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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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    It'll Join The Titanic

    Ultimation and SSI have had worthy PC simulations in the past. Panzer Commander is one of the best tank sims that we've ever seen a product of the work between Ultimation and SSI in 1999. Unfortunately, since the Silent Hunter series was passed on to Ultimation, and they took on the project of the World War II naval combat sim Destroyer Commander, things have gone downhill quickly. I have to warn even hardcore enthusiasts to steer clear of this wreck.

    Destroyer Command places you in command of the smaller ships of World War II, whose job was to take down enemy aircraft, drop depth charges on enemy submarines, attack other small craft such as merchants, and provide cover for capital ships. Your most glamorous weapons are your 5-inch guns, which would be no match for the behemoths on battleships.

    Several things that have been hyped about Destroyer Command are either completely absent or have turned out to be utterly useless. Aside from a few sources of historical information including a tour of an actual destroyer and a vessel identification utility that doesn't even work, there is little reward in the extremely limited gameplay. Your choices include 20-mission Atlantic and Pacific campaigns, some individual missions, and the opportunity to create your own custom mission. It appears that Destroyer Command has become a victim of horrible time constraints. Either that, or the developers mistakenly sent the wrong gold disc to the publishers. The vessel identification utility isn't even mentioned in the manual, so I have no idea what it was supposed to be.



    The graphics of Destroyer Command are one of its better features, but that's not saying much. You can play at either 640x480 or 1024x768 in 16-bit or 32-bit color. At the higher resolution and color depth, with all options from fog to environment mapping turned on, performance is clearly not an issue. Even with a battleship and several other destroyers within view and engaging in a firefight, framerates stay very smooth. That's a plus.

    The water somewhat ripples, but don't expect to see waves with white caps coming toward you as you patrol the seas. The wake behind your ship, which changes with your speed, adds a certain degree of realism. However, lackluster explosions that look like the flash when you first light a campfire, and destroyers that look more like toys than war-faring vessels, are disappointing. When you're not manning them yourself, the anti-aircraft weapons on your destroyer become two-dimensional. And aren't there usually men on these destroyers of World War II? From Destroyer Command, you'd never know it. About the only time the presence of your crew is revealed is when they annoyingly acknowledge the command you've just given, inform you for the 372nd time that "we're in shallow water!" or plea for you to check your fire because you're so fed up with the lack of performance from the other destroyers in your fleet that you've decided to empty your ammo magazines into them instead of the enemy.


    No music enhances the gameplay, which is surprising considering that the music of the frontend is fairly enjoyable. It would've helped set the mood for cruising or for battle, so its absence is a poor decision by the developers. Fortunately, 3D sound is used very effectively. Depth charges explode behind you through the rear speakers and you can recognize the rat-a-tat-tat of your stern anti-aircraft gunners easily.

    Gameplay Go the the next page
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    Article Navigation

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

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