The Deep

Author: Julian Rignall
Publisher: U. S. Gold
Machine: Spectrum 48K

Published in Computer & Video Games #88

The Deep

I must confess that in all my years of arcade going, I've never seen, yea, even heard of this obscure coin-op. Or of the Cream Corp from whom this title was apparently licensed. Still, someone at US Gold must have seen the machine somewhere, because they "snapped up" the rights.

The game is an odd one - as an arcade machine I'm not surprised that it sunk without trace, if it ever emerged in the first place - but as a computer game it's quite jolly.

The player takes control of a ship, which floats at the top of the screen. Subs and other undersea vehicles and creatures move across, and launch missiles and mines, which are dodged by moving the ship left or right. To defend itself the ship drops depth charges, which drift slowly to the ocean's depth, destroying anything they touch.

The Deep

Occasionally, an enemy wreck releases a capsule which floats to the surface. If this is collected, a helicopter appears and drops off a supply box, which endows the ship with either guided or more powerful depth charges, extra speed or a pod.

Tapping the ALT key when a pod is picked up turns the ship into a mini-sub, and the player can dive to the bottom of the screen and collect the glowing orb on the sea floor. When the sub returns to the surface, the ship appears again and the screen scrolls along to where the next orb is located.

When three pods are collected the ship is confronted by a boat which is approaching at ramming speed. Missiles are fired to stop it before it makes contact, and the boat goes on to battle a submerged mothership, which is bristling with emplacements. If these are all taken out, the first stage is deemed complete.

The Deep

Next comes a Missile Command-style section. A convoy of ships are sailing from the harbour to the open sea - but the enemy are launching missiles from the ocean depths. Using a crosshair sight, the player takes them out before they make contact.

After that, the scene returns to one similar to the first, only with a different seascape and more enemy submersibles.

The Deep is quite an addictive game, but it lacks depth (no pun intended). It's more of an 8-bit concept, really, and not one that I expect to see on the Amiga for £25 - as a 16-bid budget title it would be fine. The gameplay is fun and kept me amused for a couple of hours, but I can see its appeal waning considerably in the long term. There just isn't enough variety to sustain interest.

Julian Rignall

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