Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Hunting In Silence

Oh dear god, why did I have to start playing Silent Hunter again? Why must I punish myself?

Silent Hunter is a series of WW2 submarine simulators, occasionally hideously difficult to get used to. Sometimes like Flight Sim under the sea. With torpedoes.

The specific game in question this time is Wolves of the Pacific, with the U-Boat Missions expansion. I decided "it won't be as bad as last time, just ease yourself in with the Sub School, remind yourself how to play". Navigation is fluid as it always was, and clunky enough to mirror a real sub... Making close-range evasion or hunting exceedingly difficult and tense. Likewise, deck-gunning is the same as it always was, even though it took around half an hour to shoot down all the enemy planes, due to my appalling aim and misjudging how long the cannons would take to reload. Sinking ships with the deck cannon is still good fun and easy to do though.

Then we come to torpedoes. I swear I'm getting better, but I'm still missing spectacularly. Even once firing one from the wrong end of the sub, in the wrong direction.

I start up a career as an American Captain, with a Porpoise class, my home at Pearl Harbour. My first mission (which are random each time) seems easy enough: "Patrol off the Philippines". Then I realise Pearl Harbour is friggin' hundreds of miles away from where I need to be. Putting it mildly. I buggered off and made a sandwich while my sub crawled it's way to where I wanted to be.

10 minutes later, we get there, and I immediately need to make an emergency dive to avoid powering straight into a warship. It noticed me (funny that, "Oh, what's that thing powering towards us over there? It looks a bit funny... Can you hear someone screaming 'dive'? OH GOD!"), and had begun to fire depth charges at me. 5 minutes of panicking and evasive manoeuvres followed, at the end of which, I was in the optimum 90 degree angle to fire my torpedoes. Of the 12(!) I fired, two hit, in the centre of the ship. A bit like decapitating a wasp, it only seemed to make the crew angry. It's engines crapped out a minute after the impact, and they resolved to spunking all of their cannon ammo on trying to hit me. While I was at the bottom of the sea. Yeah, I don't know how they thought they'd manage it anyway.When it was safe, I decided to surface and use my own cannon. And fail, over 500 shells, to sink the warship. I hit it numerous times, but it just wouldn't sink. I got pissed and tried to ram it. That worked, but killed several members of my crew and caused silly amounts of damage to my prow.

I can only conclude, that I would be the worst Ace in existence. I can't sink anything smaller than an aircraft carrier.

Seriously, play this game. Any one in the series. I can guarantee that you'll be better than me.

Until next time!



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