The Soviet Union, under severe pressure after destruction of one of their biggest oil refineries, must secure a new source of oil, and to do that, they must disable the West... which means they must invade Europe and fight NATO to a standstill... And the only way NATO can prevent that from happening is to reinforce their forces with convoys from the US and other countries.
You are in command of one of the US attack submarines. You must hold the ocean against the Soviet navy at all costs, or the land battle will go badly. Part submarine simulator, part dynamic campaign, and part WW3 simulation, Red Storm Rising is an amazing look at modern warfare.
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Cancelled Spectrum version
All 3 of the UK's major Spectrum magazines (Sinclair User, Crash! and Your Sinclair) mentioned (over an 18-month period) that a Spectrum version was due, but there's no evidence of it having been finished or released.
Most people know that in *our* universe, history recorded the collapse of the Soviet Union in August 1991. Therefore, a few of the weapons that are described in the game as eventually becoming available to the US, were weapons that never became available in real life -- both because it seemed the major threat had disappeared, and because the absence of that threat made it it harder to persuade people to spend money on these expensive weapon systems.
• The Sea Lance program, including the version that carried a Mark 50 torpedo, was cancelled in 1990. Some were built, but none ever entered service. Its other version would have replaced the existing ASROC and would have carried a nuclear depth charge, but these were never even built.
• So far, the US has never had a system to fire anti-aircraft missiles out of a magazine in the "sail" (conning tower) of a submarine, and there has never been any magazine there for them to come out of, much less one that could hold twelve shots. At a guess, the most likely explanation would be that when this game was made, such a system was projected for the future. The British once ran experiments with a single-shot version of this idea, though -- it fired the Blowpipe missile, which was like the Stinger, but much older and cruder.
All of the other weapons systems, including all the upgrades to the Mark 48 ADCAP torpedo, happened the same in real life as they did in the game.
The game actually has FOUR mode, theorizing the the actual time of the conflict. The book was written with the technology of 1988, but you can play the game in 1984, 1988, 1992, or 1996 respectively, with different orders of battle.
While based on the submarine ops in the novel, the game actually lets you play out the naval conflict both BEFORE the novel's date (about 1984), which affects equipment availability for both sides. For example, in 1980 US mainly has older subs, but the Soviets haven't gotten any of the "stolen" tech yet. By 1988 and 1992 newer US technology like Tomahawk missiles and Sea Lance torpedo came into service, but Soviet navy grew and their latest subs are MUCH quieter.
In 1988, the Russian SIERRA and KILO subs enter service, and more ships get tech upgrades. The US gets Tomahawk missile and the Mk48 ADCAP torpedo.
In 1992, the Russians gets the Kuznetzov nuclear aircraft carrier with more tech upgrades for the other ships. The US gets Sea Lance AWS missile and Stinger SAM mast.
In 1996, almost all Russian ships get tech upgrades, and they also get more ships. For the NATO side, the Seawolf-class sub enters service with the silent "swim-out" Mk. 48 torpedo.
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- Amiga Joker
- Issue 01/1991 – #4 Best Simulation Game in 1990
- Computer Gaming World
- November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) – #39 in the “150 Best Games of All Time” list
- November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) – #8 Most Rewarding Ending of All Time