I still remember reading the old review from 1984, when the C64 version of the game came out and was one of the best games of the year - the competition consisted of Ghostbusters, Beach Head and Blue Max…
The review (in an old Yugoslavian computer magazine called Moj Mikro) began:
"Finally the game makers have decided to return back into history. It was only a matter of time before someone decided to make a game in which you are able to change the past. This is one of the pioneers of the genre. The game places you in late fifteenth century as a discoverer of the new world - Christopher Columbus. You can go out on a limb and kill the natives, or you can change history and prevent the bloodshed."
However, there is much more to this game than just changing history. Now, twenty years later, this game is still as playable and enjoyable as it was back then. You start in Spain where you can visit the court (but don't make a nuisance of yourself; go there only when you’re sure you've done enough to earn extra funding for your explorations)! In the Old World you can also buy supplies, see how well you have done and save the game. When you are ready, you can embark on a journey to the unknown. But be careful, your expedition can't carry unlimited amounts of food, goods and gold, so you must sometimes decide to leave something you’d want, because of the things you need (like food). I remember it was great fun exploring completely new worlds when the Commodore64 created a random world that was unlike any continent I’ve ever seen.
After some time on the ocean you’re going to find land (like Columbus you’re going to land in the West Indies first) unless you change your course. You can decide to do some peaceful exploration and trade with the natives or... and later on bury the corpses. The choice is yours.
Be careful what your weapon stance is when you walk in a village. If you’re reckless, the natives will be hostile, and if you’re cautious you’re more likely to get to the center of the village, where the chief might wait for you. You can only trade if you get to the chief and he’s willing. Sometimes you won’t be able to avoid the conflict, because even if you enter cautiously the natives will gather around you – bumping into you and getting themselves killed. In that case their chief will not appear. You might try and make an impression and if they are still not willing to trade, you can even try bribery. Usually, in the end good old-fashioned greed prevails and you’ll see it’s much easier to massacre them than to trade.
I hope you’ll like this game, for it is really one of the great classics! To run it like it’s supposed to you need DOSBox 0.62 or higher.
The only manuals I was able to find were for Commodore – either C64 or Amiga, and the game is not exactly the same, so you’ll have to figure some things out for yourself as well (the old and hard way).