The Soviet Union has created the ultimate first strike weapon. It is November 12, 1984, four months before Mikhail Gorbachev comes to power. The Soviets have built the RED OCTOBER, a Typhoon Class nuclear submarine which utilizes an experimental propulsion system. This new "caterpillar" drive renders the submarine virtually invisible to sonar. Fully loaded with nuclear missiles, the RED OCTOBER is an unprecedented war machine.
You are Captain Marko Ramius. Your superiors have ordered you to put the RED OCTOBER through its trial run of tests and naval exercises today. But you have other plans. You intend to defect and to lead the submarine and its crew to the safety of a U.S. port.
The Soviets will not allow this superior technology to fall into the hands of the Americans. Once the Kremlin realizes your plan to escape, they will send the entire Red Fleet to track down and destroy the RED OCTOBER. You must evade or destroy all enemies and navigate a course to the U.S. shore.
--From the NES Hunt For Red October instruction manual.