Cutthroat Island (video game)

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Cutthroat Island
Cutthroat Island Cover.jpg
Super NES cover art
Developer(s) Software Creations
Publisher(s) Acclaim
Composer(s) Chris Jojo (title music)
James Hannigan
Martin Goodall (both SNES)
Suddi Raval (conversion ; Genesis version)
Platform(s) Game Boy, Game Gear, Sega Genesis, SNES
Release 1995
Genre(s) Platform
Mode(s) Single player, multiplayer

Cutthroat Island is a 1995 action-adventure platform game that was developed by Software Creations and published by Acclaim Entertainment for various consoles. It is based on the film Cutthroat Island. When the game was first released, it featured a promotion by which players could find hidden treasure chests in the game and enter a contest to win real world prizes.


Based on the feature film of the same title, the game casts players in the role of renegade treasure hunters. The player is able to choose between two characters: Morgan Adams, a female character who wields a rapier; or William Shaw, a buccaneer who is armed with a sword. The game features single-player and two-player action modes and features two different gameplay styles to choose from: Swordplay and Brawling.

The player's character must battle through 10 levels, encountering various foes such as pirates, redcoats and harbour masters. In addition to all the swordplay, level two requires players to flee from prison guards in a quarry cart, and level five puts player atop a runaway horse-drawn carriage. As the player progresses through the game several items such as knives, bombs, bottles, torches, hammers, pistols, and other weapons are collectable.


In 1619, a pirate cutter, the Sea Devil, captured a Spanish cargo ship called Santa Susanna. Before reaching its destination the Sea Devil was caught in a storm and wrecked on the uncharted Cutthroat Island. Only one member of the crew managed to get off of the island alive, Fingers Adams. Before dying he made a map and tore it into three pieces which he gave to his legitimate heirs.

In year 1688, as the pirate Morgan Adams who currently has one piece of the map, you have begun a quest for the other pieces of the map in hopes of eventually finding the treasure. Already a wanted woman, Morgan will need to fight the law as well as those who hold the pieces of the map.


GamePro's Sir Garnabus panned the Game Gear version, calling it "A sword fight through monotonous levels with no finale". He criticized the repetitive gameplay, controls, graphics, and glitchy sound effects.[1]

Reviewing the Genesis version, a Next Generation critic opined, "Cutthroat Island doesn't suffer from any one blatant shortcoming, instead it suffers from a lack of anything that sets it apart from an action game three years ago. There's the Final Fight gameplay, the 8-bit NES quality graphics, and finally the obligatory mine-cart level that all together make Cutthroat Island one of the more generic title available." He gave it one out of five stars.[2] Johnny Ballgame of GamePro similarly compared the graphics to the 8-bit Master System, and also lambasted the "button pounding" sword fights, the way the mine cart level doesn't give the player enough time to react to obstacles, the tinny sound, and the music. He concluded the game "has no business in the library of any sane Genesis owner."[3]

GamePro's Grease Monkey gave a more mixed review of the SNES version. While he repeated most of Johnny Ballgame's criticisms, and added that enemies and allies confusingly make the same grunting sound when hit, he found the character artwork and music to at least be decent.[4]


  1. ^ "ProReview: Cutthroat Island". GamePro. No. 89. IDG. February 1996. p. 80. 
  2. ^ "Cutthroat Island". Next Generation. No. 15. Imagine Media. March 1996. p. 96. 
  3. ^ "ProReview: Cutthroat Island". GamePro. No. 90. IDG. March 1996. p. 60. 
  4. ^ "ProReview SNES: Cutthroat Island". GamePro. No. 90. IDG. March 1996. p. 62. 

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