Depth Charge

Depth Charge
Company: Amiga
Model #:
Jerry Lawson (Videosoft)
Year: 1983
Sold as a reproduction cartridge in 2010


Depth Charge was described as being the first ‘machine-interactive video game’ (whatever that means) and offering head-to-head play with one player being the submarine commander and the other the ship captain.  Each player was to have their own screen display and commands.  However only the submarine commander portion of the game was finished before being stopped, so we can only imagine what the ship captain portion would have looked like (probably something similar to Sub-Scan).   As it stands, Depth Charge plays remarkably similar to the old arcade game Sea Wolf (and not coincidentally, like Atari’s own Submarine Commander).  You start out the game with a preset number of torpedoes and must sink as many ships as possible before you run out.  Depth Charge offers six different game variations which vary the number of starting torpedoes (30, 60, or 90) and whether or not they are fixed or guided.



Upon starting the game you’ll be presented with a view from your sub’s periscope showing the ocean and some ships moving back and forth.   Pressing down the fire button will bring up your (rather large) targeting sight.  While the sight is up, you can move it left or right to aim your torpedoes at the enemy ships.  Releasing the fire button will fire your torpedoes, and if you’re playing one of the guided variations you can continue to move them until they hit the ship (on the fixed variation they’re locked in to the spot you fired them from).  Also of note, when you hold down the fire button it will display the number of torpedoes you have left at the top of the screen.  If you run out of torpedoes the game doesn’t automatically end, but you will be unable to shoot any more boats (making you a sitting duck for the Torpedo Boat).


A direct hit can sink a ship instantly (and is worth more points), otherwise it make take a few indirect hits to bring one down.  There are six different ship types, each being a different size and moving at a different speed.  The smallest and fastest of these boats is called the Torpedo Boat, can you guess what it carries?  If a Torpedo Boat makes it all the way across the screen without being hit you will be sunk.  At the bottom of the screen there is a display that shows the current ship/torpedo status (Ready, Armed, Fired, or Loading).  While this is a cute bit of eye candy, it really doesn’t add anything to the game and is probably there just to fill up the available screen space.  


The history of Depth Charge is interesting.  It was originally planned to be a cassette based game for the Amiga Power Module (a Supercharger type unit), but unlike the other Amiga Power Module games, it was never planned to appear on a Power Play Arcade multicart (see this page for more information).   It’s not known why Depth Charge was scrapped, perhaps it wasn’t shaping up as well as Amiga had hoped?  Whatever the reason, Amiga dropped the game when the idea of the Power Play Arcade carts came into existence and never looked backed.  In the end, none of the Amiga Power Module or Power Play Arcade games made it out the door due to Amgia’s decision to stop with the games and focus on a little computer that they’d been developing instead...

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