Our Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag review is running a little late, but in the interim here's a rundown of ten of the best pirates you'll find in video games. As always, let us know if you think we've made any glaring omissions in the comments box at the end.
10. Romulus Slag
Hooks are only really good for opening tin cans, catching fish, and rock climbing. But Romulus Slag has hands that can transform into hammers as well as hooks, and he can forge himself a naval grog mug that'll give him the ability to breathe fire.
A master of sea shanties, his first-mate Rusty Pete eventually opens a school for piracy.
Who needs a parrot as a sidekick when you have an enchanted monkey on hand? Certainly not Zack, who lit up the Wii with a devlishly smart platformer that was suitably stuffed with booty.
8. Cervantes de Leon
A pirate captain turned into a ghost and then reanimated by a magical evil sword, Cervantes has had a turbulent life. He also has a sword with a gun in the cross-guard. And he can teleport. Just the best character in the SoulCalibur universe, apart from Necrid.
In any case, Ivy's dad is a bit of a badass.
The first of the sky pirates to make this list, Balthier was pretty much James-Bond-meets-Han-Solo in a Final Fantasy game. Not only was he a badass British daredevil pilot, but he managed to just about salvage FFXII from the vacuous inanity of its dull protagonist Vaan. Armed with terrific one liners and throwaway remarks, Balthier even had a trusty Chewbacca-esque companion, even if she was a 7ft-tall bunny girl who seemed to hate wearing clothes.
LeChuck is probably the most stereotypical ARGH ME HEARTIES! type of pirate to be found on this list. But then again, he's also impossible to kill (whether human, ghost, zombie, fire demon -- he just keeps coming back for more) and all of his nefarious activities are really just pursuits of love for Elaine. A warped, twisted, undead sort of love, but love nonetheless.
Man, Skies of Arcadia was awesome.The reason I've plumped for Aika over Vyse here is simple: hers is a more stereotypical piratical story, and we already have someone on this list who fights with two cutlasses. The orphan-turned-Blue-Rogue sky pirate is fiercely loyal to her crew and obsessed with treasure, so that helps.
She's the only pirate on this list who likes to kick butt with a giant boomerang too.
One of the best things about The Wind Waker was the fact that Nintendo finally started to flip the whole damsel-in-distress thing on its head. As such, it was great to see that the manifestation of Zelda in this game came in the form of a plucky pirate captain named Tetra. Strong, brave, in charge of a motley crew, and in possession of a much bigger ship than Link's, Tetra is one of the reasons that were glad The Wind Waker is back in our lives on Wii U.
The leader of the Space Pirates and a constant thorn in Samus' side, Ridley completely destroyed Samus' home planet and constantly pops up throughout the Metroid series to be a bit of a nuisance.
He's also an enormous, purple, pretty fugly, fireball-spitting dragon. Not your traditional pirate, no, but certainly one of the most memorable to grace the industry.
2. Guybrush Threepwood
Many would place Guybrush at #1, and we'd have absolutely no problem with that. He constantly gets the best of his undead nemesis, is a master thief (a highly-prized asset among pirates), and can just about take anyone down in a battle when it comes to insult sword fighting. He's even got the t-shirt to prove it.
Armed with rapier-like wit, a nose for curiosity, The Monkey Island star is, by his own proclamation, a "mighty pirate" indeed.
Given that Sid Meier's Pirates! is still the best game about pirates to be found out there on the virtual high seas, the best pirate in video games is you, dear reader. Starting out with nothing, venturing forth in the waters of the Caribbean blue, chasing down Spanish frigates and nippy sloops, assisting various colonial powers for a bit of gold and chance at advancement. This was a game in which you could happily live out your piratical fantasies, taking down luminaries who sailed under the black flag as you made a name for yourself in the Tropics, and became the most feared name on the high seas.