To: Nine year old Chris Re: Hunt for the Red October – Chris Tuttle

Dear Chris,

First off, congratulations on buying this game. You’ve just set off a lifelong love of submarine movies, which there are several of. In fact, I’ve seen so many at this point that they’re really starting to blur together in my mind. That could be because they all seem to repeat similar tropes, or at least to contain similar scenes.

One example is a scene where the sub is lying silently so that an enemy doesn’t detect any sound from them, and all the crewmen are frozen in place, staring quietly at each other while a single pencil rolls off a table.

And they definitely all have a scene where they’re sinking out of control, looking back and forth between the ships pressure rating of 2,500 ft and the current depth gage of 3,300 ft, listening to the sub walls creak and moan. It’s a bit cliche at this point, but man, something about being in a tiny metal pressure cooker at the bottom of the ocean really ramps up the drama and tension.

Anyway, I didn’t create a rift and send a transtemporal personal letter just to discuss movies. I did it to tell you about a Game Boy game, and this game doesn’t contain any of those scenes, so forget all about them. Unless you consider the fact that your sub can only take like 4 hits before it’s destroyed as an accurate depiction of the frailty of underwater battle, in which case, yes, this game is very faithful!

The game itself is tough but overall fair. After the very first engagement with tiny little enemy subs you’ll find yourself thinking “huh, if I have to fight all of these guys with my normal torpedoes, I am going to get killed immediately.” Follow that instinct! Missiles are the way to go. They are your nautical lifeblood. They’re pretty generously dispersed throughout the levels and it only takes one to sink the little guys, so it’s easy to stockpile a dozen or so. But don’t get too miserly with them. You’re constantly just a few shots from death, and when you respawn your missile count goes back to 3. That missile you try to save by getting cute might end up costing you 10.

The only other power-up you can use is kind of the central McGuffin of the movie: the caterpillar drive. This has very limited usefulness. I think whether it works or not is dependent on the AI of what’s attacking you. The tiny subs that just shoot straight torpedoes seem completely unaffected and will continue to attack, even if you’re invisible. The ships and smarter subs do seem blind to you while you have it engaged, but the duration seems a bit random. I have seen a sub drop torpedoes on itself until it exploded while I was using the caterpillar, which is always rewarding to see.

Lastly, stop calling it Hunt for THE Red October. I looked it up. The ‘The’ goes in the beginning, so stop saying that. You’re making us look like a butthead!

So, now the year is 2018 and I’ve had more than 25 years to play this game and hone my skills, I can proudly say that I’ve gotten to… level 6. Yeah, I haven’t beaten this game yet. It’s hard. But good luck, enjoy. Oh, and don’t ask Mom and Dad what the level 3 boss is supposed to be.


Chris Tuttle is a self proclaimed fan of the Yokoi Kids Audio Show. You can check out his twitter HERE

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