Windows - 1996
Description of Deadly Tide
Just add water
When I was given Microsoft's Deadly Tide to review, I jumped to the obvious conclusions. 'Deadly tide'. 'Dead-ly tide'. Yep, it's a sub game for sure. You know the sort; drifting silently under the water, sneaking up on convoys, only to have them drop depth charges on your head. Or going to the deepest ocean trench you can find, and diving, just to find out how fast you can write off the sub. Whoops. There go the rivets. Oh, and the sub's been crushed like a tin can. What a shame. There goes several million dollar's worth of hardware. Not that I'm wierd in any way, of course. Ahem.
But then something happened. There was a 'clunk', as four CD's dropped out onto my desk. Suddenly, little warning bells started going off in my head. 'Interactive Movie' they were telling me. 'Avoid! Avoid! Avoid!'. But I had a review to do, so I placed the first CD in the drive, and loaded it up.
And as it turns out, my suspicions weren't completely unfounded. Deadly Tide, while not exactly falling into the 'interactive movie' genre, certainly isn't a sub simulation. What it is, is a pre-rendered shoot-em-up, or a game on rails, which accounts for the four CDs of data. A pre-rendered game differs from other games in that rather than having the freedom to wander around the levels, you are limited to a certain path, from which you can only deviate a little. You do get flashier graphics, but the you lose the freedom of movement associate with other games. It's a trade-off that I'm seldom happy with. In my opinion, only the Rebel Assault games have managed to pull it off successfuly. But that's what you get with Deadly Tide.
The basic premise behind Deadly Tide is that the aliens have arrived on Earth, and in true ID4 style, they're not friendly. They take up residence in the oceans of earth, and begin to launch attacks on shipping. Plus, they're also slowly raising the level of the oceans, trying to flood humans from the planet. The rest of the plot is straight out of the Random Plot Generator; prototype fighter, bases attacked, other fighters destroyed, earth's last chance, and so on.
The game is split up into a number of stages, taking place in various locations, the ultimate aim being to make your way through to the end of that level in once piece. The general format is you enter an area, and take out the bad guys around you. Clear the area, and you're dragged along a little further into the complex, where you pause, and more aliens home in on you. This is repeated till the end of the level. You don't actually have any control over where you go. There are the obligatory inter-level interludes, with rather dodgily acted speech. All the graphics are of course rendered, with not a hand-drawn backdrop or live actor in sight.
Everything is of course blue, being underwater and all that. It all looks quite good, and appropriate to each location. The enemies themselves are usually quite small, and overlaid on the top of the scenery. And they come thick and fast; any hits drain your shield, and although it does recharge, it's quite easy for a flurry of baddies to take you out. While all the pre-rendered graphics are quite impressive, sonically it's pretty average. There's an okay soundtrack, but the SFX are fairly limited; and the in-game speech is sometimes muffled by the music; there's no way to make it clearer, either. But how does it play?
Career of Evil
Well the answer is 'not all that well'. Deadly Tide, for all its rendered graphics, is about as average as they come. Like Cyberia and its siblings, Deadly Tide has nothing really to lift it above the crowd of pre-rendered offerings. I think what made Rebel Assault so good was the whole Star Wars thing. Even if the action started to become a little repetitive, there was old Darth 'buckethead' Vader and friends, and enough atmosphere to keep the whole experience alive. Deadly Tide on the other hand, is level after level after level of the same stuff. It just doesn't hold my attention at all.
All at sea
Basically, I can't recommend Deadly Tide at all. Unless you've played and finished everything else, there are much better examples of the genre around. Rebel Assault II is well worth checking out, but I'm putting Deadly Tide back on the shelf. Better luck next time,Microsoft.
Review By GamesDomain
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