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Tortuga: Two Treasures Preview

Tortuga: Two Treasures pack shot
Official Site:http://www.tortugagame.com/
Release Date:February 16th, 2006 (UK)
Writer:Craig Dudley (Mani)

Thomas "Hawk" Blythe, the main protagonist in Ascaron's upcoming swashbuckling action / adventure Tortuga: Two Treasures has much in common with a certain Captain Jack Sparrow. For starters they are both the good guys despite being cut-throat privateers who've no doubt killed many men for their treasures on the seven seas. Still, pirate games simply must have a buccaneer as their hero.

An attractive governor's daughter, a ghost ship sailed by zombies, a voodoo priestess and a nasty ex-captain are but a few further similarities in their lives. I rather miss the un-dead monkey though. There are probably hundreds or pirate tales with similar elements however, so don't let it put you off.

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You mission, whether you like it or not, is to avenge your betrayal by your former boss, the infamous Black Beard. Of course, getting the girl and the treasure in the process won't hurt.

What definitely comes across very strongly is that Tortuga: Two Treasures is very story oriented, reasonably long scene setting movies break up the actual game which has two modes of play; third person action in the guise of sword fighting and epic sea battles and boarding's in true Errol Flynn style.

The third person action most certainly doesn't look terrible and does feature reasonable rag-doll physics as you might expect but is not really that much more than your standard hack and slash affair. Two Treasures does look like it will support game pads on release which might make many a gamer who's comfortable console hack and slash games feel comfortable, to be fair it doesn't translate to the mouse and keyboard all that badly either.

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A number of special items which can be traded between missions with gold doubloons earned or stolen in combat do tend to liven things up a little though, from health and voodoo potions to pistol shots and burning bottles of grog to be used a Molotov cocktails all come in handy when trying to deal with a crew of blood thirsty pirates. Don't get surrounded tough, it will be the death of you for sure. Multiple special moves are also possible as the game progresses; you must learn them all of course from the various NPC's you encounter.

Sea mission are however a completely different barrel of rum, guide a ship of various sizes into battle against other pirates, the English, the Spanish and eventually Black Beard himself. See your little sailors get blown over board by cannon fire and eaten by sharks, destroy your enemies' sails so he can't run away and even summon giant octopuses with some sort of bait to maul his ships, again you can buy and also find a number of special items to assist you in this, hull repair kits being most useful to me during my hours of playing an almost complete beta. Sailing between three of four enemies' ships and firing off a barrage is very satisfying indeed.

I promised myself I'd refrain from talking like I pirate whilst writing this preview and while it hasn't worked that well, at least I haven't typed like one, you should feel grateful.

Final Thoughts

Whilst many story elements in Tortuga: Two Treasures do have parallels in Disney's Pirates of The Caribbean, things do diverge quite quickly as the story unfolds and we are left with a decent swashbuckling adventure title interspersed with two types of action game, both of which can be fun if a little repetitive at times. Whilst the land lubbers favourite will be the sword fighting missions which do on occasion take place on dry land, it's the missions at sea that are the most fun, sinking a large number of enemy ships against the odds definitely warrants more than a little swig of grog.

If you like pirates, you need to check out the demo of Tortuga: Two Treasures that is of course now available. Either way, the game is competitively priced at around £18 on at least one large UK on-line retailer and given its apparent length; it might not be much of a gamble.

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