September 2018 – Hunt For the Red October (1991)


 Awesome! We get to play a spooky October-Halloweeny type game for September. Wait, it’s a game based off a movie based off a Tom Clancy book? Well shucks. It’s definitely a weird pick by Chris Tuttle, who had this to say about the game.

Looking back on it, it’s strange that little 9 year old Chris would choose Hunt for the Red October as one of my few gameboy games to own. I don’t think I had heard of the movie and I definitely hadn’t read the book. Tom Clancy, Sean Connery, and Alec Baldwin would have been completely meaningless to me at that age. So what drew me to purchase that game over any of the many others available at the Sears or Macy’s video game department?
I think it was the submarine. In the early 90s I wasn’t logging onto GiantBomb or even reading video game magazines to get reviews of games before buying them. All I had to go on was the cover art, and maybe one or two tiny screenshots on the back, depending on how patient the store clerk was to pull boxes out of a locked glass case for me. The red and black submarine on the box cover must have just called out to me as “cool”.
The game was hard, or I wasn’t coordinated enough for it. I remember playing it a lot, but only the first and second level. That’s  something of a recurring theme with the games I played as a kid, and without any FAQ or game guide, once I was stuck, I stayed stuck. Speaking of which, let me know when Yokoi Kids gets to Attack of the Killer Tomatoes. I didn’t have any strategy for taking out other subs vs boats vs planes, and just relied on reflexes to dodge and shoot. That probably has a lot to do with why my entire game experience for this was about a level and a half.
At some point I must have talked about this game with my Dad because I remember him telling me about the Caterpillar Drive and how it made the Red October a near-undefeatable super sub because it was invisible to radar. In the game, this translates to a somewhat mediocre temporary power-up,  which is something I feel was done a lot converting fictional power fantasies into playable video games. Why would extending Wolverine’s claws drain his energy!?
Anyway, I’m excited for this opportunity to go back and revisit a childhood favorite to see if it holds up to my memory as a challenging but fair game or if it’s a broken frustrating mess. I hope you Kids enjoy!
Lucky for you folks this game is extremely cheap and it’s the Tubthumping of Gameboy games. No, not because it’s awesome. Because you can basically find it everywhere. I see this game in every used Gameboy game shelf. Get it and talk about it why don’t ya? –RV

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