Sea-faring simulations are fast becoming as popular as those of the aerial variety. MicroProse's excellent Silent Service II proved that you don't have to be able to pilot the most expensive aircraft in the world to enjoy a damned good sim. Now Electronic Arts have released Strike Fleet, which first surfaced on the C64 way back in 1987.
The idea behind the game sounds simple enough - you take control of a fleet of naval vessels (this is including deck-
A life on the ocean wave
Having selected which campaign to follow, the scene shifts to that of an Allied naval base, from which the player can choose ships, names and weaponry for the on-coming battles.
There it's simply a case of deciding where to go and steaming at full speed to face the foe. Once underway, however, things can get a bit dull (half the war is wasted waiting for things to happen!), so the game time can be accelerated to 128 times normal speed! Eventually, with much steaming and time acceleration, vessels appear and depending upon their allegiance, either sit there or attempt to blow you out of the water!
The opposition has all manner of ships with which to shoot you away, but the real killers are helicopters, subs, and the dreaded Exocet missile. Of course, you're not completely helpless, with a variety of deck guns, depth charges, torpedoes, anti-
Radar can be used to seek out ships at a distance, to discover which vessel is which (an early warning of battle readiness). With the radar on maximum long-
Once a specific aim is achieved (such as the sinking of a particular vessel, or fleet), it's back to base for repairs, refits, commendations and a well-
Ship in a bottle
Strike Fleet's main attraction lies in the fact that the novelty factor is still relatively high - the original C64 version was good, but wasn't really atmospheric enough to keep would-be Fleet Admiral stuck to their screen for long.
With the Amiga's more flexible capabilities, Strike Fleet is still a tough game to get into, but the rewards are far greater. Although not graphically brilliant, what is there performs the task more than satisfactorily, but a little more in the way of sampled sounds would have improved matters.
One thing's for sure - Strike Fleet is tough, damned tough. Novices to this sort of sim will be lucky to survive five minutes in the water before having an Exocet fly down their throats. Those who are a little more experienced in these matters will find this to be a solid, challenging game with endless possibilities.
If simulations interest and experience you even only in the slightest, have a look at this one, because you'll soon be absolutely hooked. All ahead, flank speed.