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Rod K. Hopkins
1983
Simulation
£7.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

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96,97
Chris Bourne

Hunter-Killer is a submarine simulation game set off the German Helegoland coast of the North Sea during the Second World War. You are commander of an 'S' type submarine and your mission is to find an enemy submarine in the same area and hunt it down. The coast is heavily mined, so sailing in too close may result in hitting a mine or running aground.

The simulation is quite detailed. Three screens show you the control room, periscope view and chart room. In the control room you can see the ballast tank level indicator, the hydro- plane angle, battery charge, engine speed, rudder angle, heading, torpedoes left, engine warning light, engine indicator, asdic display, echo sounder display, radar display, periscope, and the depth meter. The periscope view shows you the horizon and enemy shipping or aeroplanes if any are about.

Below are indicators for periscope angle (which can be turned in either direction), heading, distance to enemy and torpedoes left. The chart room is accessed by pressing the C key - the control room slides across and is replaced by the charts. Apart from the map, details shown are tide indicator, compass rose, indication of position, minefields, enemy position, speed of submarine and tide strength.

The asdic comes on automatically at a depth of 10 feet or more and you can hear it pinging. On the surface the radar is automatically switched on. It has a range of 22 miles and you can see the sweep of the antenna. Enemy aircraft are hunting for you. If you spend too much time on the surface they will spot you and then a klaxon sounds, giving you only two minutes to dive below 10 feet to safety. All diving and surfacing commands must be carried out properly as in a real submarine.

So too must the firing of torpedoes. Another realistic feature is the use of twin engines, diesel for on the surface and electric for under water. Using the diesel underwater results in damage. If you stay under water too long the electric engine's batteries will run down and require recharging on the surface.

This game can be played with two Spectrums each fitted with Sinclair Interface 1 and their own tv screens.

Then each player has his own submarine and can pit his wits against the other. The game includes instructions for solo and dual play. Timing and synchronisation are obviously very important In this unique mode to avoid error reports popping up.

CRITICISM

'Presentation and packaging is excellent, and the instructions are well thought out. But the trouble with real time simulations is that they are so slow; you can wait ages (i.e. 15 minutes) if the enemy is about 10 miles away, before you reach his last reported position. Overall I did not think too much of this well-boxed submarine simulation.'

'The graphics are very detailed and well laid out. It takes some getting used to all the control keys, and the responses are a little slow, but there is a lot to do to keep the submarine working and functioning safely. If you enjoy real time simulations, then you'll like this - but it isn't for the arcade freak. The game can fake hours to play through. ' 'A nicely presented game, with plenty of instructions. If it's a rainy afternoon, what better than to be underwater? I only felt that the periscope view might have been a bit more detailed, but it must have been tough packing all this into 48K anyway. I seem to remember seeing an ad saying this was £5.99, but it still compares favourably with the usual price for detailed simulations.'

COMMENTS
Keyboard positions: complicated, 18 keys in use
Joystick options: Protek (naturally) or AGF for direction
Keyboard play: slow to react, but hardly essential in a real time game.
Use of colour: good
Graphics: good and detailed, but poorer in periscope
Sound: not much, klaxon, asdic and a nice gurgling if you're hit
Skill levels: 5
Screens: 3
General Rating: Good.

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Screenshot Text

The control room (part seen) is to the left of the map room.