Silent Hunter III

It took the better part of a day for me to fire my first honest-to-God, non-training mode torpedo, and it came as welcome relief. Except for the bit when it just bounced harmlessly off the target's bow - just another dud in a war full of the buggers. I nearly didn't go back to Silent Hunter III after that, although it would have been my loss rather than the game's fault, since SHIII is a much-needed shot of claustrophobic goodness in a flagging genre.

The amount of care and detail lavished on this (from the cheering crowds as you leave dock to the sausages and bananas hanging from the sub's interior ceiling beams) is phenomenal - it could so easily have been a half-hearted rushed job for a limited audience. There's a touch of redundancy about the 3D interiors - full FPS-style 3D would have been welcome, rather than the Myst-style click-and-move on offer - especially since hotkeys take you instantly to any station you need. Otherwise though, it's a beautifully tense and atmospheric trip into the world of WWII U-boats. Even multiplayer works a treat, with multiple subs acting as a wolfpack, or just disregarding the war and torpedoing the hell out of each other for kicks.


The AI puts up a good fight at the higher realism settings, and should you wish to throw caution to the wind and try manual torpedo solutions, you'll either be in maths heaven, or find your brain oozing from your ears (or both). Don't worry - it's a lot more fun than it sounds.

The verdict

Makes a big splash

Sim / Strategy