Submarine Commander (Sparklers) Review | Computer Gamer - Everygamegoing

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Submarine Commander
By Sparklers
Atari 400

Published in Computer Gamer #19

Submarine Commander

For a game this cheap I was surprised at its complexity and quality - not surprising really as this game has been previously released under the Creative Sparks label at full price.

The game (surprise, surprise!) puts you in charge of a submarine during the last war (I assume) in the Mediterranean Sea. Your job is to seek out and destroy all the enemy convoys using this sea route.

The game presents you with a bewildering array of instruments and a long set of instructions. But the instructions are excellent and well illustrated with a diagram of the main screen showing you what all the instruments do. So with only a quick scan of these you are able to set out in pursuit of the enemy.

There are three main modes of operation. Map mode, where you can see an aerial map of the Med, with the main coastal features outlined and your position along with that of the enemy convoys. Set your course, speed and depth and wait until you get closer and can use your sonar. This realistically depicts the position of ships near to you. You can also use the hydrophone to get a better fix on them.

When you are close enough, you can climb up to periscope depth and get a 3D-ish picture of just what is happening above. This is fairly realistic except for the torpedo launching which just shows some black lines appearing rather than a satisfying bubble trail streaking out from the front of your sub.

However, the torpedoes hitting the ship and the ship going down is most impressive.

All throughout the game, sound is used to maximum effect with plenty of warning sirens, morse code, and whizz-bangs to set anyone's teeth on edge.

The game is easy to get the hang of, though it's going to be murder to master completely. It isn't as complex as Silent Service, though the improvement probably isn't worth the price difference. I'm sticking with this one - it's a game that I am going to try and beat - despite the massively long loading time.

Excellent - no Atari owner should be without a copy.