Torpedo Range is a fun arcade-style game. I’m not sure what the game’s goal is, and I think there might not be one. There isn’t a story as far as I can tell. It might be in the manual, but I don’t have it.
This is one of those strange games put out on the Game Boy. It feels like the publisher, Romstar, just needed a game to fill their quota. I know that probably isn’t the case, but it feels like that. It’s a short experience and feels like something you might get for Christmas, play for a few minutes, and then go outside to throw snowballs at each other.
This was still when video games wanted to bring the arcade experience home, and in this case, they wanted to get an arcade experience to a handheld console. I sometimes find it hard to remember this, mainly because I didn’t spend much time in arcades.
If this game came out now, it would probably be part of a collection and be considered shovelware.
Okay, I did some more research into the game. I wasn’t expecting to find anything that would change my mind, but then I saw the game’s release date. In Japan, the game was released in 1991. This makes sense given the other games on the Game Boy. The North American release date makes no sense! It was released in 1996. I have no idea why they even bothered to release the game because it makes no sense.
TLDR: I think the game is fine. It has a few different game modes, but it is not a game I would want to play for a long time.
There are a few different versions of shooting torpedoes at ships. There is a side view, a shooting gallery, and a first-person mode. All of them are kind of the same, and they didn’t hold my attention for very long.
These modes are single-screen experiences, similar to games like Pac-Man, Space Invaders, Donkey Kong, and Burgertime. Sometimes you have to clear the screen, and other times it just feels like you have to waste enough time to advance. I felt like the action ended whenever the game got tired of playing. It was strange.
One thing I like about the game is the overworld. I have no idea why this type of game needs an overworld, but I’m glad it’s here! You sail around a patch of ocean and run into ships, bringing you to the different mini-games. I think you run into ships. For all I know, they’re something different.
The controls range from passable to non-sensical. On the overworld, they tried to make driving the submarine somewhat realistic. I don’t think they succeeded in this at all. I drove a submarine for two years, which doesn’t do a good job replicating that experience. I was getting frustrated by just trying to do something simple! In that way, I suppose the developer was able to replicate the feeling of being in the Navy.
I think the game looks fine. I’m not going to trash how a Game Boy game looks, especially if it doesn’t take away from the actual game. Torpedo Range looks okay. Some of the games look questionable because of the perspective. It’s not awful; it just isn’t anything that would blow anyone away.
When I look at a Game Boy game, I always have a little trouble with the visuals. For some reason, it seems more complicated to put them into context. I don’t have as much experience with the Game Boy compared to the NES, Genesis, or SNES. I don’t think Torpedo Range looks bad at all. However, it was released in North America five years after it was made, and compared to the other Game Boy games from that time; it doesn’t look as good.
There is no narrative to this game, as far as I can tell. It also doesn’t need a story. Torpedo Range is just a collection of mini-games that don’t need to be explained. They could have done, but didn’t need to do, set this in World War II and have you would have some missions or something.
If this were more of a simulation, it would need some story. If it were a port of Silent Service, which I could see it starting that way, then it would have a vague story or a setting for you to operate in.
I doubt I’ll be coming back to play Torpedo Range. It feels like a forgettable game that would have been nice for a short road trip. I really can’t see myself playing it for any longer than 10-15 minutes at a time.
While it offers a few different mini-games, and there is the allure of trying to figure this nonsense out, there isn’t much of a reason to go back. Other games do the same thing as Torpedo Range, which is much better.
There isn’t much more to say about this game. I went from not knowing anything about it to knowing that it wasn’t something I would want to play again. It’s a game I can’t recommend people go out and try, especially now because there are much better games that do this sort of thing much better.
If this were released in 1991, or early 1992, I would have a different opinion of it. I would think it was just a forgotten game that could have been okay as a Christmas gift or something my Aunt and Uncle found in a clearance bin and gave me for my birthday. In 1996, it was something I would have either traded in or I would have tried to return to the store for something else. Torpedo Range is a Game Boy game that shouldn’t have made it to North America. I couldn’t find out why it took so long to get here, most likely because so one cared to find out why. I wonder how many other games like this were just ignored like this. Not that anyone needed to remember it, though.