U-boat simulations have a strange fascination. Unlike flight sims there is little seat-of-
Das Boot offers three different craft and five different campaigns. Each is historically accurate, but can be manipulated to make a beginner's life easier or a veteran's life tougher. Das Boot is a 3D polygon war-torn world that's interspersed with 2D options and control screens. The action can be speeded up by lowering the 3D detail levels, depending on how much accuracy you take with your action.
The 12 vital areas of the submarine have been isolated, and their functions streamlined, so that a single deck-
This equal split, forces a visit to the practice ranges before lay, just to familiarise new submariners with their ship. As there is no single central command panel, knowing where to find specific controls, quickly, is vital. As captain, it's all too probable that you will have to flick between control and action screens in the heat of the battle.
After setting sail, radio reports filter through from other wolf-pack members and spotter planes. These need decoding - and the code broken if it is from allied shipping - and the correct course set to intercept. All the while periscopes and binoculars must scan the horizon looking for victims, as the primitive detection systems means visual contact is the only sure method.
On yer' marks
Once in combat Das Boot shows itself to be a game of skill and judgement. Torpedoes require 'marks' to time detonation, while the right choice of torp' (acoustic, magnetic or loop) may make up for targeting errors. They must be fired with a considerable lead - this is where the practice comes in handy - calculating where the sip will be when the torpedo reaches detonation distance.
Das Boot, though, is no turkey shoot. Allied vessels can hit back and merchant ships have escorts who try to force U-boats away using deck guns to stop a surface attack and depth charges against the submerged subs. Stay topside too long and the airforce will join you for a one-sided shoot out. There are even battles with other subs which can be conducted from an 'outside view' in a slow, almost balletic, dog(fish) fight.
Das Boot's cat-an-