.
  • During fleet battles, try to double- and triple-team the opposition. Don't start a fight if someone's behind you!

It's not too exciting to watch, but you get some satisfaction from sending enemy fleets to Davy Jones' Locker.

Waters on the Brain

Uncharted Waters is a long and complex ocean voyage. If you have an interest in four-masted voyages of European discovery, you could read a history book or play this game -- the excitement levels are about the same.

Download Uncharted Waters


System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
  • Game modes: Single game mode

Player controls:

  • Up, Down, Left, Right - Arrow keys
  • Start - Enter (Pause, Menu select, Skip intro, Inventory)
  • "A" Gamepad button - Ctrl (usually Jump or Change weapon)
  • "B" button - Space (Jump, Fire, Menu select)
  • "C" button - Left Shift (Item select)

Use the F12 key to toggle mouse capture / release when using the mouse as a controller.


System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
  • Pentium II (or equivalent) 266MHz (500MHz recommended), RAM: 64MB (128MB recommended), DirectX v8.0a or later must be installed

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
  • P-200, 32 MB RAM

Game Reviews

  • Manufacturer: Koei
  • Machine: Genesis
  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Available: October 1992
  • Theme: STR/RPG

Sail the seven seas!

Ever since the Vikings and others began venturing out to discover new lands, many historical events have taken place that changed the face of the world. One such event was the emergence of the country of Spain and her countless sea battles with fierce pirates and other ocean-going warriors. Now Koei brings these explorations and battles to the video realm!

You take the role of a young Spaniard who is out to restore his name to nobility. You must build up your vast fleet, gather allies and set sail for towns and ports around the globe. You must gain wealth and power for the honor of your name! Have you the strength, smarts and sea legs to do it?

In days of yore, when the world was young and the explorers brave, Christopher Columbus set sail from Portugal to prove that the world was round. He never reached India, but instead he landed somewhere even greater, the Americas we live in today. Uncharted Waters by Koei takes you back to the 16th century, just after Columbus' historic voyage, for a chance to relive the great nautical achievements of European sailors.

Salt Water in Your Veins

As a young but fearless Portuguese navigator, you must restore your family's honor after your father died a tragic waterlogged death. To earn fame, fortune, and nobility, you must build up your fleet from a lone leaky craft to a proud procession of stalwart ships. You can risk buying used boats or build brand new ones. Choose from a range of cargo-carriers and warships.


  • During character creation, wait for a bonus score of 90 to 130. There's a one-in-40 chance you'll receive the extra points, but patience is rewarded.
  • At the start of the game, purchase an extra used cargo ship, and bade wool and artwork between Pisa and Naples. Then buy Guild supplies, such as a sextant, sword, and telescope, and head for Western Europe.

Harbor Happenings

Navigation is treacherous in Uncharted Waters. Koei provides a map for all you geography-rusty salts, but it doesn't list every port or extend past Eurasia. If Africa or America is your destination, better grab an Atlas.

To uncover a hidden port without a telescope, just hug the coastline and it'll appear. Your First Mate will alert you when you're close.

The bulk of this game involves bartering precious spices, metals, and cloth, so be sure to take notes on each port's market to keep track of what's in demand and what's on sale. You also battle pirates, invest in ports to secure alliances for Portugal, and build-up your fame by fulfilling personal requests. This is no easy task because dangers of the deep lurk everywhere. Seek help by recruiting new crew members and mates. If their loyalty runs tow, you can raise spirits with payouts.

  • Haggle with Portuguese-aligned merchants for lower buying prices.
  • Use the inn "Gossip" and "Tip" commands repeatedly until you overhear worthwhile information.
  • Whenever you're at an Information-gathering point in the game, i.e. if you're about to spend a bunch of money on "Gossip" or sail Into uncharted waters, simply save the game, perform the activity, and restore. You'll have your answers without loss of gold or time.
  • Play Poker or Blackjack when you're desperate for food money. Restore if you lose and by again.
  • To win the game, you'll be asked to save the King's daughter.

Sink or Swim

Uncharted Waters is a role-playing game of a different color. The graphics and sounds are unremarkable, but the game's concept is creative and intriguing. Unfortunately, an overload of commands and text messages nearly drags it down to Davey Jones' Locker. The interface is clunky compared to the usual RPG standards. Also, manually sailing your ships back and forth between ports over and over again to earn cash gets monotonous. However, once you set up political relations with foreign countries, the pace picks up.

This ship sprang a few leaks on the way out to the swirling oceanic unknown. It still floats, but, as Columbus showed, it takes a committed captain to last the journey.

This very popular in Japan video game series (in Japanese it is named Daikoukai Jidai, that is Great Navigation Era) was produced by Koei and released for Nintendo Entertainment System in 1991.

It has also been a cult in East Asia, but has not received much recognition in other countries. The series has been compared to Sid Meier's Pirates! in theme and game play. It is a simulation and computer role-playing game series that deals with sailing and trading. The player in the games takes on the role of a captain (or else commodore) and runs a seagoing fleet to take part in trades, treasure hunting, and even piracy. Although the game is for the most part open-ended, there is still a loose plot that requires the player to follow certain paths. Deviating from them may freeze the game progress.

Snapshots and Media

Sega Genesis/Mega Drive Screenshots

SNES/Super Nintendo/Super Famicom Screenshots

NES/Famicom/Dendy Screenshots

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    Andy said on Forum:

    This is not very good it has bad graphics and you could be sitting infront of you computer for ages till you find land, I would say if you are looking for a sailing game try Pirates Gold on gamefabrique because that game is a hundred times better than this!.