SUBSIM review: Grey Wolf – Hunter Of The North Atlantic

This wolf feels like a ghost ship--all those places to visit, no crew!

System Requirements:486, 8MB
PLATFORM:Win 3.1 or up    CD-ROM
Originally reviewed May 1996 in SUBSIM Review
Updated January 2000


Will Grey Wolf play under Windows 98 SE in a Fat 32 configuration? – Frank “Hatchet” Morgan

I think the game also gives off a pretty good atmosphere of cold, chilly gloom, which is what I would expect from a sub in the North Atlantic. – Troy Whigham

I have an old PC and cannot get the newer games to run. I read your review of Grey Wolf and got it. While not perfect, it is a lot of fun to play. – Ben Armstrong

Yes, we still get mail and comments about older subsims. While flight sims are viable for a year or two before newer versions render them stale and boring, the slower paced, more tactically-oriented subsim will last five years or more. Aces of the Deep is currently holding its own in the Contest 2000 survey. Grey Wolf is one of the older sims still worth the trouble to install. SSR decided it was time to blow the dust off and warm up the diesels. Since the next U-boat sim is still many months away (at best), Grey Wolf fills the gap till then. Time for a follow-up analysis.

 The package containing the Grey Wolf – Hunter Of The North Atlantic U-boat simulation is very alluring. A handsome picture of a U-boat beckons you for a sea trial. The gameplay of Grey Wolf doesn’t quite match that shine, but it tries.

Click here for full size screen shots
Control room

       You get an acute sense of isolation playing Grey Wolf. The verbal responses to your orders sound as if they are coming in over a cheap radio. (This was later explained to be a recreation of verbal orders transmitted through the voice tube, or gooseport. In that context, the voices sound authentic). On the plus side, you can examine the boat from bow to stern and view some really pretty graphics of the diesel room, torpedo room, and a very clean control room. But this wolf feels like a ghost ship–with all those places to visit there is no crew! Now I know that no sim has a simulated crew graphically depicted, but they don’t offer a bow to stern tour, either. As you move from one compartment to the next, you see everything but sailors. Gives new meaning to the phrase, “Make a hole! Coming through!”

       The graphics of surface ships are sketchy at best, mere side view silhouettes with some detail. Convoys seem to consist of three ships in most cases, with the occasional warship mission of two destroyers. There are no prolonged depth chargings to fear here, sailor. If they get a lock on you, you dive deep and pray. Your fate will become clear soon. You can tell from the pinging of the sonar if you’re in peril. Depth chargings include some good cut-away scenes. The TBT and periscope views are cramped and restricted, which would be tolerable if you had the option of scanning the waves from the bridge, but you don’t. The view topside is solely through the field glasses. You feel as though you’re searching the confines of a shoe box, not the vast Atlantic Ocean. Nothing gives you the feel that you’re at sea better than the simple topside view.

Click here for full size screen shots
Engine room

       Contrasting the blinders you feel without the bridge view, Grey Wolf features the best wave action this side of Aces of the Deep. The layered, undulating blue waves put Silent Hunter to shame. You target is constantly in motion and you do feel the need to brace yourself.

       How about realism? Well, you do have limits on your fuel and batteries, and you carry a limited number of torpedoes. The Jane’s 688(I) crew must be moonlighting in Grey Wolf because the crew here achieves reloads in less than a minute. Maybe ProOne felt that realistic 30 minute reload times would put off players. Too bad you don’t have an option here, as you do in Aces. While taking damage, you may be told you must surface to affect repairs, which keeps you honest. The performance profile of your GW U-boat is much too good, though. Changing depths, headings, and speeds happens in a third of the time it should take. Overall, Grey Wolf is not as realistic as Silent Hunter or Aces. It measures up to a pre-patch version of Jane’s 688(I). You have a choice of any U-boat in the Third Reich’s Navy, as long as it is a Type VII. There are no aircraft in this game, so no deck gun action. Keep your focus on torpedoes, Kapitan.

       Grey Wolf has a decent interface, and the mapview has a static quality, which is what is needed in a simulation. No miniature ships here with wakes and real-time course changes. The drawback is you are limited to one patrol zone per mission. Each mission begins with an assignment to patrol a grid. And at the beginning of each patrol, the surface ships are present and awaiting your torpedoes. There aren’t any random searches, just point and shoot. Grey Wolf features decent if simple mood music, always a plus. And the cut-away scenes are varied and pleasing. When you leave port you are shown a sleek U-boat cruising away from the heavily-fortified submarine pens and out to the ocean.

       Click here for full size screen shotsGrey Wolf isn’t priced like a current program (less than $20  in our store), and for that price GW offers several afternoons of diversion while you stare at the Silent Hunter II ads and wait for summer autumn winter, whenever! Yes, Grey Wolf will play under Windows 95 and Windows 98, with the FAT 32 hard disk partitioning. I have a copy of Grey Wolf   I play on a Gateway Performance 500 PIII and it runs fine. The designers did put some time and thought into it, and there are some nice interior scenes of the boat. Though there’s not much stimulation to this simulation, Grey Wolf is still being played. If you demand only the most current sim, look elsewhere. But, if you want to introduce a younger player to the Battle of the North Atlantic, or if your PC is hardware challenged, Grey Wolf is fine. It won’t make you use boot disks or rewrite your config files to get it playing. And if you are a naval/subsim connoisseur–if you want to have the experience of playing every sim possible in your resume–Grey Wolf is an affordable candidate. But watch out, you may have fun too!



Wolfpack realistic voice.



Rating:  67

Realism Historical Accuracy Graphics Sound/
Game play Repeat Play Program stability Multi- play
13/20 7/10 6/10 5/10 11/20 6/10 14/15 0/5
BONUS:  +3: Virtual tour; 


Pick up this retro-subsim cheap: Click here to buy Grey Wolf: Hunter of the North Atlantic

AI Bot running SUBSIM, what could go wrong?!