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Uncharted Waters II: New Horizons
Systems: PC, SNES, Sega Megadrive
Release Year: 1992
Genre: Strategy/Trading Sim

Uncharted Waters 2 was a rather dismal failure for Koei in North America. The game suffers from lackluster graphics and sound. Unfortunately as most people seldom look beyond graphics and sound, this makes the decision to skip Uncharted Waters II very easy for some people. Those who did play found a rich and rewarding game and, though it would take a few years after the release of the game, Uncharted Waters II eventually gained a cult following. It is now considered by many as one of Koei's best games.

At the beginning of the game the player is allowed to choose from one of six possible characters. Each has their own personal quest and each hails from a different of the main competing nations of the time.

  1. Joao Franco: Son of Duke Franco of Portugal. Joao is in search of the lost continent of Atlantis.
  2. Catalina Erantzo: Pirate from Spain. She seeks revenge against Duke Franco of Portugal for the death of her brother and fiance.
  3. Otto von Baynes: English privateer for King Henry VIII. He seeks to weaken and destroy the Spanish fleets.
  4. Ernst von Bohr: A Dutch catographer. On behalf of his friend Mercator, Ernst plans to make a detailed map of the world.
  5. Pietro Conti: A Venitian debtor and aventurer. Pietro hopes to pay off his family debts. Also looking for the world's strange items and artifacts.
  6. Ali Vezas: A poor child from Istanbul. Ali hopes to make his riches and to help his country.

The basics of the game revolves around sailing from port to port in the world and buying and selling goods. As always in games like this, simply by obeying the rule "buy low, sell high" you should slowly be able to gain wealth. That is just the basic premise though. You must watch out for pirates and hostile privateers, battle storms and contrary currents. You may even find yourself blocked out of an enemy's port if your or your country's reputation falls too low.

Your quest can take on many forms. Whether mapping the world for the catographer's guild, discovering new animals or natural wonders, pirating, fighting the fleets of enemy nations, or investing in ports to ally them with your home country and devlop better goods and ships. Its all your choice what you do, and how you make your fame.

As your fame grows, you will eventually find yourself working for your country. Whether helping with trade, war, discovery or diplomacy, it will all be important to your character's growth. As you complete each task you will advance in rank and possibly be accepted into the elite of society.

Battles are fought on a separate map from the main travel map. Cannons and boarding are the two main forms of attack. While cannons can destroy a ship from afar, they will also destroy any goods on the ship. So many times it is best to resort to the more dangerous boarding tactic. That way you can gain the goods and the ship to use how you see fit.

New Horizons goes beyond the first game in the series by including personal combat into battles. The combat itself is determined using basically a form of cards. You can improve your character's fighting skills through experience in combat and by buying better weaponss and armor. Defeating the oppossing fleet commander in this way can be a quick and profitable way to win an engagement. Beware though, not all characters are skilled at personal combat.

However you choose to make your way, you will be exploring a new world. The riches and the fame are yours for the taking, all you have to do is brave the uncharted waters.

The series also includes:
Uncharted Waters: Sea Prince
Uncharted Waters III: Costa del Sol
Uncharted Waters IV: Porto Estado

As this game sold very poorly on all three platforms, it is extremely hard to find a working copy these days. It is recommended that you check for the game at Emulation and Abandonware sites, as you might have to pay a large amount for it elsewhere.

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