Blast from the past: RAGING THUNDER

Shareware subsim by a solo programmer.

This review was written in 1996; except for the Wayback Machine, this is possibly the only trace of this hobby project subsim.

COMPANY: Craig Buck; shareware
Requirements: 486

Raging Thunder       Raging Thunder is a shareware subsim by a solo programmer, Craig Buck. It features modern sub warfare in four different theaters: Greenland, Australia, European waters, and Bering Straits. The player has the option of 13 different submarines from countries such as the US, Russia, France, UK, and Sweden. The missions can be played in series or separately, at two levels of difficulty.

Your ship is controlled from three main screens in Raging Thunder; the Control Console, which includes the tactical display and Attack Console, the Periscope screen, and the Damage screen. The tactical display offers two overhead chart views. One is the magnify-out view, where the combatants are depicted as small lines, very similar to Silent Service II. The other view is the close-up, or magnify-in view. Here the ocean is graphically represented in gorgeous textures of blue and white. You need to consult this view to determine safe diving depths. Dive too deep over a light blue ridge and you’ll run aground. To effectively launch a warshot, you need to be able to see your adversaries in the magnify-in view as well. Once a vessel appears in this view, you can ID it and line up for a shot. An RT sub makes use of torpedoes, Harpoons and SSN16 Anti-sub missles. To target an enemy, merely line up your sub and shoot. If 688(I)’s realistic TMA station gives you headaches, this may be more to your liking. The ordnance will seek and if in proximity to the target, acquire. Usually two hits are required to take out a warship. Steering is done in 45 degree increments only, so proper alignment does pose a challenge. When the enemy responds with torpedoes of its own, you can launch one or two decoys (that’s all) and evade to a thermal, if the ocean is deep enough. Enemy helicopters are a big problem, dropping sonar buoys that betray your position.

If all this sounds very basic and simplified, well, it is. Raging Thunder doesn’t have any top-shelf pretensions. The interface doesn’t resemble actual submarine equipment, and the lack of simulated sonar and target motion analysis gear reduce Raging Thunder to an arcade level sim. Realism, despite the number of submarine types listed, doesn’t technically apply. All subs carry the same weapons–that means Russian Akulas with Harpoons. Even so, there are several things worth pointing out in its favor. The graphics are acceptable– the ocean rolls to some degree and the enemy ships are fairly well rendered.

Task Force in a squall


The periscope view is quite good. RT is the only subsim I can name that factors in a little rain and weather. When the depth charges go off, the entire screen flashes white. And although the program is relatively simple, the gameplay is challenging. Enemy AI is good; the frigates are tenacious and capable. You’ll find yourself replaying missions repeatedly to succeed.

In a discussion with the creator of Raging Thunder, he disclosed that the sim is intended for novice gamers. A primer subsim that will introduce a young or inexperienced computer gamer to the sim experience and entertain them. RT fits this bill quite well. The hardware requirements are minimal so this subsim can be enjoyed by players limited to old gear. And with a price that undercuts commercial sims by $40, Raging Thunder is a great idea for that 10-year-old nephew with a hand-me-down 486. Consider that an endorsement.


Rating:  55

Realism Historical Accuracy Graphics Sound/
Game play Repeat Play Program stability Multi- play
5/20 2/10 4/10 2/10 13/20 5/10 14/15 0/5
BONUS: +5: Value     +5: Low hardware requirements   


Fire amidships

Magnify-in view


Magnify-out view

Torpedo explosion


For ordering information on Raging Thunder, visit the official web site: Raging Thunder (link dead)


AI Bot running SUBSIM, what could go wrong?!