The definative submarine simulation
Outstanding gameplay, ocean graphics, and sounds. The asdic "pings" will raise the hair on the back of your neck! As will the ever increasing whirr of the escort ships' propellers as they pass over your u-boat. Then comes the inevitable "splash" of the depth charges! Sink a ship while submerged, and you'll hear eerie creaking and groaning sounds of her bulkheads collapsing as she sinks. Iv'e played all the submarine simulations out there, and nothing even comes close to the level of submersion (pardon the pun) AOD thrusts the player into. There are few easy kills in this game, rarely will you find an unescorted convoy. On the expert difficulty setting, the game is extremely challenging. The quality of the escorts improves greatly starting around mid 1942. Escaping the DC attacks is very challenging; and if they inflict damage while your'e at 700 ft, it's generally curtains for you. The enemy ai is truly pro-active. If you play the campaign game, starting in October 1939, plan to be playing a long time. There is a strategic map (stretching from the eastern coast of N.America to Greenland in the north, Africa and S. America down south, and encompassing all of Europe and part of western USSR. Most of these continents will have some coastal airbases (Allied nations), naval bases, (Axis and Allies), or submarine ports. (Axis). The tactical map, is used as a battle map. Each map has standard zoom features and time compression features (thank God!).
It can take forever and a day to reach your patrol zone. Even though the max time compression multiple is 4096, quite often the computer will slow you down to a max of 150 or so. This can go on for 5 or 10 minutes, then it speeds you up again, and so on. Also, there seems to be little difference in the actual patrol zones themselves. Historically, during 1941-42, the u-boats enjoyed some of their greatest success hunting off the eastern US coast. In the game however, you'll spend an eternity sailing to this area to likely find nothing.
The Bottom Line
If you have even a remote interest in the subject matter, give it a shot, you won't be disappointed! The simulation is an intellectual (arcade reflexes won't help much here!) and sensory delight. I can't think of a game that makes me feel more
like I am actually there, participating and sharing the fate of my submarine.