Run silent, run cheap

Hunter Killer logo

DIVE! DIVE! DIVE! Said he marketing men, and sure enough the price of Amiga software has plummeted to the depths of budgetdom, this time with a submarine simulator.
Squeezed on the disc are 14 missions, all based around the area of Pearl Harbor circa 1942. Your command is a Gato class US submarine, armed with 10 torpedo tubes and a deck gun. This makes it a very small craft by today's standards, with a top speed of about 16 knots and maximum diving depth of 200 feet.

Now that we are no longer paying the price which traditionally was put down to development costs what sort of game are we left with?
Graphics? Naw, not much in the way of those I'm afraid. Mostly waves and charts and grey blobs which are supposed to look like Japanese frigates.

The information dials around the edges of the screen are hardly state of the art, and the deck and periscope views are disappointing.
Sound? There is not a lot in that department either. The engines churn away, the explosion explode and the siren does a bit of whooping whenever you dive or surface. No tunes, no speech. Nothing fancy.

Historical accuracy? Unfortunately, as a simulation Hunter Killer leaves quite a lot to be desired. The mechanics of the submarine are so simplified as to be laughable, and in some places details are downright wrong.

So what makes me like it so much? Well, there are two reasons.
The first boils down to the fact that I am a miser and Hunter Killer costs one shiny new pence less than a five pound note. Selling Amiga software at realistic prices is quite a new concept and not something which the software houses have had much experience with.
My second reason for liking the game hinges on the fact that I have always enjoyed sub games, ever since I first played that classic black and white arcade one, Depth Charge, all those years ago.

Ah, those were the days - there was something ever so satisfying in seeing the bubble tracks from your torpedoes vanishing into the distance, shortly followed by the red flash as they detonated against the hull of some huge enemy cruiser.

Hunter Killer allows me to do all this, with the extra freedom of patrolling the Pacific and the ability to surface right in the middle of a Japanese right in the middle of a Japanese convoy, tubes flooded are ready to fire. Bliss.

With multiple missions, day or night scenarios and several skill levels, Hunter Killer presents a worthwhile challenge at a remarkable price.
Suddenly I find I'd rather play this rather lo-tech game in preference to the latest scrolling shoot-'em-ups. Perhaps I'm getting old.

Hunter Killer logo

16 Blitz/£4.99 ST/Amiga

Amiga reviewDavid: Hunter Killer is a submarine sim set in the South Pacific. You get to command one of 11 US Navy subs in 14 different missions modelled on 'real WWII campaigns'. The missions are pitched at various difficulty levels and there are several variables you can adjust to make your task that much harder.

Anyone who caught that excellent German mini-series Das Boot won't be disappointed with the atmosphere of this game, as you sit at the bottom of the ocean while Jap destroyers circle your position 'pinging' their sonar at you! Blimey! Nail-biting stuff and no mistake.

Maybe not as refined as Microprose's Silent Service or the forthcoming 688 Attack Sub from Electronic Arts, but for a measly five sovs who's complaining!