radar mission is an early game boy game (released about 6 months after that system’s launch) that was well on its way to fading into obscurity before the 3DS came along. since then the game has gotten renewed attention for two reasons: one, its “spiritual sequel”, steel diver, was one of the launch games for that system; and two, it was released on the 3DS’s virtual console just a few months after the 3DS debuted. the game had been on my radar well before then, though, because it was developed by nintendo R&D1, the group led by the legendary gunpei yokoi. yokoi and R&D1 were responsible for many of nintendo’s early games, including the first metroid and wario land games, and i’ve been slowly working my way through their entire output.
anyway, enough history, how’s the game? well, there’s a reason most people have never heard of it. the game consists of two distinct and pretty much completely unrelated parts. the first is simply the game known as battleship in which you place your ships on a grid and try to defeat your opponent by taking turns guessing where their ships have been hidden. the game adds some minor enhancements including an option to have near misses reported; this option makes the otherwise completely luck-based and dull game more palatable, but it still doesn’t make the game worthwhile and i quickly moved on to the second mode.
the second mode is much more entertaining. in it you take control of a submarine and in a first-person perspective you look out through your periscope, move through the water, fire torpedoes at ships, and evade enemies by ducking underwater. this mode in particular includes some impressive visuals and unusually good music, but, again, the gameplay is extremely limited and my interest in this mode was very short-lived.
not much more to say. the game only warranted a small amount of time, but it’s an interesting bit of nintendo history and it’ll be interesting to see how it compares to steel diver (although i have to admit i don’t really have high hopes about it based on my early experiences with that game). we’ll see.