A combination of role-playing, action, strategy and simulation reminiscent of Pirates!, Sea Dogs puts you on the bridge of a score of 17th century naval vessels in dangerous waters.
You play Nicholas Sharp, a young English sailor who found himself enslaved by the Spanish when his ship was attacked. Recently free from his captivity, he has stolen a ship, has a token crew, and is out to earn his fortune, whether it be the route of pure revenge, honest trading, piracy, or a combination of all three. Walk through towns developing contacts and making business transactions, sail both calm and stormy waters, and exchange broadsides from everything from small fishing vessels to ships of the line. While there is a story line throughout the game, and multiple ways of ending it, you can merely just trade and fight to your hearts content if you wish.
A 3D engine that features various wind, wave, and weather conditions is the primary interface, as you navigate into harbors and engage enemies. Little nuances include patrolling sharks and circling seagulls, as well as visual damage to both hull and sails of each vessel. Walking about town is also done in 3-D and you'll have to remember what streets hold what stores if you wish to just make a quick stop.
Much of the gameplay is similar to that of Pirates!. However, a very strong role-playing element is involved and you'll find yourself having to build up your character's abilities before you can tackle the larger targets. Even survival can be difficult for the naive captain.
Sea Dogs was not originally intended to be a full fledged pirate simulator. It originally was going to be a more traditional role-playing game with a nautical bent, including the use of magic. As it developed, Akella changed the direction to match the proverbial shift in the design winds. This is one of the reasons the game takes place in a fictional set of islands instead of the Carribean.
Cap'n Trinidad Jack's Seadogs Tavern (A long term fan site, it includes information on both the game and actual pirates, legitimate samples of the soundtrack for the game, cheats, screenshots, and more.)
UhNo's Homemade (For those who have a problem getting started in this game, this fellow created a number of save games that include various levels of skills, crew, ships, and gold, yet starts you at the very start of the game.)