Submarine Attack

Graphics: 4
Sound: 4
Control: 4
Depth: 3
Overall: 3

Submarine Attack

By: Sega
Released: 1990

I know, it looks like the overall rating should be four. In fact, I really wanted to give this game a four. But I couldn't do it.

This game is an underwater side scrolling shooter. The actual play area is taller than the height of the screen, so there is some vertical scrolling based on your sub position as well. There is an area above the water where your sub can't go but enemy boats float on the surface and helicopters hover above. You can torpedo boats if you come to the surface and lob missiles for a short distance into the air.

One thing I really like is the variety of enemies, which all have very different behaviors and very different strategies. You often have to change up your play style depending on where you are and what enemies happen to be around. In addition to the usual vehicles of war you have environmental elements like deadly bubbles (do they contain acid?), mines and falling boulders. As the game progresses you get these mutant sea creatures that get progressively weirder.

Submarine Attack has very nice graphics. The backgrounds are especially noteworthy, and there are often many and large enemies and bullets with only occasional, minor flashing. The sound is pleasant enough and, rare for SMS games, often gives you some decent contextual clues.

So, why does the game lose points overall? There are a couple of shortcomings. For one, the bosses totally stink. They don't move and they're ridiculously easy to beat once you figure out what to shoot and when. Second, there aren't enough power up effects. It seems that after you get two of each type they stop adding capability. And finally, the levels are really short. I'm honestly not that skilled of a player but I got through level three in about an hour. If you're a fan of scrolling shooters, or submarines, you should have this game. I'm honestly a little disappointed in the game's shortcomings, and would really like to recommend it more highly.

If you're only going to own and play a few scrolling shooters, stick with R-Type, Cloud Master and Fantasy Zone.

- Eric Ruck