Moby ID: 20058

Description official descriptions

In this adaptation of James Clavell's book, the goal is to make a fortune in China. Before they can begin trading, the player will first have to get a loan to buy their ship, and then gather a crew either by paying them or simply kidnapping them.

The game has three main stages and a number of different gameplay elements, largely allowing the player to choose their own path. The first part of the game involves walking the streets trying to get the right elements and people, then moves onto the seas where the player has to sail to other trading cities. It is also possible to board other ships upon approaching them and battle those who are onboard.


  • Tai Pan - Alternate spelling (media)

Groups +



Credits (Atari ST version)

4 People

Original Game Design by
  • Sentient Software
Cover artwork by



Average score: 69% (based on 7 ratings)


Average score: 2.6 out of 5 (based on 10 ratings with 1 reviews)

The best game of it's kind, but only after the Pirates!

The Good
Some things to know before my opinion: Tai-pan, the Title, have two meanings. Originally Tai-pan is an animal, a very dangerous, poisonous snake to be more specific. And that was the name of the drug lords in China. There was a movie too, with the same title, and the main role played by Brian Brown (F/X, Cocktail). Like the game, this movie shows us that historical period, when the Brits wanted to conquer China or Hong Kong. And they planned to overflow the country with cheap opium, and than overrun it. Very fantastic plan indeed. But it wasn't successful. Originally both the game and the movie an adaption of a book of James Clavell.

I liked in that game it's atmosphere. Like the drug dealers & the rake-hells on the side of the streets. The drunks near the inns. And the sailor like characters with their bag on their backs. And of course the guards who not tolerate your illegal acts. And if you left the port you can control the ship and the next to music there is an effect of the rope as it tightens just like the real. And I liked that minimal freedom what it can give. You can go to the inn and drink any amount of brandy. Or you can go to the brothel and go to bed with any amount of woman. You lack of money and need crew? Find the club somewhere lying around in the first port, and after that lurk around the inn, and when a drunk comes out hit him. Then touch him, and your son will take him to your ship. Maybe slow, but cheap way to gather men. But don't try this in front of a guard, or policeman (blue-black character), he will get you to the gaol (jail)

You can choose what do you wish to be: merchant, pirate or tai-pan. So it gives you a Pirates!-like experience.

The Bad
The sea battles are not as enjoyable as they were in Pirates!. And a little bit hard too. That's all.

The Bottom Line
It's like pirates, but in the far-east. And in another historical period. In a different culture. If you adored Pirates, then you will like this.

Commodore 64 · by MurlocQ (17) · 2007


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Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 20058
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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Martin Smith.

DOS, Atari ST added by Kabushi.

Additional contributors: formercontrib.

Game added November 18, 2005. Last modified February 13, 2024.