The last good naval sim I played was Task Force 1942 from Microprose. I wish someone would develop a naval sim with today’s sound and graphics based on that fine sim. I ca no longer run it, but it was one of my favorites. The only thing lacking from it was aircraft. Anyway, back to the game at hand.Destroyer Command (DC) was developed by Ultimation. They created DC to run simultaneously with Silent Hunter 2. A feat that was promised by the Falcon 3.0 team with it’s Electronic Battlefield System, but never fully realized. It’s not fully realized here! I’m reviewing the game right out of the box without any patches applied and the game doesn’t work as advertised, a growing problem in the world of PC gaming. The game was also released with some game stopping bugs as well, including the dreaded “ship viewer” bug. But in all fairness, Ultimation has released some patches and the gaming community has released some game enhancing mods as well (a growing trend in the PC gaming community).The single-player game is not that bad on the surface. Good ship graphics with a maximum resolution of 1024x728x32, much better than Silent Hunter’s 800×600 maximum resolution. I just love the way the ships bounce through the waves and swells of the sometimes hazy and turbulent oceans. Smoke effects are done quite well too. The smoke from burning hulks on the horizon are quite convincing also! Damage effects could be spruced up a bit though. The game offers plenty of stations and screens to look at and operate. You can man any of the ships sensors, including the now (by today’s standards) primitive radar station, you can control the engines individually among other things. You can man the torpedo station as well as take control of any of the ship’s guns. You’ll play most of the game on the 2D tactical map, which renders most of the stations useless though. This is one of the game’s biggest disappointments. This is one of the problems I had with Interplay’s Klingon Academy. I mean what’s the point in making all of the stations if you don’t use them to some degree. Almost all the game’s commands can be accessed and controlled from the 2D tactical map using the “right” mouse button to access various pop-up window orders. All in all though, the graphics and sounds are serviceable.Game play is another issue though. Here’s where it gets tricky. The game campaign takes place over two theaters, the Pacific vs. the Japanese Navy and the Atlantic vs. the European Axis Navies. This in addition to the single historical missions and a quick mission builder. There is no scenario editor to create your own campaigns or missions. With the game’s scripted missions, this doesn’t leave much room for re-playability. I wonder when game companies are going to learn this lesson and give us the means of creating our own missions. The last good editor for a sim in my opinion was for the Janes Fighter Anthology series. The most recent one is the excellent editor released with IL-2 Sturmovik. Aside from the scripting issues, the game does offer a diverse selection of escort, attack, bombardment and sub-hunting missions. Quite honestly, these missions are designed quite well. Multiplayer is almost non-existent with it’s current stability issues. There are plenty of game stopping issues with the game such as ships running aground for no reason, ships not attacking, missions not finishing properly and the all too often colliding ships! It makes the game play frustrating to say the least.It has been a long time in between Naval simulations which is really too bad. Destroyer Command has the potential to become a really good sim but it’s clearly evident that the game was released too early in its current state. Perhaps with a few more patches and a scenario editor this game will give the fans of the genre a worthy simulation to look further too.
Founder and Editor of PC Invasion. Veteran PC gamer of over 22 years.