Harpoon (series)

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Harpoon Logo.png
The logo used for Larry Bond's Harpoon Commander's Edition.
Genre(s)Real-time strategy, Wargame
Platform(s)MS-DOS, Amiga, Macintosh, Windows
First releaseHarpoon
Latest releaseLarry Bond's Harpoon Commander's Edition
November 21, 2007

Harpoon is a series of realistic air and naval computer wargames based upon Larry Bond's miniatures game of the same name. Players can choose between either the Blue or Red side in simulated naval combat situations, which includes local conflicts as well as simulated Cold War confrontations between the Superpowers. Missions range from small missile boat engagements to large oceanic battles, with dozens of vessels and hundreds of aircraft. The game includes large databases containing many types of real world ships, submarines, aircraft, and land defenses (i.e. air bases and ports).


The simulations have a dedicated fan base with several websites offering a varying styles of scenarios and discussion forums, especially as the latest edition includes a feature to allow players to create their own scenarios. Often described as a "niche within a niche market," development of the simulation has progressed steadily through the years despite the overwhelming numerical and graphical superiority of first-person shooter and real-time strategy games. Advanced Gaming Systems, Inc. (AGSI), developers of Harpoon 3 Advanced Naval Warfare and Harpoon Commander's Edition (with HarpGamer), currently distributes the simulation as a Harpoon Ultimate Edition through Matrix games with technical support handled on a co-operative basis by AGSI, HarpGamer, and Matrix games employees.

Harpoon was originally published by Three-Sixty Pacific and has had several development paths and publishers. Despite the widespread success of the game, Three-Sixty Pacific experienced financial difficulties and went under in 1994. Currently all computer rights rest with AGSI, who continues to improve the series with new developments and releases. In 2006, AGSI released Harpoon Advanced Naval Warfare (ANW) which allowed players to compete with human opponents for the first time in the game's history.

Harpoon's interface emphasizes technical accuracy over graphical polish, with simple 2D symbols to simulate a warship's radar display. There has been considerable debate in the game's user community about the decision of the developers to utilize 3D graphics in later versions of the program. Since March 2009, two releases are available to AGSI civilian customers. Harpoon Commanders Edition is an updating version based on the game engine of the original series. Harpoon 3 Advanced Naval Warfare is the current civilian edition of the product. Military customers are offered Harpoon 3 Pro, which is tailored for customer specifications. There was a Macintosh version that lies between the Harpoon II and Harpoon 3 Advanced Naval Warfare called "Harpoon III v3.6.3"

Development of both commercial versions ceased as of October 2013. The most recent release of Harpoon 3 Advanced Naval Warfare was V3.11.1. (Jan 2013). The most recent release of Harpoon Commander's Edition was v2009.097 (October 2013).[1]

The H3 MilSim (aka Harpoon 3 Professional) product is still available.[1]


The games play in real time, with time acceleration capability in case the action slows down. The player can control single or multiple platforms (up to the hundreds if the computing power is available). The game is extremely comprehensive, although certain elements of naval warfare are not modeled, such as radar ducting, sonar bottom and surface bounce, and COMINT/SIGINT.


Computer Gaming World said that Harpoon II's long delay helped the game, approving of the Windows-like interface for the DOS game.[2] The editors of PC Gamer US nominated Harpoon II for their 1994 "Best Wargame" award, although it lost to Panzer General.[3]


Title Details

Original release date(s):[4]
Release years by system:
1989—DOS, Macintosh[4][5]

Harpoon Challenger Pak

Original release date(s):
Release years by system:
  • Developed and published by Three-Sixty Pacific
  • It is a compilation of the original Harpoon which includes additional material such as a scenario editor and a strategy guide

Harpoon Classic

Original release date(s):
  • NA: June 1, 1995
Release years by system:

Original release date(s):
Release years by system:

Harpoon II: Admiral's Edition

Original release date(s):
Release years by system:

Harpoon Classic 97

Original release date(s):[7]
  • NA: November 7, 1996
Release years by system:
  • Developed by Alliance Interactive and published by Interactive Magic[7]
  • It is a revised edition of Harpoon Classic

Original release date(s):
Release years by system:
1999—Macintosh[citation needed]

Harpoon III

Original release date(s):
June 1, 2001
Release years by system:
  • Developed by SpearSoft and published by Advanced Gaming Systems
  • Later renamed to Harpoon 3 Pro
  • It is continued on with Larry Bond's Harpoon 3: Advanced Naval Warfare

Larry Bond's Harpoon 3: Advanced Naval Warfare

Original release date(s):[8]
  • NA: June 15, 2006
Release years by system:

Larry Bond's Harpoon Commander's Edition

Original release date(s):[9]
  • NA: November 21, 2007
Release years by system:
  • Developed by Advanced Gaming Systems and HarpGamer and published by Matrix Games[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Harpoon - Tied Up". Retrieved 2013-12-24.
  2. ^ "These Just In". Now Playing. Computer Gaming World. August 1994. pp. 152–156.
  3. ^ Staff (March 1995). "The First Annual PC Gamer Awards". PC Gamer. 2 (3): 44, 45, 47, 48, 51.
  4. ^ a b c "Harpoon - Overview". allgame. Retrieved 2009-05-09.
  5. ^ a b "Harpoon Release Information for Macintosh". GameFAQs. Retrieved 2009-05-09.
  6. ^ "Harpoon Release Information for Amiga". GameFAQs. Retrieved 2009-05-09.
  7. ^ a b c "Harpoon Classic 97 - Overview". allgame. Retrieved 2009-05-10.
  8. ^ a b c d "Larry Bond's Harpoon 3: Advanced Naval Warfare - Overview". allgame. Retrieved 2009-05-10.
  9. ^ a b c "Harpoon -- Commanders Edition". IGN. Retrieved 2009-05-10.

External links[edit]