|Developer(s)||Aeon Electronic Entertainment|
Silent Hunter is a World War II submarine combat simulation for MS-DOS, developed by Aeon Electronic Entertainment and published by Strategic Simulations in 1996. The game takes place in the Pacific War during World War II, the player commanding a submarine of the United States Navy. Most contemporary US submarines and Japanese warships are featured along with some generic merchant ships. The game won an industry award for Most Realistic Simulation Game in 1996.
One reason for the game was its consultant, Captain Bud Gruner of the USS Skate (SS-305), a decorated veteran captain of the war against Japan. His attack against the Imperial Japanese Navy light cruiser Agano is available as a mission on the game's single mission menu, along with other famous submarine attacks such as Captain Red Ramage's July 30, 1944 night surface attack on a Japanese convoy in USS Parche, which brought him a Medal of Honor.
A single encounter generator is available, but the standard mode of play is the career mode, where the player must take their boat to patrol far behind enemy lines with the mission to search for and destroy any enemy shipping. For best success, the player should concentrate their search on shipping lanes, which may be deduced from contact reports. The boat is actually commanded by crewing various stations in first person (no crew is visible, even though their voices are heard), which is common in the genre.
In career mode, the game begins when war against Japan is declared and continues through until August 15, 1945, when CINCPAC (Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet) issues the order to cease all offensive operations against Japan. Success against the enemy rewards the Captain (the player) with medals as appropriate to the degree of success on a given patrol. However, there is a flip side to the game. One patrol without any sinkings will result in a verbal reprimand from COMSUBPAC (Commander, Submarines, Pacific Fleet). Two consecutive patrols with no sinkings will result in the Captain being relieved of command, as happened frequently in the Silent Service, particularly in the early days of the war. If a captain is relieved of command, the game is over.
The game models many characteristics of World War II-era submarine warfare, such as the faulty Mark 14 torpedo and anti-submarine warfare tactics used by the Imperial Japanese Navy. However, wolfpack tactics are not available, even though US Navy did use them to some extent.
Also, technological advances are introduced into the game at the same points on the timeline as the sub force got them during the war: the bathythermograph; surface search radar with the early oscilloscope-type display; surface search radar with the Plan Position Indicator (PPI) display; upgraded deck guns; air search radar; the Mark 18 electric torpedo; and the "Cutie" Mark 27 acoustic torpedo. Each upgrade opens more possibilities to the submarine captain in terms of what he can do.
An automatic feature of the game is the captain's logbook, which records the date, time, location, class, and tonnage of each enemy ship sunk. However, as there is no provision for adding your own notes to it, such as the name of the submarine, patrol number, weather and visibility conditions, target angles and ranges at which torpedoes were fired, it is mainly a tally book.
The game also has available to the Captain a nautical almanac giving times of sunrise and set, moonrise and moonset, and the quarter the moon is in, and the weather state. There is a radio log with information concerning special missions that might be assigned, such as harbor surveying, putting commandos ashore, or lifeguard missions where a captain may have to take his boat to the location of a shot-down pilot and retrieve him. There is also an enemy ship identification book like the ones used by all navies of the combatants in World War II that shows all classes of Japanese warships and merchant ships from several angles to assist in identifying targets and listing ship armaments. This information is very useful when planning an attack.
The computer puts a captain in command of one of the classes of submarines in commission in the Pacific Fleet at the time on the timeline as the campaign advances. A player will start out in anything from a World War I-designed S-Boat to one of the interwar class boats. As the war progresses, successful captains will be transferred to new classes of boats as they enter service with the Fleet. If a captain survives to the end of the war, he will finish in command of a Balao class or Tench class submarine.
Torpedo reloads take the same amount of time as they did during the war, and each boat carries the same number of torpedoes as subs of her class did during the war. This means a captain must take care when shooting his torpedoes. As the electric and acoustic torpedoes become available, a captain can select which sort of torpedo to load, giving him more options when planning attacks.
Submarines can be attacked by Japanese destroyers, cruisers, and armed merchant ships with depth charges, torpedoes, and gunfire. It is up to the captain to evade enemy ships hunting him. The boats can be damaged, or sunk. If they are damaged, repairs take time to complete, and the submarine's capabilities will be reduced. Some repairs cannot be completed while submerged, meaning the Captain will have to find a way to break contact and surface, which is very risky. This adds to the level of realism.
The game was re-released in 1997 under the title Silent Hunter: Commander's Edition, which had the original release with all official patches applied, all 3 patrol disk expansions, some additional patrol zones and a scenario editor.
Silent Hunter was designed for the MS-DOS operating system. However, it can be played on modern computers with Windows-based operating systems through the use of a DOS emulator for operating systems as recent as Windows 7. No version of the game for the Apple operating system exists. However, it has been reported by computer-savvy users of the game that DOS emulators for Mac computers will enable the game to run on older Apple machines like the PowerMac G4.
- Silent Hunter II, sequel released in 2001.
- Silent Hunter III, sequel released in 2005.
- Silent Hunter 4, released in March 2007
- Silent Hunter 5, released in 2010
- Silent Hunter - Commander's Edition
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17M9ub9Z9TE. Retrieved July 5, 2014.
- The Pacific Thunder Campaign
- "Silent Hunter for PC". GameRankings. Retrieved December 21, 2014.
- Wigmore, Glenn. "Silent Hunter - Review". AllGame. Archived from the original on November 15, 2014. Retrieved December 21, 2014.
- Carnevale, Jason C. (October 1996). "Silent Hunter Review". Game Revolution. Archived from the original on February 10, 2001. Retrieved December 21, 2014.
- Mical, Kevin (May 30, 1996). "Silent Hunter Review". GameSpot. Retrieved December 21, 2014.
- McDonald, T. Liam (June 1996). "Silent Hunter". PC Gamer. Archived from the original on February 26, 2000. Retrieved December 21, 2014.
- "PC Review: Silent Hunter". PC Zone. 1996.