Naval War: Arctic Circle
is a real time naval strategy game made by Turbo Tape Games and published by Paradox Interactive for the PC. The game is best described as Harpoon
-lite, and features a combination of a 2D map and 3D unit view, which can be toggled to suit the player's preferences.
The game takes place sometime within the 2030s
, and features a conflict between Norway and Russia, who are disputing fishing rights. Tempers rise after a Russian patrol boat fires on a Norwegian fishing boat, and after Norwegian forces seize a faulty Russian oil tanker, the Russians declare war. With the US Navy concentrating on the Chinese in the far east, and the Germans and French sitting this fight out, it's now up to Norway and a few allies to take the fight to the reawakened Russians...
This game provides examples of:
- Backed by the Pentagon: The game was made in close consultation with the Royal Norwegian Navy, and the player's character is a Norwegian Commodore, later Rear Admiral.
- Brits with Battleships: Supply some of the assets in the tutorial missions, which are presented as joint excercises between the Royal Navy and the Royal Norwegian Navy. They're the first country to provide tangible military support to Norway, in the form of the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth and her task group.
- Boring, but Practical: Submarine-launched heavy torpedoes. Range is short, compared to antiship missiles, and speed is slow, but heavy torps are an almost-guaranteed kill against surface fleets, so long as ASW helos have been neutralised.
- Difficulty Spike: Most of the missions in the NATO campaign aren't too hard, provided you're willing to sit through their long durations. But then you get to the final mission, where several mission critical ships start off almost right next to an enemy fleet and air armada, and starts to attract a massive swarm of missiles.
- Gondor Calls for Aid: The Norwegians try to get NATO onboard, but NATO as a whole doesn't want to have anything to do with this dustup; the US has relocated its carriers to watch the Chinese, and the French and Germans want to sit this out.
- At the same time however, Norway isn't alone: Britain, Holland, Sweden and Denmark pledge military support, with the Brits being the first reinforcements on-scene.
- Hot Subon Sub Action: Quite possible, as a fair number of missions involve taking out enemy submarines. However since most missions start off with your subs being some distance from enemy ones, and these missions also happen to only last for a few hours (as opposed to real life warships operating in an area for days or weeks), the chances of your sub getting in range to torpedo another one is practically nil. The much preferred way to deal with submarines is to use ASW aircraft.
- Make the Bear Angry Again: naturally.
- Macross Missile Massacre: it's modern naval combat. Naturally the most common, heart-stopping variety of anti-ship attack is a swarm of cruise missiles, facing off against a huge barrage of surface-launched point defenses.
- Fighters can be set to do this with air to air missiles by using the Battle Planner to order ammunition usage to overkill levels.
- Misguided Missile: earlier marks of the game would have missiles losing sensor lock and then performing physics-defying turns to go after some random target; this was addressed in 1.0.5.
- Multinational Team: The Northern allies ingame, made of Norwegian, British, Danish, Dutch, and Swedish forces.
- Point Defenseless: averted to the gamebreaking point in early patches, where ships' guns had uncanny accuracy against supersonic cruise missiles—often, a single 57mm rapid-firing gun could do what an entire destroyer's worth of SAMs could not. Fixed in the 1.0.4. patch.
- Robot Maid: a joking in-game exchange in the first Russian level has the player character ask his boss if the new secretary was built by the Federal Space Agency. The boss replies jokingly that she's actually a high-tech samovar: squeeze the right tit for tea and the left for milk.
- Shown Their Work: Very much so, particularly the game map, which is 35 million square kilometers, and accurately simulates the scope of securing the GIUK gap.
- Technology Marches On: the version of the Queen Elizabeth II class carriers in-game is shown with catapults and F-35Cs; soon after the game was released, the British Ministry of Defence announced that they'd settled on the ski-jump version with the F-35B. To be fair, at the time the game was being made, the CATOBAR version was the design selected by the Mo D.
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: many units can be set to use the maximum amount of ammunition on a single target, using the Battle Planner. Given that ammunition is finite and it takes several hours of game time for a recovered aircraft to return to combat readiness, this is not a recommended tactic.