Sunday, October 9, 2016

Sewer Shark Review

Sewer Shark is a rail shooter video game released by fan favorite Digital Pictures and was a launch title for the Sega CD, it was also ported to the 3DO.

I'm going to start this review with a bit of history about Sewer Shark. When the video for this game was shot, it was intended to be a game for a new console called Control-Vision (codenamed NEMO which stands for Never Ever Mention Outside) by Hasbro. I can't fathom how they would make this game work with the Control-Vision as it was going to use VHS tapes. All the footage was created by John Dykstra who was one of the founders of Industrial Light And Magic and did the special effects for the original Star Wars, the original Battlestar Galactica, and some of the X-Men and Spider-Man movies. How many other games can claim that?

When the Control-Vision was canceled Tom Zito, one of the founders of Digital Pictures, acquired the game footage and used it to make this game for the Sega CD. When I bought my Sega CD Sewer Shark was the pack in game which means that this game is the first Sega CD game I ever played and for me, I couldn't have picked a better game to start with. If you're not a fan of full motion video games then this isn't for you.

Sewer Shark takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where most of the survivors live underground just like in Necromunda. You are a new pilot of some kind of sewer ship. This game plays like many of the Full Motion Video games like Microcosm, the background of your ship flying down the tunnels is the FMV while you control your guns with a cursor to shoot the creatures that infest the sewer.

Now I could be wrong but I believe this game was the model for many of the full motion video games. Your copilot Ghost does every FMV trope there is. He yells at you all the time, tells you to relax and pretend that it's just a game, and he's full of 90's 'tude. At the beginning of the game, Ghost tells you that he wants a million pounds of tube steak from you and I don't know what that means.

"Shoot the tubes Dogmeat!"
You fly your ship through the sewers with your robot friend Catfish who goes on ahead of you to let you know where to turn. There are four directions that you can go, 12, 3, 6 and niner or put another way up down left and right. Every so often Catfish will radio telling you three directions to go. You'll need to follow the directions he sends you in order or you'll crash your ship into a wall killing yourself.

As you surf the sewers you'll need to shoot at the different creatures infesting them because they'll hurt your ship if you miss them. Your ship has a shield that will drain and once it's down you die. On the bottom left of your screen is an energy number and in order to complete each level you can't waste too much of it or you'll have to try again. At times the game tells you to go down a tunnel that will recharge some of your energy. At the same time, you also need to get enough points to proceed to the next level.

Your ship
The game has four levels and you're trying to get to Solar City. The guy running things, Commissioner Stenchler, is a jerk who makes it his job to keep you down. Besides yourself, Catfish and Ghost there is another pilot named Falco who ends up captured by Stenchler which gives you another reason to hate him. It doesn't hurt that Falco is a girl, and you know how these type of games play out.

Stenchler the pasta eating jerk.
I love this game, it's got the right amount of schlock with all the yelling and attitude while the game is playable. The graphics aren't great but not too bad compared of some of the other Sega CD FMV games. It's a challenging game, I've only ever made it to the third level, but not too hard to ruin the game. Fans of FMV games will like this one and those that don't' can enjoy it, at least for a laugh, if you take a chance on it. I rate Sewer Shark at 8 out of 10.

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