Wolfpack and Bonus Missions
Wolfpack holds its own today, as much as SSN-21 Seawolf or Command Aces. The mouse-directed interface is nicely arranged on a single screen and is clear and concise. The game gives you a real sense of "being there" just as Aces of the Deep did. Wolfpack includes the essentials for the perfect subsim: attention to detail, historical accuracy, and the opportunity to master the sub or the convoy.
The most novel feature of Wolfpack is the sim allows a player to command an entire side of ships, both as a theater commander and individual ship captain. You may choose to command a wolfpack or a convoy. The program allows you to make course and depth changes, fire weapons, and maneuver a sub, then jump to another sub in the pack and work it as well. Your tactics can be employed among one, two, or more U-boats, whatever size you consider a wolfpack to be. If you choose to command the convoy, you work the helm of the merchants and escorts in the same manner, skipping from the bridge of one to another. The escorts are natural U-boat hunters. You conn them around the convoy, looking for a subtle grey speck that would be a periscope. Using passive sonar, your message box will alert you to the presence of U-boat screws nearby. Then you let loose with the depth charges and maneuver for another run. Skip over to other destroyers and vector them in for the kill. Once the Brits come through with ASDIC or sonar, you can achieve results much easier. From mid-war on, you can launch hedgehogs and more powerful DCs, with staggering accuracy.
The basic gameplay elements are genuine history. Getting to know your capabilities means getting to know the vessels you command and the time frame in which your game takes place. Certain technologies aren't available until the historically proper year, which gives the combatants their advantages/disadvantages accurately. Destroyers don't have active sonar in 1939, so the wolfpack has almost a free reign. As the war progresses, however, the surface vessels quickly gain the edge. With greater speed and tracking gear, destroyers can run circles around the submerged U-boats. The program offers a good variety of platforms, especially the U-boats. Type VII, IX, XXI, and Milche Cows are available.
Wolfpack includes a good number of canned missions plus a scenario editor. You can create an Atlantic Battle or Mediterranean Melee of your own design. Assign roles and routes to the surface ships and place U-boats in the area. Each ship or boat can be assigned computer captains who have names and varying personalities, from aggressive to cautious. Wolfpack even allows two players to compete on the same PC in a turn-based style.
Wolfpack doesn't have true multi-player capability. Not many, if any, sims did when Wolfpack was released, way back in 1990. But the concept is what I've been looking for in a naval/sub sim: interplay between surface and sub players.