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    Destroyer Command
    Author: Aaron Dahlen
    Date Posted: March 14th, 2002
    SLRating: SLRating: 4/10
    Bottom Line: Given the chance to introduce some interesting strategy elements into a simulation, SSI has disappointed us with Destroyer Command. It offers few, if any, redeeming qualities even for fanatics of the genre.
    Pages: 1 2 3
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    A series of five training missions introduces you to Destroyer Command. Step-by-step instructions are supposed to be provided in the manual, except there are horrible inconsistencies between the actual missions and the instructions. Still, they are moderately helpful, albeit poorly done. They give you a chance to take on enemies that don't sink you before you're face to face with a U-boat in the middle of the Pacific.

    Numerous screens accessible by the F keys represent different stations on the destroyer, which can be set to manual mode when you want to do the nitty-gritty yourself, or automatic when you want other members of your crew to run things. However, each of these screens provides very little control, such as launching a salvo of torpedoes, when you could use the tactical map to control all of these aspects of your ship. Truly, the tactical map is actually a great tool and renders almost all of the other stations completely pointless. From there you can set waypoints without having to adjust manually the rudder, specify different types of attacks and alerts, establish formations, and more.


    Because hundreds of miles must be traversed during the course of a mission, the developers were wise to make time compression a prominent feature in the game. You can pause the game or watch time pass at as much as 2048x its normal rate. You'll be to Japan from the Philippines in no time. I have to admit that it's kind of fun to watch the icons of your vessels scurry across the screen at a rapid pace, and then bring them to a crawl just before you're ready to open fire on your opponent's fleet.

    Simulations are made and broken based on their AI. They must recreate as closely as possible the opposition given by human enemies and allies. To be honest, Destroyer Command's AI is laughable. Friendly ships will plow into each other and launch torpedoes into each other's hulls. Your fellow destroyers will run themselves aground without question, as if they didn't notice North America coming up rather quickly on the starboard side. It's embarrassing to watch one of the members of your fleet damage itself by smashing into the side of sinking wreckage that it had just launched an attack on minutes earlier. Your opponents are no more intelligent, so not to worry. You can effectively damage enemy submarines by plowing into them. Somehow they don't understand the concept of diving beneath the water when a destroyer is just a few hundred yards away headed toward them at 25 knots. Instead they'd rather try and get off one or two easily avoidable torpedo launches than sneak beneath the waves.


    As I described before, destroyers in World War II were tasked with taking on many different targets. Manning the anti-aircraft guns could have been a worthwhile component of the game, if it weren't for some gaping flaws. For instance, the mouse sensitivity when operating these weapons is next to nothing, making it hard to track planes across the sky. At least it's simple to switch from one gun on your ship to another to continue following the target.

    Especially in World War II, most of the challenge in naval warfare was to determine the location of your target. This is what takes the replayability out of Destroyer Command. After you've played a mission once, you know where the submarines are waiting for you, what the patrol routes of other destroyers are, and so on. A good multiplayer component might have made this forgivable, but unfortunately that is also lacking.

    Multiplayer is available through Ubi Soft's, but we never found enough people there to make it a viable option. Not only this, but you can't play against owners of Silent Hunter II as was promised months ago when the game was announced as the counterpart to Silent Hunter II. The manual refers you to a PDF on the CD for multiplayer instructions, where it talks about Silent Hunter II compatibility as if it were part of the game from square one. But perhaps the most frustrating problem with the multiplayer is that the speed at which the game is played is based upon the lowest common denominator of the participants. So a newbie who hasn't even used the time compression feature can make things progress at a snail's pace for hours.

    Pros & Cons/Conclusion Go the the next page
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    1. It'll Join The Titanic/Visuals/Sound
    2. Gameplay
    3. Pros & Cons/Conclusion

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