Game Over Online ~ Fatal Abyss

GameOver Game Reviews - Fatal Abyss (c) SegaSoft, Reviewed by - Hades

Game & Publisher Fatal Abyss (c) SegaSoft
System Requirements P200 32mb RAM 4x CDROM
Overall Rating 73%
Date Published Thursday, November 12th, 1998 at 04:53 PM

Divider Left By: Hades Divider Right

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.

Fun Factor:
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 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.

Overall Impression:
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 this one.


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