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Which Console Did You Buy/Receive Over The Holidays?

Xbox One X
Nintendo Switch
PlayStation 4

Game Profile
PlayStation 2
Metro 3D
GENRE: Action
October 10, 2002
 Written by John Scalzo  on November 22, 2002

Full Review: I've got nothing, come up with your own sub related joke.

Sub Rebellion is different, that's for sure. For one there hasn't really been a submarine based game in a while. Off the top of my head all I can think of is the sub levels in Star Fox 64 and a Game Boy rendition of The Hunt For Red October. While my knowledge of undersea games may not be extensive, I know there's no real killer app when it comes to the submarine game genre. It might be a bit of a stretch, but I think Sub Rebellion is that game.

The year is 2139. The polar ice caps have begun to melt, but rather than live in squalor on dirty, grimy, floating atolls like in Waterworld, the citizens of this world built vast underwater cities and submarines to patrol the waters. Once under the sea the people of this world split into two camps. The Empire, who want everything controlled under one government, as empires are prone to do. And the Alliance, a band of freedom fighters that have developed the Chronos, a tiny sub with massive firepower from the ruins of an underwater civilization much like Atlantis. Both sides believe artifacts from this civilization can be used to create weapons that will defeat the other side once and for all. As mercenaries piloting the Chronos, this is where you come in.

The first thing anyone will notice right away about Sub Rebellion is the unique control scheme. There's a little more to it than just constantly being in motion and expecting the player to control the direction of the sub. L1 and L2 control the speed of the sub and whether it goes forward or in reverse. R1 and R2 are the depth control and pressing O will force the sub to surface. The right analog stick controls the direction the sub's nose and points the sub in the direction it will be going in. Successfully combining these three parts of the control scheme are the only way to successfully navigate the waters of Sub Rebellion. This control scheme is difficult to learn, as I imagine it's made to be, but once you learn the ins and outs it's truly a great control scheme to build a game around. Although it does lose a few points for the unnecessary upgrade system built around the control scheme. At first, trying to maneuver the sub around obstacles, other enemies, and speeding torpedoes is not easy. This point is pounded in further because of the very smooth maneuvering demonstration given in the tutorial. It's impossible to move the sub like this before earning the upgrades and it is quite frustrating.

The game itself revolves around the Chronos being sent on missions against the Empire. The missions pretty much come in two types: find the target and blow the hell out of it or find the target and bring it back for study (which requires you to blow the hell out of the wall blocking the target to collect it). To help in finding these targets, the sub has a sonar scanner that can be used with X that maps the area in front of you with color-coded lines to show what's near. It's a very cool effect and apart from the control scheme is the best part of the game. Yes the combat with other subs is pretty fun too, but just exploring with the sonar is my favorite part. Unfortunately though, all of the missions never feel that different and it's only the environments that are slightly different.

And I do mean slightly. There's only so many ways you can make rocks and ruins appear underwater. Breaking the surface every once in a while will produce some cool looking snow or rain effects. But otherwise, there's not a lot of variety in the environments or the other subs. It's not enough to hurt the game in any way, but those looking for a graphically impressive shooter should go elsewhere.

One bit of the audio/video presentation I got a real charge out of was the NES style MIDI background music. No cheesy techno dance beats, no crashing hard rock, no rousing 88 piece orchestra. This background music could have pulled from any game from the NES/Super NES era and it fits perfectly. And the other sound effects prove this is a 21st century game. All sorts of underwater sounds, the swoosh of torpedoes through the water, rain, wind, and lightning cracking when you break the surface. There's even a wide selection of phrases from your crew like hearing "Torpedoes away!" when performing various maneuvers. A class act soundwise all the way.

Bottom Line
Sub Rebellion is a very unique twist on vehicle driven shooters and is definitely worth a look. Originality will get it's foot in the door and it's solid gameplay will keep it there. A few flaws keep it from being a true classic but any shooter fan willing to give it a chance will find plenty to like in Sub Rebellion.

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