Pirates of Dark Water is a 2D game developed for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and the Sega Genesis by Sunsoft. While the Genesis game is a traditional side-scroller with light combat, the SNES version is more of a brawler in the style of Final Fight and Streets of Rage. The game features the main crew of the 1990s TV show Ren, Ioz, and Tula searching for the Treasures of Rule in order to rid the world of Mer of the Dark Water and return Mer and Ren's homeland, Octopon, to its former glory.
Taken from the game's intro:
"On the distant and watery world of Mer, the dying King Primus escapes
from the evil pirate-lord, Bloth, to reveal to Ren his past and his
destiny. Ren, the son of King Primus, must save the planet Mer and
his home, Octopon, from the deadly Dark Water.
"By collecting all the Treasures of Rule, Ren can control the Dark
Water and return Mer and Octopon to their former glory.
"Ren and his crew, Ioz, the hardened ex-pirate and Tula, the
adventure-seeking heroine must embark on a journey that will constantly
test Ren and his crew's strength and dedication toward the quest for
the Treaures of Rule. The evil pirate-lord Bloth and his army of
ruthless pirates also seek the Treasures of Rule.
"Bloth and his ship, the Maelstrom, are always one step behind Ren.
If Bloth can collect the treasures before Ren and his ragtag crew, the
planet Mer is doomed to the Dark Water and Bloth's tyranny forever."
Pirates of Dark Water is remarkable for its eccentric setting, utilizing the source material's melding of swashbuckling adventures, sword-and-sorcery fantasy, and Road Warrior-inspired fashion aesthetics. Drawing from the cartoon's backstory, players fight rival pirates as well as fantastic creatures sent to hinder the heroes from finding the Treasure of Rule by the evil pirate-lord Bloth. It features 8 different stages in all.
The player can control one of the three main characters from the show:
- Ren - well-balanced, medium strength/medium agility
- Ioz - heavy, high strength/low agility
- Tula - quick, low strength/high agility
The Genesis version of Pirates of Dark Water is a side-scrolling platformer. Weapons and items are found throughout levels, without much else to differentiate its light combat. The character models are much smaller and muddied compared to the SNES version, but the levels more closely follow the arch of the early episodes of the series.
The SNES version is a beat-em-up very similar to Final Fight or Golden Axe. Unlike the Genesis version, each character plays noticeably differently. The SNES version sports much improved graphics, colors, and music, more closely conveying the cartoon's unique style.