#670 Silent Hunter III

Posted: 26th December 2020 by Jeroen in Games
Tags: , , , ,

918th played so far

Genre: Simulation
Platform: PC
Year of Release: 2005
Developer: Ubisoft Bucharest
Publisher: Ubisoft

One of the weirder games we had for our old, 2 5.25″ floppy drive only PCs was called GATO. It was a real time submarine simulator that took me years to figure out – helped by having to learn English well enough to understand what’s going on. It had you go on various missions in a map of fictional items, taking out randomly selected targets. It was fun once we got there, helped by the rituals I developed with friends where we had to escape the submarine if it did crash. I think I accidentally activated a fire hydrant in the sense of playing along. My gaming isn’t quite as physical anymore, but there was a wonderful sense of mixing games and real play there.

It meant that Silent Hunter III had something to live up to. The graphics obviously evolved – I’d honestly struggle with the 4 colour CGA graphics now – but I do wonder whether there’s any of that odd magic that will carry over.

Our Thoughts

I can say for sure that Silent Hunter III is more complex than GATO – this really is a proper simulation game, rather than a more action based game that just has you hunting and fighting. The sub you travel on is partially modeled (for the parts you need to visit) and has your crew members all sitting around, looking to you for orders. It’s all constrained and small and I have to admit that having watched Das Boot, it seemed familiar and I felt some of that tension here. Sure, they’re not the most realistic graphics, but the sub does feel real.

The fact that this is a true simulation extends beyond that as well. The game can run in real time, which is quite challenging when you realize your first mission takes you from a German harbour to the North Sea – a trip that takes about 36 hours of real time. It’s a good thing the game offers time compression at that point – 1024 as fast as normal – to deal with that hurdle. It still gets annoying when it drops you out for any excuse, but it clearly goes for giving you the tools to deal with that precision.

There’s a decent tutorial, but it’s lengthy and dense in information. It means that I ended up guessing a bit on what to do, but it all worked fine in the end, so I guess that’s fine. Still, the game is complex and there’s a lot going on that you need to keep track of.

Final Thoughts

Silent Hunter III is complex, a deep simulation that I’m sure match reality somewhat closely. I don’t know whether I got everything, but I got the claustrophobic feeling from Das Boot and other media, which are apparently based on reality anyway. It’s something you rarely get from a game, and it’s amazing here.