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Silent Service II

Moby ID: 261
DOS Specs
Buy on Windows
$6.99 new on Steam

Description official descriptions

World War II is raging. The US has suffered an attack at Pearl Harbor, and most of its battleships are lost. The few remaining US carriers are fighting a desperate war against the Japanese surface fleets. But the US has a secret weapon: sleek, silent, deadly... you are a Submarine Commander!

The action is viewed from within the submarine. Watch out for your speed, direction and depth. This game features 9 types of submarines to choose from, 10 types of torpedoes to fire, 14 Japanese surface ships (9 warships, 5 transport), and the entire Pacific Ocean as your battleground. The seven missions all recreate real US navy engagements. Can you sink the Yamato???

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Credits (DOS version)

28 People (21 developers, 7 thanks) · View all

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 86% (based on 22 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.8 out of 5 (based on 41 ratings with 3 reviews)

A Realistic View from the Bottom of a Periscope

The Good
This game is a realistic picture of American submarine warfare from WW2. The graphics, though primitive by today's standards, are dramatic and engaging, making you feel as though you are there. The boring, tedious aspects of submarine life are compressed in this game, allowing you to concentrate on the actual combat and all the tactical aspects of dealing with the enemy. The nearly infinite tactical situations and players' responses to them are very challenging. Also, i like that the game can be saved at any point. The training scenarios are good for practice and learning how to play the game, even if you don't know much about submarine warfare.

The Bad
Some aspects of the graphics are unrealistic, such as ships that sink flat instead of rolling or pitching up bow or stern first. Also, when destroyers make a sharp turn, their wakes project straight back like a headlight beam on the back. In addition, the dialog response box (response to an order) will occasionally disappear and the game has to be restarted to restore it. Missing from this game is having to deal with enemy aircraft attacks.

The Bottom Line
A realistic but fun approach to dealing with American submarine warfare of WW2, but without the tediousness of some other games. Joystick is useful, but not required. It's a good game for laptops, if you have DOS 6.22 (it does not seem to like any version of Windows DOS prompts).

DOS · by John Schall (3) · 2003

Play a US sub commander fighting the japs in WWII. One of my all-time favourite games.

The Good
There's quite a bit to master in this game. Fortunately, it holds your interest from the beginning and as you start to master the controls it becomes more fun still. As you get better, you can crank up the difficulty level, which gives the game plenty of longevity. I never actually played at the hardest difficulty level - the second toughest was more than hard enough for my taste.

This game really does give you a taste of what it must have been like to be a submariner. You get a variety of different historical subs to choose from at the start of each voyage, and the available models get better as the war goes on.

After choosing your sub, you go to the strategy map and pick an area of operations. Eventually, you will make contact with an enemy ship whereupon you are taken to the tactical map, where most of the gameplay takes place.

When you drop into the tactical map, you will find varying weather conditions and time of day. It might be night, or dusk, or day. The water might be shallow or deep. The visibility may be anything from excellent to poor. Good visibility is a disadvantage because the enemy may see your periscope or even your boat if it is close enough, and attack you or run away. Shallow water is also bad news.

The contact might be one you can take advantage of or not. It might be with a single ship or an entire convoy. The target might be moving slow or fast, and zigzagging with great professionalism or in an easily predictable pattern. When the target gets close enough, you zoom in on the tactical map for the actual battle. Don't forget to do this! Being at the right zoom level is an important skill to develop.

Although most of the convoys you meet are merchant convoys, often with a destroyer escort of variable skill, you sometimes "hit the jackpot" with a naval convoy including cruisers, battleships, and occasionally the biggest prize of them all, a flattop. You won't have any trouble deciding how many tubes to fire when a flattop is in your sights!

Getting into position to attack a naval convoy is often quite difficult, so it's incredibly exciting when you manage to get yourself into an attack position. You sit and wait until the target is within optimum range and then let fly. Sometimes the convoy will zag just before you let fly and you have to do a quick re-adjust and make the best of the opportunity before it slips away. Other times, the destroyer escort will detect you before you can attack and then you have to dive and get away as quick as possible!

If you're skilled, you can often manage to sink several ships in a convoy with quick maneouvreing and the use of both forward and aft torpedo tubes.

As soon as you have fired your torpedoes, you will usually have to dive, dive, dive and try to get out of there quick! Trying to escape a bunch of destroyers bent on revenge can be very difficult and take a lot of skill and time, especially at the harder difficulty levels.

You can attack using your periscope and the built-in analog "computer" (yes, WWII US subs really had them), or you can do it by eye, estimating the speed of the oncoming ship and your own angle of fire.

As my skill increased, I abandoned the use of the computer and ran my attacks by eye. The trick is to set your torpedoes to run straight and then simply maneouvre your sub to the desired attack angle. There are a couple of huge advantages to attacking this way, first that it's quicker and second, very importantly, that you can attack from below periscope depth. That means the enemy can't see your periscope or your boat as he approaches the kill zone, and also that you are already deep and don't have to crash dive. But as I say, this is something that requires skill which you can only develop over time.

Destroyers are your worst enemies, my favourite tactic in dealing with them when they attack is to line up the sub in the same line as the enemy line of attack and then fire one or two torpedoes at minimum range. If you fire a fraction too early, those nimble little destroyers will dodge out of the torp's way, if you fire too late, your torpedo won't arm and will not explode. Torpedoes travelled about five hundred yards before they armed, so taking into account the speed of the boat charging you, you have to fire when they are further away than that. The right time to fire against a destroyer coming at you full speed is when it is about 800-1000 yards away, which is a small window of opportunity.

I neglected to mention, that you can also attack on the surface using your deck gun instead of with torps. The deck gun can also be useful for finishing ships off, of for slowing down a fleeing ship so you can get into torpedo range.

Usually you would only attack a merchant ship this way, and even then there are dangers involved as the merchant might be a "Q" ship with hidden armament of its own. Deck gun attacks are something of a game in themselves and it's pretty hard to win artillery duels, so if a ship starts shooting back at you, my advice is just to dive!

In summary, heaps of tension in this game and the "immersion factor" (no pun intended) is high. One of my all-time favourite games, but like all games, you will eventually exhaust its possibilities. If you are anything like me, it will keep you on the edge of your chair for many weeks before that happens.

Damn I'd love to see an updated version of this game.

The Bad
The graphics are pretty basic, except for the cut-shots. But then, you will soon want to turn them off after viewing them a few times, because they get in the way of the gameplay. It takes a while to learn all the controls. Be sure to take note of the method of speeding up the game in the zoomed out tactical map because otherwise it can take ages to get into position to mount an attack.

The Bottom Line
If you like military simulations, you should love this. Great fun, and a slice of history to boot.

Amiga · by joe bloggs (3) · 2004

One hell of a submarine sim!

The Good
Maybe the notorious nostalgia just grabbed me, but I like pretty much everything about this game..The gameplay is great, the graphics are damn good (for its time) and you get to slither silently up to ships and blow them up! In other words, a great mix of action and simulation (aswell as tension), all of which makes up yet another great MicroProse title...

The Bad
It might get somewhat boring after you've sunk every ship in the Japanase fleet twice, but who cares about such minor complaints?

The Bottom Line
A classic sequel to a classic submarine simulation. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to torpedo something.

DOS · by faceless (438) · 2000

Trivia

DOS backup disks

Additional Packaging in the DOS version of the game includes offers to send away to Microprose for either a set of backup disks for the game (with proof of purchase) or a Tandy 1000 keyboard overlay for nothing more than the cost of postage.

Awards

  • ST Format
    • January 1993 (issue #42) - #44 in '50 finest Atari ST games of all time' list

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Raphael.

Macintosh, Linux, Windows added by Rik Hideto. Amiga added by NH. Atari ST added by ektoutie.

Additional contributors: Shoddyan, Jo ST.

Game added September 2, 1999. Last modified May 18, 2024.