MicroProse have had things to themselves for a long time in the submarine simulation market: their aged game Silent Service gave the player a chance to experience the thrills and spills of captaining a World War II sub. Now Electronic Arts bring things right up to date with a simulation of the latest range of American and Soviet subs.
It's mainly a one player game, but on some missions two players can play head-to-head via modem, each controlling a different side's sub. There are 10 missions in total (although the first is merely a practice mission) which may not sound like much but, as anyone who's played this sort of game will know, one mission can last a very long time. Moreover, once you have played them in the American sub you can play them again in the Soviet one, effectively doubling the number of missions.
The whole game is played and controlled from a mam screen depicting the inside of your sub. By moving the mouse over certain members of your crew and clicking, you reveal different areas of the sub. The areas include the radio room where orders are sent and received, the navigation room where waypoints and so on are set, the engine room, torpedo control, damage control, the sonar room and the periscope. Obviously the options available in each room vary, but the act of switching between rooms simply involves hitting a function key.
Once you've got your orders and have decided on a strategy the first thing to do is jump from room to room and complete all the necessary tasks. Then you can switch on all the latest gadgetry (things like the contour computer, which gives you a constantly-updated image of the surrounding sea bed) and settle back for some nail-biting tension.
GRAPHICS AND SOUND
Well, you can't expect brilliant sound, can you? The few spot effects that are there are fine. The graphics are much better and everything has been well drawn: the few little bits that are animated, are animated well.
The missions are timed, which some will see as a good thing and others as bad. With about 20 missions for the solo player there's plenty to keep you busy.
You have to be a certain kind of person to enjoy a sub sim: someone who likes to think about their actions and doesn't mind waiting a few minutes for things to happen. Sub sims rely on building tension and 688 does it beautifully. A great example of the genre and a brilliant game to play with a remote friend via a cable link.
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A-10 Tank Killer v1.5, 688 Attack Sub, Advanced Destroyer Simulator, Sub Command: Akula Seawolf 688(I), B17: Flying Fortress, 1869 (AGA), 1942, Aaargh
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