Review by ReiadDeSain

"You're going to need a better game..."

Thank God this is actually based on one of the horrible Jaws sequels, films that actually deserve adaptations such as this. I hate it when wonderful films are made into bad games, and the first movie is one of my favorites.

There is truly no introduction that could make this game any better or more sensible, so I'll just start in on it. You begin on a map screen, taking your little sailboat out of port into the deep blue. There are only two ports (helpfully represented by anchors) and a couple of islands on this map, so don't worry about getting lost.

Every once in a while (actually, it'll be quite frequent on those occasions where you don't want tit to happen) the boat will come to a halt and the ominous message ''You've hit something!'' will flash. Then the game switches to a side view underneath the water, where your diver (perhaps the stupidest-looking protagonist of any NES game ever) your is swimming around, using his speargun to kill jellyfish and sting rays. (The only practical difference between them is that the jellyfish swim from the bottom to the surface, while the rays go from left to right or vice versa.)

Why is he doing this? Money, of course. For every few lethal leviathans that you send to a watery grave, a conch shell will appear from the carcass and float towards the sea floor. (I'm not really sure how the jellyfish were managing with conch shells stuck in their insides.) These conchs are, God knows why, used as currency at the ports. These are used, at first, to buy a tracking device which will beep whenever the shark nears you on the map screen. After that, you buy a better spear gun for use on your submarine sojourns.

There are a few clever tweaks to the gameplay, like jellyfish that can actually change direction as they swim. The developers apparently thought it would be too mind-blowing if the rays could change depth as they swim, so no worries there. There are also stars that you can grab for points, and crabs that let your diver swim faster (bet you didn't know crabs could make you do that).

At times you'll meet the big fish himself, not that it'll matter the first few times. It's pitifully slow, so on most occasions there's little chance of the damn thing actually killing you. (Your diver, by the way, looks pretty funny while dead, twirling as he sinks to the bottom of the sea...) He can't even touch you if you stay at the surface, though neither can you harm him. It's only if the screen is particularly crowded (like in shallow bay areas) or if the baby sharks that sometimes appear are being particularly tenacious that you're in danger.

Kill a baby shark and you may be rewarded with the bonus round, which is the game at its most ridiculous: Bombarding scores of jellyfish from an airplane as they perform water-ballet routines. As an interesting exercise, close your eyes and randomly tap the fire button. As often as not you'll score as many hits as you would if you were trying. Every so often a mini-sub will show up in one of the coves on the map. It's a wonderful tool, allowing you to defy the laws of physics more easily (read: swim faster) than you can with an unaided diver. It fires torpedoes which oddly do no more damage than harpoons.

Stick enough iron in the shark, and the screen changes to a pseudo-3D view that has the fish charging you. Don't worry, it can't actually hurt you. You have three strobes lights at your disposal, which will force the shark to breach (jump bodily out of the water). Do it right and you'll be able to ram it with the prow of your boat and kill it, mimicking one of the most unintentionally hilarious scenes in film history.


Reviewer's Score: 4/10 | Originally Posted: 06/16/02, Updated 06/16/02


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