Amstrad Computer User

Convoy Raider

Publisher: Gremlin
Machine: Amstrad CPC464

Published in Amstrad Computer User #35

Convoy Raider

The spray from the waves breaking over the bow drench the radar, the lookout post and, almost incidently, you. Remember those long, slow, Sunday afternoons when there was nothing on the telly except horse racing, athletics the test card and an old WW2 naval escapade?

You thought the Atlantic was grey because it was an old film. No. The Atlantic is grey because it is cold and wet. Qualities it is trying, with some success, to imbue you with. As you raise your standard issue binoculars to your frozen face you recall with some affection Gremlin's Convoy Raider.

The game opens on three radar screens, representing the air, sea and submarine environments around your position. You can select a map (to show you where you are), a screen for firing Sea Wolf missiles, another for launching an Exocet and another for dropping depth charges. As you might suspect by now, these last three options are for disposing of enemy aircraft, frigates and submarines respectively. Or even reflectively, because (as Jennings might have put it), if you hit a guy with an Exocet it doesn't half give him something to reflect about.

Convoy Raider

As you push your way along atop Poseidon's watery realm, you stand a good chance of being noticed by the aforementioned enemy. Alternatively, you can go looking for them, as the map shows everything.

However you come together, as soon as your electronic defences spot 'em you will get an alert. Yellow alert doesn't mean much, but should any of your radar indicators go red, it's time for some serious shootings.

Say an aircraft comes bobbing along, Select Sea Wolf, and you will at once be plunged into a "here come the planes and there is your cursor" game, where you aim your cursor at a point where you think an aircraft might be some time in the near future and unleash a missile. It's all set against what would be a beautiful sky, if only there weren't these nasty bombers coming at you out of it. Ruins a quiet evening.

Convoy Raider

Alternatively, a warship might meander into mutual mortar-lobbing range. Out with the Exocet, which you steer with your joystick until it hits the enemy.

Whether it explodes or not is another matter, but in any case the impact of a barely subsonic missile filled with high-grade rocket fuel is enough to cause no little damage to the ship, which will shortly become a one-way submarine.

And talking of submarines, should you be lucky enough to spot one of those strange fish it's scramble the helicopter with the nuclear depth charges (one of those things which the MOD would rather not talk about, thank you very much) time. Spot the sub on the 3D sonar, and bomb the brown and sticky out of it. Of course, it can shoot little missiles of it's own at you should you come within anywhere near damaging it, but these choppers are nippy little things and you can always dodge. Is this more fun than a saturated roll neck in the sub-Arctic? Or would you rather turn over and watch the horse racing? Why do these reviews always finish with a question? Why not?


Once upon a time, I was involved with seaborne defence systems, and I've fired a SeaWolf in simulation. Nothing like this game, though, where the only odd thing that happens is that if you move the joystick up the cursor moves down. Similarly, in the fire an Exocet phase all you have to do is not, touch the joystick and the missile hits, Boring.

The submarine bombing option is pretty dull, too. Add the facts that you don't see the score or your state of damage until you die and this is a pretty boring, slow moving, frustrating collection of three hackneyed games that together might make up half of a two quid compendium. Gremlin have got to be kidding.


This game seems to lack direction. It would be better if there were missions to perform. Escort a merchant ship from one place to another. Patrol the Straits of Homuz — that kind of thing.

Just sailing about shooting and being shot at gets tedious, you want to enter a battle. Real commanders spend all their time trying to keep out of trouble. The more I played this the more I lamented what could have been.


This has the makings of a very good game, but the compliments stop there, I'm afraid.

What Convoy Raider needs is a better sense of being involved. The three sub (no pun intended) games are just not exciting enough. Even steering the ship could be more involved, a full-speed ahead lever, proper navigation, tides and currents.

I found it very difficult to work out where the submarine I was supposed to be depth charging was, and the missile launch was both boring and frustrating. The Beachhead shoot-the-planes-out-of-the-sky bit was OK but not worth buying the game for.