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GATO is a real-time 3D submarine simulation game, where the player is a commander of a United States submarine in the Pacific Ocean during World War II against Japanese warships. Gameplay consists of missions where the primary directive is to navigate the submarine to track and intercept (multiple) enemy warships (patrol boats, destroyers, etc.) on the randomly created map (which consists of randomly placed islands) and close in for the kill with torpedoes.

Combat itself consists of a direct visual of enemy ships (via periscope) and firing torpedoes at the correct angle to ultimately sink the ship. Be warned that although the player has the element of surprise of a submerged vessel, enemy ships will return fire. When all hell breaks loose, a disclosed submarine is a sitting duck to Japanese guns. Be prepared to direct the damage control team to fix up the damaged submarine when under fire. The mission ends when the player has successfully eliminated all targets on the map.


GATO Atari ST The title screen.
GATO DOS The main game menu.
GATO Atari 8-bit The damage control screen.
GATO Atari ST The enemies profile.

Promo Images

There are no promo images for this game

Alternate Titles

  • "GATO: WWII GATO-Class Submarine Simulation" -- Tag-lined title

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User Reviews

I like this one even better than "Silent Service" or "Das Boot"... DOS Gothicgene (83)
If you want a sub-sim and still possess a clunker (i.e., 286 or earlier), then this is the game for you. DOS Spectre (129)

Critic Reviews

Computer Gaming World (CGW) Apple II Nov, 1991 1.5 Stars1.5 Stars1.5 Stars1.5 Stars1.5 Stars 30
Computer Gaming World (CGW) DOS Nov, 1991 1 Stars1 Stars1 Stars1 Stars1 Stars 20
The Video Game Critic Atari 8-bit Jan 25, 2008 F 0
Computer Gaming World (CGW) DOS Apr, 1985 Unscored Unscored


Topic # Posts Last Post
manual or quick-reference card? 2 Indra was here (20905)
Jan 09, 2015


Cancelled ports

A port to the 7800 system was evaluated by Atari, and several prototypes have been found, though they show only a series of still renditions of various screens in the game.

Macintosh version

While the original GATO was written in BASIC for DOS computers, the Macintosh version was written from scratch in C and designed from scratch to take advantage of the Macintosh user interface. The authors of the Mac version (Bill Scott, James Rhodes and Sean Hill) used MacPaint to create all of the game graphics and MacDraw to generate the ship shapes.


The highest difficulty levels of the game cause the opening mission briefing to be rendered *only* as Morse Code, forcing the player to decode it himself in real-time.


The DOS version features a Run Speed parameter which you can change to run the game at "0", or 8088 speed, "1", or Compaq Deskpro speed (80286), or "2.5" (PCAT and AT&T 8086).


GATO was written in basic and compiled to an executable. You can tell this because all of the sprites used in the game are flashed onto the screen in a rapid order before the game starts. This is common in basic games that use PUT and GET commands for sprite manipulation. Each sprite has to be on the screen and then GETed into a data array before it can be referenced as a sprite later on in the game.

The sprites were stored as a series of relative directions -- up two pixels, left 7 pixels, draw filled circle at x,y, etc. -- so they took up less space. So they had to be drawn as well as GET'd. Another way to verify if a game was compiled BASIC was to search for BASIC keywords and errors; the string "RETURN without GOSUB" was found in GATO.EXE)


Gato is a class of the US "fleet" type long-range recon submarines. The most famous of which (in real life) is USS Wahoo.

Information also contributed by Игги Друге, Bill Scott, jeff leyda, Kasey Chang and WizardX

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Contributed to by Corn Popper (69203), ClydeFrog (10541), Raphael (1261), Kabushi (239282) and Martin Smith (67248)