Sea Wolf was an old black and white arcade game released by Midway way back in 1976.

The story

This is one of the all time greats. You play a submarine commander who must blast enemy boats with torpedoes. The whole game is played through a big periscope. This particular game is based on a much earlier electromechanical game from Sega (called Periscope), which was the first game ever to require 25 cents per play (a price the industry has been trying to raise for years now, an effort which has only been partially successful, despite over a decade of games requiring 50 cents or more. People just still expect for games to cost a quarter).

The game

The game screen is a side view of a underwater scene (with the surface towards the top). You control a crosshair at the surface level. The object is to shoot as many ships as possible, before the time runs out. Your torpedoes are launched from the bottom of the screen, and must move upwards to hit the enemy ships (while avoinding the mines that float at different levels of the water).

Your submarine can shoot five shots before it has to reload (an automatic action that takes about a second). Your game will be extended if you reach a certain score before time runs out (the score is operator adjustable).

The Machine

Sea Wolf has one of the all time great cabinets. It is in an upright format and is totally covered in painted sideart (submarine scenes done in white and three shades of blue). The marquee bulges out in front and has a large periscope which comes down from it. The player looks through the periscope and move it to control the game. It has a fire button mounted on on one of the handles. The periscope has several transparencies inside which provide a cross hair, a display of remaining torpedoes, and a reload light.

The monitor is mounted deep inside the machine and is displayed on a mirror. It is also covered with a blue overlay to give the game a bit of color. The monitor bezel area is covered in mock submarine gauges, but you can't even see them when playing, because you have to look through the periscope.

The game is run by an Intel 8080 processor, and tends to be problematic because of heat issues. The main side effect of this is that socketed chips will work their way loose due to heat expansion, causing all sorts of minor problems. This can be fixed by reseating the chips on the PCB.

Where to play

The MAME emulator supports this game fairly well. But the sound is missing, and you don't get to use the periscope controller (unless you happen to have one of those wired up to your computer). This game is really best experienced in a real arcade cabinet.

This is a game that is really worth adding to your arcade game collection, unless you already have Battlezone (which is a much better periscope game, and who really has room for two periscope games). Prices vary on this title, but you should carefully inspect the workings of the periscope on any machine you are considering purchasing, as no one makes that particular part anymore (it can be rebuilt fairly easily if you are so inclined). Non-working Sea Wolf machines are fairly common due to the issue of the chips popping out over time, you can use this to your advantage by purchasing a "broken" Sea Wolf rather cheaply (which will probably work just fine once you get it home and reseat the chips).

Sea" wolf` (?). Zool. (a)

The wolf fish.


The European sea perch.


The sea elephant.


A sea lion.


© Webster 1913.

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