Silent Service is a warfare submarine simulator designed by legendary Canadian video game creator Sid Meier, known for the acclaimed Sid Meier's Civilization.
Silent Service is a warfare submarine simulator designed by legendary Canadian video game creator Sid Meier, known for the acclaimed Sid Meier's Civilization. The game was published by MicroProse, the company co-founded by Sid Meier, starting from 1985.
The first releases were for the Apple II, Commodore 64, Atari 8-bit, and MS-DOS. Silas Warner, the founder of Muse Software and creator of Castle Wolfenstein, was one of the programmers behind the Amiga version, released a few years later.
Silent Service, whose development took over 8 months, allows the player to sail an American Gato-class submarine.
The name of the release comes from the nickname given to the U.S. and British Navy's submarine forces. In the same way, the inspiration to create it comes from the importance they had in World War II, where they were given back a strategic and offensive role after being used exclusively for reconnaissance missions.
The title shines in several aspects: it has real combat tactics, a very practical approach to the operation of submersibles, and even the implementation of enemies with an AI that adapts to the situation. Besides, along with innovative graphics and a complexity that, at that time, could only be understood by reading a manual, it offers a unique experience regardless of when it is analyzed.
With several possibilities from the beginning, the player has endless options to plan his approach. Throwing oil to pretend your submarine was destroyed, hiding in islands, and swimming to the bottom of the ocean to avoid detection were just a few tactics that players shuffled around.
This is where we see Meier's genius. By that time, the few tactical and camouflage games in circulation punished inefficiency with death. The developer, far from settling for this, saw in the possibility of being discovered an opportunity to increase the player's tension and force him to make quick decisions. In this way, if you are sufficiently attuned and you adapt to what is happening, you can be victorious even if mistakes were made. This brought the quota of realism that other games lacked.
Not only was the game well-received by the critics, who applauded everything mentioned above, but it also gave rise to many other releases of this genre. Because of this, MicroProse took advantage of the momentum to work on the Stealth Fighter series, the latter of which Meier himself was part of the staff.
For all this and much more, Silent Service is a cult classic that laid the foundation for all the stealth titles that followed. It's a hidden gem that one is always on time to dust off.
Review by: Gustavo
Published: 20 March 2020 12:30 pm
Amiga version - Language: English - Size: 3.67 Mb