Captain Blood Hands-On

SeaWolf shows off its new hack-and-slash pirate adventure. Insert "Arr!" joke here.

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In the novel by author Rafael Sabatini, Captain Blood is actually Dr. Peter Blood, an Irish doctor who was sentenced to death for tending to several rebels wounded in battle. Although Blood was not actually part of the rebellion itself, he was nonetheless convicted of treason against the king. Instead of facing the noose, the king sends Blood and several other prisoners to the Caribbean where they were to be sold as slaves, but Blood escapes and goes on to become one of the most feared pirates in (literary) history.

Later this year, there will be Blood.
Later this year, there will be Blood.

In the upcoming game by developer SeaWolf, Captain Blood is a pirate who repeatedly hacks and slashes British soldiers, Spanish soldiers, and other pirates in a traditional, 3D button masher. We briefly got our hands on the hand-to-hand combat in Captain Blood at publisher 1C's press event this week. The controls are simple: There are two attack buttons, a block button, a grapple button, and even a one-shot-one-kill pistol attack. By combining the attack buttons, you'll unleash a variety of deadly combos. Our favorite was when we knocked over an enemy, jumped on his chest, repeatedly punched him in the face, and then stabbed him in the heart with a sword--ouch. You'll also earn experience points and be able to unlock longer, more complicated and more powerful combos to use later.

The pistol proved a little unwieldy. There is no auto-targeting system, so you'll have to hope that your gun is facing an enemy when you decide to pull the trigger. You have unlimited ammo, but it takes about 20 seconds for your one-shot pistol to reload. Grappling can only be performed when a grappling icon appears on screen, so combat isn't nearly as dynamic as in such action games as Ninja Gaiden 2. Still, you can unleash an additional set of devastating combos and finishers when the icon actually does appear.

In our time with Captain Blood, we ran through a harbor front and swashbuckled our way through crowds of enemy soldiers armed with sabers longer than their own bodies. Our computer-controlled trusty sidekick Pitt accompanied us on the battlefield, which was impressively packed with a large number of enemies onscreen at one time.

Send your enemies to the deep with well-timed cannon fire.
Send your enemies to the deep with well-timed cannon fire.

We don't yet know how much, if any, exploration is included in Captain Blood, but there will be plenty of ship battles on the high seas to keep your attention. Wind and maneuvering skill will be significant factors as you attempt to send your enemies into the abyss for eternity. Speaking of eternity, Captain Blood has been in development for several years now, but 1C tells us you can expect to walk the plank on both the Xbox 360 and PC later this year.

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