You sunk my battleship! The beloved classic naval strategy board
game is making a return appearance on the PC thanks to Hasbro
Interactive. It's been a couple of years since the original Battleship
was released and this re-make not only sports a brand new look, it
also offers an all-together unique gaming experience in a freshly
designed arcade version of Battleship. It's no longer as simple as
hunt and seek, it's naval action like you've never seen in
Battleship: Surface Thunder.
Surface Thunder offers two variations of Battleship: Classic and
Arcade. The Classic mode is a direct representation of the
standard board game. You play head-to-head against an opponent
with the objective of locating and destroying each of the five ships
placed within their grid. There are 3 separate grids: 6x6, 8x8 and
10x10. The 10x10 is the standard grid you'd find in the board game,
the other two simply allow for quicker, if not more intense, games
of Battleship. Within the Classic mode, there are three ways to
play Battleship: Classic, Salvo and Volley. In Classic, you shoot
one torpedo per turn to sink the enemy. In Salvo the more ships
you control, the more shots you get. So if your opponent hasn't
sunk any of your ships, you'll get to fire 5 torpedoes every turn. If
you've only got 2 ships left, you'll only fire 2 shots a turn, etc. In
Volley, you get to continuously fire torpedoes until you miss. Each
of these styles was featured in the original Battleship as well, but
they still bring an added dimension to an otherwise
The Arcade mode is a unique take on the Battleship universe. You
navigate a battleship as you progress through a series of missions
with varying goals. Some of the missions will require you to save
people in life rafts, others will request you sink specific enemy
ships, and still others will ask that you destroy various enemy
structures. You'll guide your battleship around various sized maps
as you hunt and seek from a third-person perspective. You can pick
up various weapons such as surface-to-air missiles to destroy
Zeppelins and depth charges to eliminate submarines. There are
also plenty of power-ups placed throughout each area that
replenish health, increase your ship's speed and even give you the
ability to turn into a submarine to avoid above ground structures.
The Arcade mode acts as a game in itself. It's not a very
complicated game, in fact it's quite simply in design, but it still
provides some heart-pounding action at moments. It does an
admirable job capturing the elements of the classic board game in
a unique fashion.
Graphically, Battleship: Surface Thunder is, for the lack of a better
cliché, a mixed bag. Supporting resolutions up to 1024x768, the
level of detail in the Classic mode is relatively poor, or perhaps it's
just that the design is far too simple to be catchy. There were
inexplicable slowdowns in the Classic mode as well. On most
occasions, the torpedoes would launch and reach it's intended
target relatively quickly, but on some instances it slowed to a lull.
On the other hand, the Arcade mode comes across much better in
a visual sense. There's more detail in the ships and structures,
making it easier to distinguish items of importance. Within the
Arcade mode, the effects are relatively generic in terms of
weapon, explosions and other various effects. The landscape isn't
much to ogle at, as many of the environments are simply recycled
with slight alterations such as a night or icy theme. There were
also instances of clipping in the Arcade mode, particular after
picking up a 'speed' power-up. The sound effects are relatively
basic as well, with consequent explosions, foghorn, and bird sounds
sprinkled throughout. Everytime you pick up a life raft, you'll also
hear a cheer from a crowd of people, a particular effect that gets
annoying relatively quickly.
Battleship: Surface Thunder features multiplayer via the Classic
mode, however there is no multiplayer in the Arcade mode.
Battleship supports hot-seat (two players at the same terminal),
Internet and LAN. At this point in time, there is no matchmaking
service available for Surface Thunder, so finding human
opponents might be a bit of an adventure.
Battleship: Surface Thunder is classic naval strategy with a twist.
The entire presentation of the Classic Battleship mode could have
been put together a little better, but the Arcade mode provides a
solid action-packed alternative to the standard board game. It's
nothing hardcore in terms of action, but it's the kind of fun the
entire family can enjoy, so mission accomplished.