Wolfpack gives you the unique option of playing as the other side. You can design your missions and choose to conn a pack of U-boats or a convoy of merchants and escorts. Although very old, there is a little life left in this title to merit scrutiny. Bear with me.
Wolfpack shows its age more than SSN-21 Seawolf or Command Aces. The mouse-directed interface is packed onto a single screen and is somewhat vague and confusing. The gameplay manual is all on-line, and printing it out is a must to figure out the interface and rules. The graphics are antique VGA-style fare. You don't get a real sense of "being there" as with Aces of the Deep. The overall atmosphere is very arcade-like. Wolfpack doesn't have different views or compartments, and this adds to the less-than-authentic feel of the sim. But if it seems I'm damning the layout and graphics, allow me to praise the concept. Wolfpack includes the essentials for the perfect subsim: attention to detail, historical accuracy, and the opportunity to master the sub or the convoy. At first the graphics served to disenchant me from putting in the time required to master the interface. My initial review ended right about here, with a dismal rating. But since then, I've given it another run, and this time achieved much more satisfaction from it.
The most novel feature of Wolfpack, and perhaps its saving grace, is the sim allows a player to command an entire side of ships, both as a theater commander and individual ship captain. You may choose to command a wolfpack or a convoy. The program allows you to make course and depth changes, fire weapons, and maneuver a sub, then jump to another sub in the pack and work it as well. Your tactics can be employed among one, two, or more U-boats, whatever size you consider a wolfpack to be. If you choose to command the convoy, you work the helm of the merchants and escorts in the same manner, skipping from the bridge of one to another. The escorts are natural U-boat hunters. You conn them around the convoy, looking for a subtle grey speck that would be a periscope. Using passive sonar, your message box will alert you to the presence of U-boat screws nearby. Then you let loose with the depth charges and maneuver for another run. Skip over to other destroyers and vector them in for the kill. Once the Brits come through with ASDIC or sonar, you can achieve results much easier. From mid-war on, you can launch hedgehogs and more powerful DCs, with staggering accuracy.
The basic gameplay elements are genuine history. Getting to know your capabilities means getting to know the vessels you command and the time frame in which your game takes place. Certain technologies aren't available until the historically proper year, which gives the combatants their advantages/disadvantages accurately. Destroyers don't have active sonar in 1939, so the wolfpack has almost a free reign. As the war progresses, however, the surface vessels quickly gain the edge. With greater speed and tracking gear, destroyers can run circles around the submerged U-boats. The program offers a good variety of platforms, especially the U-boats. Type VII, IX, XXI, and Milche Cows are available.
Wolfpack includes a good number of canned missions plus an adequate scenario editor. You can create an Atlantic Battle or Mediterranean Melee of your own design. Assign roles and routes to the surface ships and place U-boats in the area. Each ship or boat can be assigned computer captains who have names and varying personalities, from aggressive to cautious. Wolfpack even allows two players to compete on the same PC in a turn-based style.
In this WW2 combat simulation one or two players can take command of one of three different sets of naval vessels. German U-boats, U.S. destroyers or Allied merchant ships are there, waiting for the right commands. They operate in small groups, just as the real things did in WW2. Full status screens tell you what state your boat is in at any time. It's possible to play one of the twelve built-in scenarios or an self-created scenario. The game has no career mode.
Mediocre WWII naval combat simulation, Wolfpack offers you the command of German U-boats, US destroyers, freighters and tankers. Good graphics for its time can't hide many glaring omissions that are prerequisite for great sub sims, such as career mode.
Wolfpack does feature an intuitive mouse-driven interface, a decent mission builder, and twelve built-in scenarios, all with interesting objectives. After a few minutes, even casual naval commanders will notice that the game's realism and options are sorely lacking-- especially when compared to similar games like MicroProse's classic Silent Service II or Das Boot. A step forward in graphics, a step backward in gameplay. Try this one only if you're a casual-- VERY casual -- fan of submarine sims and don't mind historical inaccuracies and illogical logistics.
People who downloaded Wolfpack have also downloaded:
Jutland, Silent Hunter: Commander's Edition, SSN-21 Seawolf, Wings of Glory, Aces of The Deep, Sub Command: Akula Seawolf 688(I), Red Baron 3D, Their Finest Hour: The Battle of Britain
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