The sea is perhaps the most valuable natural asset that we have here on Earth. For centuries Humankind have drawn resources, knowledge, and inspiration from the seas. Whether we collect the sea’s riches of food and luxury items, or use the seas to trade with and dominate others, it has played countless important roles in our lives from the past to the present. The sea is not a permanent ally or enemy, but rather it unpredictably chooses its role for the benefit or destruction of humankind and with different measures. We have tried for ages to understand the sea, but even today we have not tapped into its vast vault of secrets.

The sea has also been the subject of many literary, artistic, or musical works that came from the numerous different people that were all inspired by it. The fascination with the sea has not faded in the modern era, and modern works still have attributed their theme to the wonder, terror, and mysteries of the sea. Some video games have chosen their theme to be about the sea, and this list is dedicated to the games that involve the sea in gameplay, setting, and story.

The 1990 thriller film, “The Hunt for Red October”, comes alive in this movie to game adaptation. You play as the Russian sub commander named Marko Ramius as he commands the intimidating nuclear submarine, the “Red October”, to defect from Russia to America. Ramius faces challenging ordeals during his journey from the tensions between the U.S and Russia over his submarine.

The game is played as a side scroller where the sub must make it from one end to the other. Many dangers await you as you encounter enemies such as underwater turrets, depth charges, submarines, and more as you make your way across each level. You’ll be equipped with a stock of missiles as well as your stealth enabling caterpillar drive to help you fight and evade your enemies in the sea or above in the skies. Your total accumulated score for the game will be tallied up at the end when you finally reach your destination.

Survival horror takes to the seas as the main characters named Jill, Parker, Chris, and Jessica find themselves stranded on abandoned ships in the Mediterranean Sea that are plagued with remnants from the T-Abyss virus.

The dangerous breed of zombies known as the “Ooze” lurks from within the confines of the ship and waits for unsuspecting victims to cross its path. The main characters must survive with limited supplies that can be scavenged from the ship by using the scanning machine, Genesis. Supply management and puzzle solving are emphasized in this game as the characters must gather clues to discover the events that occurred before the tragedy. Clues can be hidden anywhere in plain sight to more dangerous areas like capsized portions of the ship. This game also introduced the ability for players to explore underwater for the first time.

The enemies on board may be dangerous, but you can be armed with an arsenal of different weapons that may be upgradable provided that you find the right parts. You can even dodge and melee enemies that are close enough to you. There is no health bar to indicate your characters’ condition, but rather the screen will fade in color to become almost black and white the further that you are weakened.

The Secret of Monkey Island was a point and click game developed by LucasFilm Games and released in the year 1990. The game is set in the Caribbean during the Age of Piracy, and it stars a young man named Guybrush that wishes to become a pirate.

Guybrush has strong ambitions about becoming a pirate. He enters the career path from the help of pirate leaders that teaches him the trade. He learns the art of “Insult Sword fighting” (a prevalent feature in the series for duels that involves exchanging the right insults against each other), thievery, and treasure hunting. After completing the trials, Guybrush buys his own vessel and sails to Monkey Island to encounter a dangerous enemy that becomes his biggest adversary.

The game series allows the player to assume the role of a pirate to be and venture out into the sea to explore various islands and encounter difficult ordeals. Each installment will explore more of Guybrush’s life as his ventures into the world of piracy.

Ecco the Dolphin follows the story of Ecco as he tries to reunite with his lost pod after a mysterious alien took them hostage. He must navigate through the seas to seek knowledge of where he could find his pod again.

Ecco is equipped with his rostrum as a weapon and the ability to sing and use echolocation. Ecco’s echolocation ability generates a map of his surroundings for a better view. There are both good and bad underwater creatures that Ecco will meet. He can sing to the friendly creatures and “talk” to them for insight and sometimes bonuses. The bad creatures will try and damage Ecco upon contact, and so Ecco must attack them with his powerful rostrum. His abilities can even be upgraded further to provide additional properties.

Like a real dolphin, Ecco is also able to be an acrobatic swimmer and can swim swiftly through water and jump over land obstacles with ease. There is still the limitation of air, and Ecco has to surface or sing to certain animals to replenish his air. The player has to guide Ecco through several levels where he will travel from exotic locations to the freezing depths of the Artic to reunite with his pod again.

Endless Ocean lets the player dive and explore the beneath the sea from the comfort of one’s living room.

You play as a scuba diver that is tasked with finding treasure and researching marine life under the seas. With your Wii Remote, you can dive into the sea and guide yourself within the same realm that countless marine wildlife resides in. Search and salvage treasure and extraordinary relics from caves, sunken ships, deep waters, and ancient ruins. You can even unlock new equipment and areas as you progress further into the game. There’s even an aquarium that you can collect fish in.

On the surface, you can also act as a tour guide, a photographer, and even as a trainer. The ultimate goal of the game is to search for a legendary creature, but the game is open ended and allows you to explore to your heart’s content.

Armoroad was once a technologically advanced sea port city until a powerful earthquake happened a hundred years ago. The earthquake buried most of the city and its technological assets underneath the sea and left a deep and mysterious abyss in its place. Armoroad soon became a bustling port town of adventurers wishing to seek treasures and answers from the abysmal depths.
The third installment in the Etrian Odyssey series incorporates the sea as the main setting for both the story and gameplay.

The story involves the player managing a guild of adventurers to explore the abysmal labyrinth that leads to the bottom of the sea. There are a total of six themed stratums in the labyrinth to be explored, from lush woods to an ancient shrine, and all are waiting for its secrets and dangers to be revealed. The story lets the player dive in deeper to finally reveal the shocking history of the city as well as the meaning behind the earthquake that happened.

The player also has the option to explore by sailing. The player can embark onto the spacious sea to satisfy quests and visit new cities. The player can rake in fortunes from exploring the sea, but must at the same time encounter enemies and environmental obstacles that stands in his/her way.

An alien force from the deep seas launch an attack on Earth from down below the world’s oceans and threatens to annihilate Earth. The X-COM organization will have to fight aliens in terrifying numbers that are armed with superior alien technology on a new front.

The game is divided into two segments: GeoScape and BattleScape. Geoscape lets you have an overall view of the world and your operations, allowing you to manage all of your bases and units that are stationed somewhere in the world. Battlescape is the segment that will be switched in once you are engaged with an enemy. The battlefield will be an isometric 3D board with battles conducted in a turn based fashion. Most of the battles will be fought under the water with units such as submarines and aquanauts.

The game allows you to become the overall commander of XCOM. You will be responsible for the building, operation, and maintenance of bases as well as managing the personnel needed. You can purchase, scavenge, and research weapons and technologies that will help you in your battle against the enemy as well as command your units in battle. Your battles will take you everywhere from coastal areas to deep within the sea, and you’ll face various enemy units with their own strengths and weaknesses. Your overall mission is for you to destroy the alien threat and save Earth from their menace.

It is an exciting time for Europe as they colonize the Caribbean Islands for a share of the New World’s bountiful resources. You are an unknown adventurer from a European superpower that seeks fame and fortune in a world filled with exploration, conquest, and opportunities.

The game is an open world game where the choices you make will affect your career as an adventurer. When you start a new game, you have the following options: name, nationality, difficulty, special skill, and your preferred era to start in.

A majority of your time is spent on the seas. You can navigate your ship to points of interests in the Caribbean in order to visit people, places, and conduct business. Your income comes from plundering ships and towns for gold and sellable resources. You’ll have to manage your resources well enough to support your ship and crew as well as building riches The naval combat plays in real time, and you and your enemies will have a spectrum of weapons against each other. Naval battles can even transcend into personal duels where your fencing skills are put to the test. There are also turn based land battles where you attack towns for profit and influence.

But naval and land fighting isn’t all that there are to this game. There also exists politics and the career building aspect of the game that allows you to interact with different nations on the political battleground. Your character can age as time goes on, and your overall career will be tallied up and rated after you retire of old age.

Assassin’s Creed IV explores the life of Edward Kenway who was one of Desmond’s ancestors that originated during the “Golden Age of Piracy”. The latest installment is set on the Caribbean Islands where powerful nations colonized and competed for control while pirates caused mayhem on the seas.

You assume Edward’s role as he expands his influence both as a pirate and as an eventual assassin. The world is based around the Caribbean Islands and parts of south Florida so there is a high emphasis on the seas. The player is given the privilege to captain a ship named the “Jackdaw” that will serve as both the mode of transportation and combat on the seas. The Jackdaw is easily accessible on land and flows seamlessly from land to the sea. The ship can also be customizable and upgradable as well from numerous materials that are dispersed across the islands. You can even recruit crew members from places like taverns, prisons, and even from captured ships.

Naval combat is a vital aspect of gameplay on the seas. You can engage an enemy ship in combat as long as you can match its strength. There will be a variety of enemy ship types, and it will take numerous weapons with different properties to battle them. Once you’re close enough you will then have the option to board the ship and fight its captain. Should you win, you shall be rewarded with the valuable spoils from the captured ship.

There are also underwater aspects of the gameplay. Players can explore the underwater realm to hunt for sunken treasure and to discover hidden caverns. But beware that dangerous creatures are as bountiful as the treasures from under the sea.

A legend about a “Hero of Time” is the strong foundation of a traditional rite of passage ceremony that is held on Outset Island for any boy that becomes of age. The boy will be customarily clothed in green clothing to replicate the Hero’s courage within him. The story begins when Link becomes of age, but his ceremony becomes interrupted by a call for adventure across the Great Sea.

The world is populated by islands that are speckled across the wide open seas. Link befriends a talking boat named the “King of Red Dragons”, and the boat serves as his vehicle of transportation. The King of Red Dragons also gives Link the “Windwaker”, a baton that can direct the wind as well as other environmental features by the means of conducting music in the air. Link can use the Windwaker to navigate across the sea to visit one of the 49 islands that are dispersed across the world. Each island could hold people to visit, enemies to fight, and treasures to find. Link can also find Treasure Charts that lead to fantastic treasures hidden everywhere both on land and under the sea.

There will be more opportunities for exploration and discovery available to you through the progression of the game. There are also dangers that lurk on the high seas. You will encounter ruthless pirates, bad weather, and dangerous creatures that will test Link’s mettle as both a sailor and an adventurer.


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Honorable Mentions:

Pokemon Third Generation
Rune Factory: Tides of Destiny
Suikoden IV
Super Mario Sunshine
The Legendary Starfy

List by highwind07 (10/30/2013)

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