Silent Hunter ll

Ever wondered what it would be like to command a U-boat deep in the Atlantic during World War ll? No, me neither. For those with a penchant, the Web site www.subsim.com should satisfy most needs. Such wannabe underwater skippers - all three of them - probably can't wait to get their paws on this aqua-driven combat simulation. I wish I shared their enthusiasm.

It's not that developer Aeon Electronic Entertainment hasn't made every effort to make this game as realistic and enjoyable as possible for the initiated few. Attention to detail in this strategy-based sim is excellent. The models and control systems are near perfect replications of World War ll subs and there are varying levels of difficulty. Should you wish to enter the advanced level, you'll find that the real-time weather systems affect navigation, while the AI (artificial intelligence) of opposing forces is unforgiving in the heat of battle. The icons at the bottom of the screen are easy to follow and players are prompted by a comedy German voice-over to keep in line with their missions.

Except for the ham German accent, Silent Hunter II is unremittingly realistic - and therein lies the problem. You can only do so much in a submerged hulk stalking various naval forces. It's probably about as good as a submarine simulation can get, but it's never going to be the last word in sim excitement. nPublisher: Ubi Soft.

Developer: Ultimation.

URL: www.silenthunterii.com.

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