Das Boot

Title		Das Boot
Publisher	Mindscape/Three-Sixty, 1990
Programmer      Steve Tibbett
Game Type	3D Combat Sim
Players	        1
HD Installable	Yes
Compatibility	All
Submission	John Burns (john@jgb.abelgratis.co.uk) Profiled Reviewer

Although this game has been legally available for download from AMI Sector
One for quite some time I must admit to only recently having done so
mainly due to my aversion to this type of game. Over the years I've owned
and played 688 Attack Sub, Red Storm Rising and both Silent Service 1 and
2. All of these games had left me feeling somewhat disappointed and in
some cases annoyed. So it was with some trepidation that I started to play
this game. Whether based on this low starting point or from the mellowing
which occurs with age, I know not, however, I do know that it was with
some surprise that I actually found myself enjoying this title. Why? Well,
read on....

Based on the classic German film of the same name this is a submarine
simulation set during WW2. Despite being made in 1990 and therefore
primarily designed for the A500 I was surprised to find that the game not
only detects and makes use of faster (020+) processors but also promotes
to run on VGA monitors. Running this game on an 020+ system means that you
are given more detailed and therefore better graphics whilst the extra
speed of these processors makes the polygon 3D landscape scroll smoothly.
Sound is reasonably good for this type of game with the usual array of
pings (sonar), booms (explosions) and whooshes (torpedoes firing) that one
would expect. There are none which particularly stand out but nor are
there any which fail to deliver their intended effect. The actual game
music consists of a small tune on the intro screen which is not destined
to become a classic of computer game music.

No doubt you'll be wondering what the hell a 3D landscape is doing in a
submarine sim. Well, whilst there isn't much use for such a thing when you
are patrolling the North Atlantic, but when your mission is to patrol a
Norwegian fjord this adds to the game immensely. Sailing under bridges and
the like when you are on the surface gives this game a graphical edge on
most if not all the other sub sims available for the Amiga. This same
graphics engine is employed to generate the aircraft which you will
doubtless come across during the game and the external views of your
submarine when in underwater modes; all of which are done to a good
standard. Many, myself included, would say that good graphics do not
necessarily a good game make but they don't hurt either.

Control is via the mouse and keyboard and as with all such games there are
many keys to learn if you want to become proficient in the game. That said
the game is quite accessible without a deep knowledge of these keys. The
game menu offers 8 training modes; 4 above and 4 below the surface. None
of these modes are particularly taxing or difficult which is as it should
be since they are there to let you practice your control not play a
scenario. Of course, you can always choose to go straight to the scenarios
but practising your use of the deck gun, anti aircraft skills and getting
through mine fields may just improve your chances of completing said

Once you have trained, chosen your scenario and options, you are into the
game proper. Here you will be confronted by a window showing the main view
with two rows of buttons along the bottom. These buttons take you to the
relevant places in the sub such as the Radio room, Engine room, etc. All
these are standard fare for the game type and the interface works well
without getting in the way or being overly complicated. Some screens, such
as the Radio room screen, are however, full of options and buttons and if,
like me, you have to play without a manual, they will take a bit of trial
and error in order to figure out. This isn't a complaint against the game
but more an observation on playing downloaded games in general. Owners of
original versions with a manual will no doubt have no such problems though
I can't confirm this. Either way it shouldn't take long for you to learn
each button/control and thereby get the maximum from the game.

The 6 included scenarios follow the film plot and range from the
aforementioned fjord patrol through operations in the N Atlantic to
Gibraltar and the Mediterranean, Difficulty levels are available with the
selection of such parameters as torpedo reliability, spares availability
and repair states. I must admit that setting all these options at their
most difficult has made mission completion beyond me though with practice
I'm sure I'll get there eventually. On the down side the game suffers from
the same problem that inflicts all sub sims, namely lack of action.
However, since this is a generic problem and not just akin to this game it
doesn't make it any worse than it's peers.

As a game, whilst it won't become a member of my "top tier" it certainly
has earned a place on my hard drive and the right to remain there. This is
a game which has changed my views on sub sims due to its playability and
nice graphics. So if like me you've tried sub sims before but never really
liked them, try this game out  If you give it a chance it may just change
your opinion of the genre too.

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