High Seas Trader
DOS - 1995
Also available on: Amiga
Description of High Seas Trader
A solid "high seas" strategy game that falls far short of Sid Meier's classic Pirates! in terms of overall content and scope, but is actually better if one considers it strictly as a trading game and not a sprawling, swashbuckling adventure that Pirates! is. Trading in High Seas Trader is based on a reasonable economic model, and the 3D perspective when sailing is enjoyable.
Review By HOTUD
WHAT'S THIS ABOUT
High Seas Trader (HST) is an "old world" exploration and trading game by Impressions. In HST you take the role as captain of a ship, determined to make your fortune by trading on the high seas, as any of us did some years ago in the classic game, Pirates! by Microprose. You buy products in one port and sell them for a profit in the next port, to gain bigger ships and more crew, to haul more cargo, and make more money. You repeat this process until you build up your Prestige, Daring and Wealth enough to retire to your magnificent Estate. Hey, Pirates! players, does this sound familiar? It should. HST is extremely similar to Pirates! in many ways, but unfortunately, it doesn't quite live up to it's predecessor's prowess.
SIGHTS, SOUNDS AND GAMEPLAY
The graphics and sound in HST are very good. Each port you enter is one of three or four "types" depending on whether it's a busy city port, a lavish port near the jungle or a port over in the "new world". These city backdrops are beautifully drawn and have a painted feel to them. On these backdrops for the ports are the bank, the merchant, the tavern, and the dock. This is where much, if not most, of the game takes place. You can enter the tavern to hear the latest scuttlebutt amongst other sea-dogs like yourself, hire more crew or get a "milk-run" from prospective clients. These milk-runs range from escorting passengers to a specific port or delivering a "special" cargo (read: illegal items) to another port. Pirates II anyone? You'll also need to head to the dock to buy food and water for the crew, and equipment for your ship, such as sailcloth, cannons and ammo.
The market/merchant area is, naturally, where you buy and sell your cargo. A log (basically, a big spreadsheet that's not too well disguised) is kept for you, keeping track of how much of a particular item you bought, how much you paid for it, and where you bought it from. You can also refer to this log to get the latest estimations of how much profit you can expect to gain from selling it at a specific port. You can deal in weapons, tobacco, jewels, furs, and many more items. For example: in referring to your log, you see Fur prices in Liverpool are at an all time high, while the port you're currently in is practically giving it away. Load up your cargo bay, determined by the size of your ship, with as much Fur products as you can hold and afford, then beat feet to Liverpool to make a killing. The bank is where you can hole up your money, so that if you're unfortunate enough to be pummeled by a pirate, you have some cash to fall back on.
Sounds good so far, hunh? Great, let's continue. Sorry, that's it. Trading is your only real option at making money and this severely limits the depth of the game. Remember in Pirates! where you could head into a protected fort, blast your way through, scale the walls, and dual the fort captain to the death for his treasure? You'll find none of this excitement in HST. No sword fights, no fort storming and not much action in general.
THE HIGH SEAS
Well, there must be SOMETHING else to the game, you say? Yep, but not much. Traveling on the high seas in HST is cooler than in Pirates!, though. You get a "3-D" first person perspective and the splashing of the waves and sea gull sounds are pretty cool. You get to steer your ship via a ship's wheel located in the middle of the screen and it's fun to watch the waves and see the sky turn dark when a storm approaches. Eventually though, especially during long sea voyages, this gets tiresome and you can use a quick "go to port" feature that takes you to a particular port almost instantly, unless an event occurs along the way. These events range from pirates and bad weather to other traders and the crew wanting to mutiny. Occasionally, you'll have to fight it out on the high seas. Pirates attempting to sink you to can gain your cargo, switches you to a "Pirates!-esque" combat screen where you select your ammo and cannons to use during the battle . You use your crew to fire the cannons, and assign others to "bail duty" when you get hit. It's pretty cool the first time, but quickly becomes repetitive. And to be honest, even though it's more detailed than the ship-to-ship combat than Pirates!, I just didn't enjoy it as much.
I can't recommend HST to anyone but the most fanatic swashbucklers out there. If the subject matter greatly appeals to you (or if you can get it for $15 or less), then you may enjoy HST. Ultimately though, I can't help but feel that HST tacked on fancy graphics and a first person perspective sailing segment, to a big spreadsheet program. When you're buying cargo at the merchant, you can almost imagine the Microsoft Excel spreadsheet lying underneath. Pirates! by Microprose, had much better combat, great sword fighting action and, to a certain extent, a feeling that you were interacting in a real world. All of which is glaringly absent in HST.
Review By GamesDomain
Captures and Snapshots
Comments and reviews
Filemoore 2022-03-23 2 points DOS version
I bought it and played it when it first came out, Loved it. After several computers I put it back on to see if I could play it again since I started playing some other older games. I have been using Dosbox version 0.74 and been using the CPU speed modification to 25%, that seams to be the optimum speed for this game. If I need to buy a lot of Rations I do tweak it up faster, then back down again. As for the town speed watch the flags on the building, if you go in and out it will reset the speed so you know you are going fast or slow.
MarigoldSkye 2021-09-28 2 points
For anyone where it runs too fast, launch it with hst -p
Port animations will still look fast, but speed will be normal on the open sea, allowing travel and combat to function.
admin 2021-09-09 2 points
Uploaded a new version, along the ISO and documentation of the game. Looks like the RIP is not working well though.
Steve Hoyland 2021-09-09 1 point DOS version
Seems to load fine, but like others have said, the game crashes once you try to enter a harbour building. A shame, because It's a decent game although It's not much different from similar games such as 'Pirates gold'. Come on you great guys at MyAbandonware, please sort this out for us!
foobrew 2019-12-03 2 points DOS version
Still crashing dosbox as soon as you click any of the locations in the harbor.
Jbh 2019-06-14 2 points DOS version
Can the game be fixed at all as soon as you press anything at harbour scene it freezes to black dos screen
Chico 2015-06-10 -1 point DOS version
How the hell do I enter my ship's name at the very beginning? I can't type anything at all.
indstr 2014-02-12 0 point DOS version
I didn't actually like this game, just the graphics. Oh well
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