Fighting Steel
GNB 2-5
Silent Hunter III

688(I) Hunter/Killer

Simulation of a nuclear submarine of the 688(I) class.  

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The submarine simulation 688(I) Hunter Killer simulates a nuclear fast attack submarine of the American 688(I) (Improved version of the 688) class. Although it is a very good and accurate simulation (at least after the realism patches), it has several flaws in gameplay, preventing that it is a really top game.

The game contain several single missions, a mission editor with the whole world in its database and a campaign consisting of several linked missions. Those missions are linked with some filmed cut scenes - the quality of the actors there is not worth to be discussed here, its just awful. The biggest problem of the campaign is that it only has one set of pre-fabricated missions, so the replayability factor is equal to zero.  A real dynamic campaign would have been much better here.

But lets concentrate on the gameplay itself. There are several different stations modeled in the submarine which can be used: The navigation map, control room, communications, weapons control, periscope, radar and sonar to list the most important. In the sonar room, the game shows how accurate the simulation is: From all submarine simulations so far, this is the most accurate representation of a moderns submarines sonar equipment so war, with all its different sonar modes, waterfall displays etc. This is not really surprising, as the designers of the game - Sonalysts  - do also work for the US Navy, so they have the knowledge how this system should work. The sonar room is the place where most of the game is played, detecting and identifying contacts create target solutions for the weapons. A 688(I) can carry torpedoes, Harpoon missiles, mines and Tomahawk cruise missiles, so they can be used for a variety of mission types.

The computer AI produced some mixed feelings. Although the general reaction of the computer controlled ships is quite good, some aspects are highly unrealistic. Enemy submarine for example, climb to periscope depth form time to time to use their active radar, even missle subs do so. It is very doubtful that a real submarine commander would behave like this.

Graphics of the game is good, most of the time the different displays of the submarine are shown, but there is also a 3D-View included in the game where the own submarine or other ships can be watched from the outside. The sound effects, especially in the sonar room are also good, all commands for changing course or speak are repeated by the crew which will also inform the player about important events.

The player can be assisted by three computer shipmates, one at the sonar station, one at the target plot and one at the weapon control, making it easier to identify ships and build target solutions.

When it was relased in 1997,  there was no better alternative for a modern submarine simulation so far, 688(I) was the fist choice for such a game, but it required a long learning curve to understand how such a submarine works and behaves.