Pirates of Skull Cove
Swords and cannons
Getting back to the presentation, we got a glimpse at another interesting X-Box game called Pirates of Skull Cove. Developed by Westwood Studios (better known for its Command & Conquer RTS games), Pirates of Skull Cove is an action/adventure pirate game that combines hand-to-hand combat on land with explosive cannon duels between ships on the water.
The heroine of the game is a lithe woman named Katerina De Leon (who bears a certain resemblance to Geena Davis - star of the ill-fated pirate movie Cutthroat Island). Katerina wields two blades in melee combat. In one hand she swings a long cutlass, while the other hand bears a shorter parrying dagger.
That's a lot of cannons!
Here comes the volley!
While Katerina will do more damage to the hordes of evil pirates, rabid apes, and other baddies with her sword, she's also able to toss various projectiles such as knives or mini powder keg grenades.
Handy with the sword
The sea based combat is easy to manage. Simply walk Katerina onto her ship and you can drive the boat around with the control stick. There are 12 different ships in the game, ranging from small schooners to the huge 36-cannon galleon. The cannon broadsides in Pirates of Skull Cove are a sight to behold - flaming cannon balls trailing huge smoke clouds rocket out of the sides of the ships, and smash into other ships in a mess of broken timber, smoke, and explosions.
The water in the game is modeled beautifully as well, complete with transparencies, rippling, bump mapping, and more. Sails on ships cast shadows on themselves, and damage modeling on the ships appears to be completely randomized, with holes in timbers and tattered sails. Overall, Pirates of Skull Cove looks to be one of the more fun looking titles for X-Box (and PS2, although the X-Box version seemed to look a bit sharper).