When X-COM Goes Apocalyptic: A Look at X-Piratez, A Mod Not For The Faint Of Heart

Written by Zak

X-Piratez X-COM Mod

There’s a severe difference between the X-COM games of today and the classic titles from the nineties. But today we’ll be looking at a mod for X-COM: UFO Defense (or UFO Defense: Enemy Unknown if you’re European) called X-Piratez. While it keeps many of the mechanics and rules of the classic game it is built on, it adds an immense amount of new and exciting items and characters that really change how the game plays. The full-frontal nudity also helps in its appeal.

Walking The Edge Of The Edge Of The Line

To say the mod skirts the line of what’s considered acceptable by the industry at large is to say too little. Full nudity of some characters and sprites, the array of weapons at your disposal, and the torture sessions of captured characters gives the game a grungy, metal type of feel. The tone of written articles in the X-Pedia (called the Bootypedia), which is the game’s in-game encyclopedia, also gives you the feel of the theme of the mod.

In this mod, you and your fellow female mutants find an old abandoned military base with a bunch of old technology, and your goal is to become the most feared pirate gang this side of the futuristic trash fire. The world you find yourself in is none too kind either. Following a failed game of X-COM, the Earth was successfully taken over by the invading aliens and was essentially drained of any valuable resource the planet could have held, and is now a backwater planet of a much larger alien empire.

Alien species mix with human collaborators and mutant survivors as different states battle for resources. The whole setting and artstyle have you thinking of classic metal albums from the eighties and nineties, and the game is in essence an open-ended, techno-bandit adventure all from the comfort of your home. Unlike X-COM, there’s no invasion to stop, but rather the relentless pursuit of profit at all costs. Shoot down ships, kill and/or capture the survivors, and steal whatever goods you can fit in your ship.

Roll out and destroy anyone who gets in the way of profit and plunder.

When Black Powder Meets Plasma Burns

From flintlocks and black powder bombs to plasma cannons and alien technology, the range of weapons, armor and items is staggering. Want to run at a human collaborator naked with a chainsaw in your hands and a bottle of ‘shine on your hip? You can do it.

Want to ride a motorized bike over a squishy alien who was dumb enbough to be in your path? You can do it. Want to conquer the world? Well, you can’t do that, but you can set up a number of bases with which to raid passing ships for plunder.

Starting from a low technological base you will grow your gang into something to truly fear. Just keep in mind that you start with essentially a pile of garbage to take on your marks, and ammo needs to either be bought or manufactured, and you don’t start knowing how to manufacture ammo. Armor is another fun way to play with your bandits. From the naked, chainsaw-wielding berserkers mentioned before to heavily armored valkyries, the amount of outfits available to you range from futuristic to admittedly cheesecake-y. Just don’t get distracted from the mission; make a ton of money and live like kings/queens.

Techno-bandits: The scourge of the skies of a conquered Earth.

The Sounds of Crime

Big booms, the crack of rifles, atmospheric music, all played out in the bleeps and bloops of the classic engine. Most sounds are custom made along with a collection of custom music, with an added mod to add even more music to really give you a better feel of your crime spree. Every weapon has a sound added to it, from the screams of the chainsaw to the booms of the blackpowder bombs.

Some classic sounds are there, and many menu sounds are still the classic X-COM sound, but the amount of custom work done to this mod is truly astounding. You’ll certainly feel like a pirate when you hear the sounds of your black powder bombs blowing up a group of entrenched aliens defending the goods that are rightfully yours by the rule of “I want it, so give it.” There’s a lot of love in this mod, and the creators should be proud of their achievement.

The environments are also something to praise.

How Would You Look After Being Occupied By Aliens?

Every custom item, every custom armor, every custom tile on the battlemaps is crafted like you’re back in the nineties on a DOS computer on a school night while your mom or dad ties up the dial-up internet leaving you to play games instead of surfing the internet. Granted, the amount of data in this mod would probably stretch the limits of those old computers, but the feel is there.

From abandoned cityscapes to ruins in the jungle, the look and feel of the battlemaps is enticing to say the least, and the quality of the work done is impressive. The range of enemies is also quite the achievement. From basic, squishy and unarmed humans to aliens you don’t recognize using weapons beyond your current arsenal by miles, you’ll be fighting all sorts of opponents on your road to glory.

Toss a well-timed grenade and watch the explosion tear apart the aforementioned squishy human in a glorious explosion. Watch your naked berserker get vaporized by an alien soldier. Retaliate by blowing them up with a tank. It’s a fun experience to watch, and your eye’s almost don’t notice the pixelated graphics of the engine.

Yes, you too can be the muscly, chainsaw-wielding school girl of your dreams.

Lord Forgive Me, But I Need That Cash

Ultimately, the game is a nineties kind of edgy. It’s very much girls in skimpy outfits wielding dangerous weapons and blowing up aliens. There are men and other species in the game for you to command, and a collection of events from antagonistic factions as well as “your faction” (and I use that term loosely) the Mutant Alliance, who give you missions to defend your fellow mutants. And you’ll want to defend these mutants, as it’s a major vector of your reputation over the course of the game.

But the main experience is throwing mutant women at aliens and their collaborator buddies, as well as innocent bystanders and guards for profit-filled ships. You’ll want to be selective of what targets you go after. Some ships might be tantalizingly exposed, but others will wreck your ship before you get them on the ground. I myself have barely scratched the surface of this mod, as there are loads and loads of tech, items, and enemies to discover.

By the developers’ own words, a campaign can easily run about 400 hrs, so don’t be afraid to study everything you can and take everything you can. It’s also challenging and is designed as such. If you find yourself losing consistently and have no idea what to do, there is an offline Bootypedia that covers everything in-game, and an advice tab to give you themed tips on how to play. This mod is solidly recommended and deserves so much more attention, as does X-COM: UFO Defense as a whole for those who enjoy the classics.

You can find X-COM: UFO Defense on Steam and the mods ModDB page here. The mod uses OpenXCOM as a base but you don’t need to install it as X-Piratez comes with an installation of it, as well as installation instructions for getting the mod working.


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2 thoughts on “When X-COM Goes Apocalyptic: A Look at X-Piratez, A Mod Not For The Faint Of Heart”

  1. X Piratez and X-Com Files (another giant mod for old X-Com) are two of the greatest sources of my entertainment in the last 5 years.

  2. x-piratez was basically my entire 2020. it’s a fantastic mod if you can get past the whole “original game made in ’94” thing. there’s a fair few dated mechanics built right into the engine (ex. TUs instead of discrete move/shoot/item actions) that the turn-based genre has moved on from. it takes some getting used to.


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