Harpoon Classic 2002 Gold Edition is definitely the best - and most underrated - versions of Harpoon Classic series, which is hands down the most realistic naval simulation ever made for the PC.
The game's description at the official site says it all about the whys and wherefore of this underdog:
"[Harpoon Classic Gold Edition is] the current benchmark in the Harpoon Classic series of modern naval warfare simulation games. Since its initial release in 1989 as Harpoon 1.0, and continuing with Harpoon Classic for Windows (1995), and Harpoon Classic '97 (1996), this series has attracted a loyal and dedicated following, spawning numerous websites and internet mailing lists.? It is both from, and for, this community of Harpoon enthusiasts that HC2002 GOLD is produced.
Fast forward to July 2001, when Byron Audler, moderator of the HULL (Harpoon User's League List), asks Don Gilman, President of Advanced Gaming Systems, Inc. (AGSI), for the Harpoon Classic '97 source code. Don accepts Byron's offer to assemble a team of volunteers willing to invest their time and energies to create HC2002, the next phase of Harpoon Classic's development.
To refine HC97 and make it "the game we always wanted", an open solicitation went out to the Harpoon Community in August 2001. Dozens of suggestions and feature requests by players the world over soon trickled in.? Next came the job of prioritizing the player feedback and examining the source code to determine what could be accomplished in a reasonable period of time. A game plan soon emerged with three major goals:??Improving the AI, particularly in the areas of submarine and aerial warfare; resolving as many player-reported bugs as possible; and creation of a Platform Editor and an updated, user-editable database.
By September 2002, the Development Team made sufficient progress on its first two goals to release HC2002.? And now, one year later, we have added the first Platform Editor in the fourteen-year history of the Harpoon Classic series, and an updated, user-editable database. Players can now create new, and modify existing platforms and weapons systems for ready export/import into HC2002 GOLD's highly modified Scenario Editor and Game Engine.
The Open Beta (July - October, 2003) enabled the Development Team to finish HC2002 GOLD with the same player input that marked the project's beginning. Thanks to enthusiastic testing and reporting from members of the Harpoon community, many new features and enhancements found their way into the product we proudly present you with today." A labor of love for all involved, and a must-have for Harpoon fans or fans of naval warfare in general.