Take Incoming or Barrage and add a million gallons of water
and torpedoes and you get Fatal Abyss. You chose any one of
three different submarines, take on the enemy, protect your
underwater colony, while saving your own skin in the process..
In the future a new energy source is found at the bottom of the
ocean. In its raw form Bacteria 241 is very powerful and is
collected by two rivaling factions. The premise is simple:
complete each mission to advance to the next. The first portion
of the game allows you to choose from either the Eco-Systems
or Proteus-Tech. This type of story line has been played out
many times in RTS games but I have not really seen it in a 3d
shooter. The overall objective for each faction is to control the
harvesting of this new form of energy. This reminds me of
Dune, "Whoever controls the spice, controls Dune."
This is by far the best portion of this game. The graphics
remind somewhat of Descent. Not so much Descent:
FreeSpace but more like one of the originals. The terrain is
very bland because, of course, it is the bottom of the ocean.
However, the textured subs did not look up to par. A few effects
however, were done nicely. The trails behind the torpedo's
actually looked like water being churned up behind them. But
the real cool effect happens after impact. When something
collapses underwater, such as a submarine, the great pressure
causes the object to implode. When your torpedoes hit home,
the enemy sub appears to implode with a great influx of
bubbles and air. The various lighting effects were also done
nicely. For instance, the different types of flares you can equip
your sub with offers a glowing object to be sent out in front of
you so when driving around you don't run into those annoying
gray hills. The enemy subs are equipped with headlights. This
offers a good indicator of which way the sub is heading and if
it is in range to fire upon you. Even though I knew they were
going to torpedo me, I still couldn't evade them all.
The sound system in this game did not impress me. At first I
thought the menu music was catchy. After navigating the menu
options I came across the sound quality option. It was set to
medium. I figured since I had a fast enough machine and a
voodoo2 to handle the graphics that I would set it to high. It
actually sounded better until about 10 seconds later, at which
point it repeated the last 2 seconds over and over again. I
decided to set it to medium again. The same thing happened.
I even set it to low but, again same thing. Figuring it was a
problem with my computer I rebooted and attempted again.
This time I left it at medium and navigated the rest of the
menus. At which point the sound again skipped and started
repeating the past 2 seconds. Needless to say I turned the
music off. The in game sounds are bland and not exciting at
all. The sounds for the imploding submarines could have been
much more dramatic and the sub's engine sounds could have
at least been less annoying. I found the escape pod to be the
most annoying. A high-pitched whine and whir all at the same
time as you see this little black thing move on your screen. Not
exactly what I would call high budget sound effects.
At first I tried the keyboard, but in the same style as descent, it
just did not work out. Trying to contort your fingers across four
arrow keys a forward and reverse button and then still have
some fingers left over for primary and secondary firing is just
way to hard. I then tried the mouse. I beat quake with a
mouse so why not try this? That was a big mistake. There is an
upper limit on how high your eco-systems's sub can go before
it explodes I guess. The Proteus have a lower limit on their
subs. I don't know how the physics work in that respect. At
some points the mountains get very close to that upper limit
and when climbing with a mouse and then having to dive
again the mouse points the craft even more slowly than my
keyboard did. Finally I hooked my joystick back up and I was
relieved. At least I could control the game. Despite being able
to control the craft enough to actually play the game, I still had
problems with running into the mountains and hills, which
protruded from the landscape. The objectives for the missions
are easy enough: protect, destroy, or both.
If you are a descent fan then you may want to check this game
out. This game really offers nothing new to this genre, but it's
not the worst game of its kind. I could not get into the game,
either because the gameplay was not that easy to learn and
work with or because the story line really did not catch my
interest. Just like every 3d shooter the plot gets old fast, as
does the constant mass carnage of submarines.
It seems the only type of game that can be played is TCP/IP. Of
course since SegaSoft runs heat.net you can play across that
as well. Nothing spectacular about the multiplayer either. You
choose your sub, and then you choose your color. Of course
you choose your arena, which, in this case, are all underwater.
The lack of modem and IPX network play may turn off some
users. However with TCP/IP who needs mode to modem play.
This game is for descent enthusiasts only. After playing this
game a few hours I found myself eagerly awaiting a game of
NFS III or even Starcraft. Nothing really jumps out of this game
to make you go get it, however if there is no game out you
want to try there are plenty of games that could be worse than