Game Review - by StormDaemon
Very few games on the et can successfully accomplish underwater combat with an arcade approach. The number that are actually out there could be counted on your fingers, so the few that do pop out every once in a while deserve a look. Fatal Abyss truly does try to simulate futuristic underwater combat in an arcade fashion, and gets there, but with a few limitations.
The storyline is not too strong, but it does serve its purpose. The story is that you are one of two corporations racing for control over a new type of energy source on the ocean floor. One corporation wants to help the world, and the other wants to control it. You'll go on missions to help the corporation survive and defeat the other.
The menus of the game do not offer too many features for control, graphical or otherwise, but rather a simple interface in order to get right into the game. The multiplayer option was only enabled with the heat network loaded, which was disappointing. The game itself had a few interesting features, but again it seemed to just concentrate on gameplay rather than options. The majority of the game is 3D, with nice effects available for 3DFX enabled video cards. Nothing particularly stood out from the game, but nevertheless, it still played decent.
The gameplay was good; it tried to simulate underwater combat, and did its job. It was not too hard to control the vehicle, but combat would get difficult because of all the bubbles in the water formed from the torpedoes and explosions. The enemy vehicles knew how to fight and would take your ship down pretty quick unless you fought back. Outrunning enemies was hard because of your fixed speed, and even so, after a while your energy would drain out and need to be replenished at a station. A really disappointing aspect of the game was that there was a limit as to how high you could rise in your ship. After a short climb, you'd hit this area where the onboard computer would start a warning and the armor of the ship would be destroyed quickly, and soon enough, the ship would explode. It would have been much fun to be able to rise to the surface and fight there. Navigating the underwater landscape without crashing was difficult enough, though, and provided for some fun.
The missions themselves were varied and interesting, unfortunately, there were only 24 missions. The difficulty of each mission would keep you playing for a while; even the first mission certainly was not easy. For each mission, one of three ships could be selected, and the weapons layout was also selectable, making for a different mission each time.
The graphics were the best part of the game. While they were not spectacular, they certainly got the job done, and made the game look pretty cool. Everything but some of the explosions was done in full 3D, but those explosions were 2D and looked absolutely horrible. They reminded me of Wolfenstein 3D, so not much more needs to be said about those. The rest of the details of the game were actually pretty cool. Whenever a weapon was launched, little 3D bubbles would appear as the weapon shot through the water or as something exploded. The landscape also was in 3D and looked really nice, though it lacked underwater details of fish, plant life, rocks, and just about everything else.
The sound effects were about average, with the only nice part being the audible engine sounds. Everything else was average, with all the appropriate sounds from underwater combat including torpedo launches and explosions. The music, though, was very nice, with the best being the ambiance throughout the menus.
The game was nice but mediocre. The lack of features, sound effects, and graphical details in some areas brought the game down, but the idea behind the game and the 3D vehicles and weapons made it interesting and pretty. The 2D explosions, though, were really bad and showed a lack of artistic game design, or maybe just a deadline that got a little too close. Bottom-line - Don't spend more than $20, because it isn't worth more than that.