• Graphics
  • Sound
  • Playability
  • Lastability
FormatCommodore 64
DeveloperThe New Dimension
Price£3.99 cassette
£8.99 disk
ReviewPaul and Andy

Main review

After receiving this to review I noticed there were two versions, a tape version and a disk version, so I will give each one a play. My overall and conclusion will be based on the game as a whole. The tape version uses Paul Hughes’ “Freeloader” which gives it that professional edge, although I was a bit surprised when the nice music just stopped, rather than fading off; the game loaded in 114 counts in all… and has adverts – I hope Richard is on commission for this! The disk version loads a menu that allows the loading picture, introduction and game itself to be loaded (each will load the next after selection) as well as some “extras” such as Sub Hunt 20, the conversion of the VIC 20 original that started the Sub Hunter project, and Sub Duel, a simple two player shoot out.

Loading the game itself, the title graphics look nice from the off, I do like the ripple effect on the title logo and the music is very catchy – pressing fire (and again to get past the “get ready” screen that doesn’t cancel itself) to see how the game plays… and ooh it goes right to left, different I suppose to most of the games! The screen is nicely laid out but to begin with I wasn’t sure what was going on; initially I shot at everything coming towards me and had run out of oxygen a few times before accidentally discovering that the little men could be collected.


After I managed to save the required swimmers in order to continue to level 2, where the objective is to destroy groups of fish; it’s a different layout and approach, I’m not sure that I like that or the third stage rescuing divers trapped on the sea bed… and I’d definitely take this Sub back, doesn’t always move how I want it to! So I get to the next level and am treated to new graphics on the enemies; it seems that level 11 is the “shark attack” stage but I’m not sure that this game is pulling me in enough to battle through, especially since the stages start to repeat before that point.

I’d have to say that this is a game which appeals to people who don’t like to lose, and have a lot of patience; as for myself, if I was perusing an online store or even a shop with shelves of games, in little plastic cases (I digress and doesn’t that bring back lots of memories) and saw this particular game for £3.99, Sub Hunter probably wouldn’t be the one for me I’m afraid. Overall, the game is well presented and looks professional enough, there are a few little niggles (but no game can be perfect) and, comparing to some of the releases back in the 1980’s, it does shine. Overall I think this game is a bit like a Guinness it’s an acquired taste and there will be some people who like it, others that don’t.

Second opinion

Okay, I’ll admit it – I have given Richard Bayliss (The New Dimension) games a bit of a pasting in the past. Usually, his games are simple, poorly programmed and buggy; they just about possess passable graphics and sound. Worst of all, however, his games generally use the same game engine over and over; there’s nothing new, no breakthrough, there is nothing to differentiate one game from the next, other than a new colourful title screen and another nauseating electro-bop soundtrack.

But Sub Hunter is different. Fortunately, Richard has had Oldschool Gaming‘s one and only Frank “Enigma” Gasking working on this game with him and it seems that Frank has been a good influence, pushing Richard to work hard on new features (well, they’re new to Richard), eliminating bugs and properly playtesting the game until it is actually [shocked gasp] “ready” to be released!

And what of the game? Well, it’s only a simple horizontal (or vertical depending on the stage being played) underwater shooter but it’s easy to control and actually fun to play. The graphics are really well drawn, particularly the bitmaps, and there is some really nice parallax background scrolling in there as well. The music is simply sublime, coming from Maniacs of Noise “Jedi Master” Thomas “Drax” Mogensen. Add in an excellent little intro story and satisfying ending sequence and you have a really tidy little package on offer and I’m thinking that, in the past, the budget companies like Mastertronic and Codemasters would have been falling over themselves to slap their names and gaudy logos on this production!

And back to the world sport of Bayliss bashing. I’m going to have to eat crow on this one and give credit where credit is due; yes, I have read comments online about the “standard” (or lack thereof) of the underlying code, but on this occasion it just doesn’t show and everything hangs together sweetly. Sub Hunter is not going to hold your attention for hours at a time but as an enjoyable, speedy blast it can’t really be faulted – this game is a fine release and comes recommended.