_Privateer_ is a single player game with three distinctly different stages or
missions. There are three levels of difficulty to the game. The player does
not play the Privateer, instead they play the captain of a British gunboat
sent to track and sink Privateers.
Before the player can engage the privateers they must deal with a shore
battery. The game screen consists of a light blue sky and a dark blue sea and
off to the left is a cliff upon which the dastardly French have built a gun
battery. This represents Jutland, a part of Denmark, which overlooks the
passage between the Baltic Sea and the North Sea. The player controls a small
gunboat that is randomly placed on the sea. The game asks for two numbers, an
elevation, which controls the range of your shot, and the delay which is how
long after firing before your shell explodes. When both numbers have been
entered and the shell has fired, a graphic shows the track of the projectile.
If the fuse is too short then the shell will explode in mid air. If the
elevation is hopelessly wrong the shell will fall short or explode high above
the French battery. If the shell is close to the battery then this alerts the
guards and they will start shooting back. The game continues with both sides
taking turns until one side is successful. If the player is successful then
they progress to stage 2, otherwise it’s back to the start of Stage 1 for
The game screen shows the players ship in red at the top of the screen and a
series of privateers at the bottom of the screen moving left to right. The
player must manoeuvre their ship close to the privateer and keep it close for
two or three seconds. The ship’s movement is controlled by the arrow keys. The
objective is not to catch, nor to collide with, the privateer but to get
within firing range. There are five privateers to catch and each turn is
different because the wind conditions vary. Failure to catch any results in
dismissal and the end of the game. Getting, and staying within range of the
privateer triggers stage 3.
The game screen changes and shows the privateer on the horizon. The privateer
starts shooting almost immediately and scores hit after hit on the players gun
boat. The player cannot return fire until their first mate, Mr Bush, reports
that the guns are ready. Then the player aims their guns, using keys 1 – 9,
and returns fire.