Harpoon (video game)
Applied Computing Services
|Publisher(s)||Three-Sixty Pacific, PSS|
|Platform(s)||Amiga, MS-DOS, Macintosh|
In the late 1970s, a manual wargame called SEATAG was introduced by the USN for exploring tactical options. It was available in both classified and unclassified versions. SEATAG was developed into a true tactical training game called NAVTAG that ran on three networked microcomputers for the Red Side, Blue Side, and Game Control.
The player is the commander of either NATO or Soviet forces, commanding ships and aircraft, selecting from over 100 different weapon systems, and taking responsibility for judgment calls. The game mainly focuses on combat in the GIUK Gap.
Harpoon is a naval simulator that uses data reflecting real-world equipment and weaponry, based on a miniatures wargame. There are no preset battle algorithms that dictate combat outcomes, and no play balance between sides. The game includes a user's guide with an appendix on superpower politics and maritime strategies in modern warfare, a Harpoon Tactical Guide by Larry Bond, and a booklet by author Tom Clancy that deals with Russian destroyers. Clancy used the simulation to test the naval battles for Red Storm Rising, which he co-authored with Bond.
Sales of Harpoon surpassed 80,000 copies by 1993.
Computer Gaming World's reviewer, a United States military officer, gave the game five stars out of five. He stated that "there is no question that Harpoon is the most detailed simulation to appear in the civilian marketplace ... a must-have for the serious naval gamer", and that he had learned more from six hours with the game than one year at the Naval War College. In 1990, Dragon gave the PC DOS/MS-DOS version of game 5 out of 5 stars. In 1991, they gave the Macintosh version 5 stars as well. The Amiga version received 5 out of 5 stars.
In 1990, Computer Gaming World named it as Wargame of the Year. In 1994, PC Gamer US named Harpoon the 36th best computer game ever. The editors called it "probably the best known and most successful naval war game there's ever been. It's still selling today, even five years after its initial release, and military academies have been known to use the game as a training aid. Now that's realism!" In 1996, Computer Gaming World declared Harpoon the 40th-best computer game ever released.
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