You Know When You've Been Tango'd... This is a true story: in WW2 there was a Yank sub called the Tang, commanded by a bloke called Dick O'Kane. On his fifth patrol of the Formosa Straits O'Kane spotted a convoy of Jap tankers and freighters which looked like easy meat, requiring only a relatively straight-[forward surface attack (which should have been clear-cut due to the fact that it was night-time). Seven Jap ships were duly sunk (including two that collided while trying to ram the Tang).
I So far so good. O'Kane had only two torpedoes left, so from his position up on the bridge he ordered them loaded: he'd finish off a transport ship damaged earlier, and then head for home. "Fire one!" he cried through his tube doofer.
"Fire two!" But what he didn't know was that one of the torpedoes had a dodgy gyro, which made it swing around in a giant circle. The result? The Tang shot itself in the arse. The explosion threw O'Kane into the water, where he could only watch as his tattooed sailor chums headed towards Davy Jones' Locker. Death Central!
The bobbing O'Kane was picked up the next day by a Yank patrol boat and spent a week in hospital (where his every whim was taken care of by a bevy of swooning nurse-groupies). He was eventually awarded the Medal Of Honour for his efforts and given a squillion dollars. Alright for some, eh?
Okay, okay, but what about the game?
Silent Hunter is fab. If you've never played a ww2 submarine game before, let me quickly say here that we're dealing with an under-rated genre which actually deserves as much exposure as the flight sim. In fact I strongly suggest, if you are a submarine virgin, that you stick around 'til the end of the page.
Having said that though, if there's a moan to be had in this review, I may as well get it off my chest now. Here we go: Silent Hunter could be said to be paying more than just lip-service to the totally brilliant Aces Of The Deep. We're talking big-time copycat here. Even the options screens look the same, for Christ's sake. (Mind you, 'if it ain't broke don't fix it' I suppose.) The main differences between Hunter and Aces, however, are as follows: (a) It's Yanks versus Japs in the Pacific rather than Krauts versus Brits in the Atlantic: (b) There's a greater degree of realism available regarding torpedo launches: you can go crazy-anorak with protractors and trigonometry if you want to; (c) Ditto the deck gun... take complete manual control, and 'guess that angle'. (You sad bastard Duncan - Ed.); (d) You get radar capabilities long before the enemy (and the radar screen is spank-eroony); (e) The graphical approach is sort of. er, 'opposite' to Aces Of the Deep... Aces was vector ships and bitmap land. Silent is the other way round.
Rather than boringly list everything you get to do (I'd need three more pages anyway), I'll just say that playing Silent Hunter is pretty' much exactly the same as watching one of those numerous brill Sunday afternoon blob-out WW2 submarine movies starring John Mills and co - except you're not just watching, you're doing. You couldn't ask for more, really. Superlative atmosphere, graphics to match, lots of cat and mouse stuff, explosions, big splashes, creaking hulls, depth charge attacks, leaking engine rooms, the works. Excellent! And the interface is smart.
C'mon, surely something has to be iffy?
The sonar ping noises are a bit crap! Oh, and there aren't proper 'waves' (you do bob up and down, though). And I still think it's high time we had a submarine sim where you can move around inside, Duke Nukem-style, whacking panicking crew members with huge spanners. That having been said, though - and, of course, the fact that it's a bit of a rip-off merchant - Silent Hunter really is a very difficult game to fault. It does what it sets out to do, and it does it perfectly. What more can one ask?
Processor: PC compatible, P-100
OS: Windows 9x, Windows 2000 Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, Win 10.
Game Features:Single game mode