Hunt for Red October review - Nintendo Entertainment System
You're in command of the most advanced Russian submarine in service today - the Typhoon-class Red October. Carrying a massive complement of missiles along with a near-impregnable layer of defensive armour, the Red October is the most feared sea-faring vessel in the world. But what really gives it its edge is the use of the Cavitation Device - a piece of equipment that makes the sub invisible to all forms of radar.
As commander of the Red October, you are extremely worried about how the powers-that-be plan to use your vessel. So you decide to defect to the West, taking the hi-tech sub with you! Understandably, your Russian commanders are more than a bit concerned about this move and decide to dispatch their entire sea-faring fleet to blow you out of the water.
As you've probably guessed from examining the screenshots, The Hunt for Red October is a horizontally scrolling shoot 'em up, with you piloting the ship through many levels of sub-aqua excitement, pitting your wits against the entire Russian navy. Adding to the already considerable problems are a number of deadly obstacles submerged in the deep - look out for sub-aqua mines and steel walls that spring out from nowhere. Contact with any of these hazards results in the loss of some of the Red October's armour - and when all of that has gone, it's goodnight Vienna.
What the Mean Machines staff thought
What a shame. Behind the supremely ghastly, deformed graphics and absolutely abominable sound is a pretty decent shoot 'em up desperately trying to get out. It's a tricky and challenging game, with hectic action as you battle through fleets of enemy ships and dodge swarms of missiles. But the problem is that the graphics and sound are so utterly, utterly bad that it really ruins the atmosphere and enjoyment of the game. Had there been better audio/visuals, I think Hunt for Red October could have been great. As it stands, though, its horrible looks and sounds will put most players off.
Basically, the programmers have converted a brill suspense thriller movie into an average horizontally scrolling shoot 'em up. The game itself plays quite nicely, with a good sense of underwater inertia on the sub and high compulsion to complete a level. Unfortunately, the game is ruined by two factors. The first thing to really put you off is the completely awful "soundtrack" that accompanies the proceedings. This sad, booming, jarring musical monstrosity sounds like some kind of retarded animal let loose on a Stylophone. The game is also let down by appalling graphics. Indistinct sprites, coupled with childish, blocky graphics do nothing for the game at all. Perhaps if the game had graphics and sound that were up to the quality of the Gameboy version, we might have received this game more favourably. As it is, you can't help but feel saddened at the great waste of potential.