The hunt was on in 1976’s Sea Wolf, a submarine simulator with realistic sounds (explosions, sonar pings, buzzing motors and more) and a rotating periscope.
Somewhere deep in enemy waters, your sub hunted down freighters, warships and speedy PT boats with stealthy, deadly precision, dispatching your torpedoes with the touch of a button.
As seen through your periscope viewer, a variety of ships passed by in the waters overhead (made blue by a screen overlay). A targeting crosshair let you get your mark in sight, then a thumb button unleashed propeller-driven death.
A successful hit resulted in a display of flashing lights and exploding sound, letting you know the enemy had been sunk. The only obstacles to your mission were the undersea mines, which blocked your torpedoes’ path and caused them to explode harmlessly.
Both supplies and time were limited, so you had to be a pretty good shot if you wanted to win an extended play. After every five torpedoes, a red “RELOAD” message flashed in your viewer, and precious seconds were lost.
Apart from the obvious kicks of blowing stuff up, Sea Wolf won players over by completely immersing them in its environment, drowning out the outside, surface world. The clever set-up helped Sea Wolf score a big success in arcades, leading to a sequel in 1978.
Sea Wolf II introduced two new elements to the tried-and-true formula: two-player action and simple colour. The new cabinets housed dual periscopes, allowing two commanders to compete against each other for naval supremacy.
Both shot at the same enemies, including the ultra-fast new ‘Super-Sub’. To keep the different players straight, player one’s torpedoes were yellow and player two’s were red.
Aside from those major changes, the game remained the same, and the hunt continued.