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Old Ironsides is a two player game that simulates nineteenth century naval combat. The action takes place on a single screen in which each player controls a three-masted sailing vessel. The speed and movement of the ships is determined by the wind. The wind is always blowing from south to north, making southward movement difficult unless a player tacks and navigates his ship in a zigzag manner.

Each ship is equipped with twelve cannons, six on each side of the ship, and a supply of powder. The goal of the game is to defeat the opposing player in battle. A player loses if either their ship is sunk or if they get lost in the fog.

Sinking a vessel can be achieved by cannon fire or by ramming. Cannons fire perpendicular to the direction of travel. As a ship takes damage, a status indicator will slowly fill with red and a ship will lose cannons, thereby decreasing their firepower. Occasionally, an especially accurate broadside will hit an opponents magazine, instantly destroying the adversary's ship. As players fire cannons, their powder supply will deplete. Powder regenerates itself at a rate much slower than the rate of fire, so players must always be aware of their stockpile.

If a ship moves off the edge of the screen, it is said to be, "in the fog." A ship that stays in the fog too long loses the battle. A series of increasingly higher pitched beeps warn the player that their time is running out. Navigation in the fog is aided by a compass display at the top of the screen. This indicator shows the ship's bearing at any given time and can be switched off if a player wishes to hide their movements in the fog.


Old Ironsides Apple II Title Screen
Old Ironsides Apple II The barrage continues...
Old Ironsides Apple II The ships exchange broadsides at close range.
Old Ironsides Apple II A direct hit to the magazine triggers a series of explosions.

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Critic Reviews

Micro 7 Jun, 1984 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars 83
Electronic Fun with Computers & Games Aug, 1983 3 out of 4 75
Computer Gaming World (CGW) May, 1983 Unscored Unscored


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Tantalus (132) added Old Ironsides (Apple II) on Aug 14, 2009