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Sewer Shark: What Did Critics Say Back in 1993?
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on June 13, 2014   |   Episode 55 (Show Archive)  

   

Sewer Shark (Sega CD)
Ever wonder what Electronic Gaming Monthly, GamePro and other popular magazines thought of your favorite 8-, 16- and 32-bit games? Now you can find out, thanks to Review Crew! This is the only show on the internet that is willing to go back in time to find out what old school critics thought of retro games at the time. Did they pan your favorite game? Did they love something terrible? Find out every week as Defunct Games presents Review Crew!

Overshadowed by Night Trap, Sewer Shark was the other full-motion video game to make the Sega CD launch. Featuring endless corridors and bad acting, this on-rails shooter wowed audiences with its unique visuals. But were the critics impressed, or did they turn them nose up to another FMV adventure? We turn to Electronic Gaming Monthly, GamePro, Sega Force, Mean Machines and other classic magazines for the answers.

(NOTE: Although we occasionally cut for length, no other edits are made to the review. Defunct Games does not change any of the wording, grammar or punctuation use. Also keep in mind that our score is the average of all critics at the time, not just the sample that is reprinted on this page. If you still have more questions, I recommend you check out the Review Crew FAQ, where we address the review guidelines, converting scores, magazine covers and more.)

Sewer Shark
[ Company: Digital Pictures | Console: Sega CD ]

GAMEPRO (February 1993)
5 out of 5

"Sewer Shark is an awesome hybrid of hot shoot-em-up video game action and state-of-the-art CD graphics with an incredibly intense soundtrack and explosive sound effects. You'll be torn between wanting to sit back and watch the movie-like action and wanting to grab the controls and zip through the tubes to gun down sewer vermin. A perfect introduction to CD power gaming, Sewer Shark is a maneater!" -Mister Blister

SEGA FORCE #17
92% out of 100%

"All in all, Sewer Shark gets my vote for Game of the Year. With loads of digitized scenes and loads of frantic action, it's an instant winner and yet another reason to buy a Mega-CD. It adds a whole new dimension to your Mega Drive and another 20 hours a week to your gameplaying time table. Buy it!" -Paul

ELECTRONIC GAMING MONTHLY #41
9 out of 10

"Since the Genesis can only display 64 colors, any video footage will obviously look grainy on the Sega CD. However, color aside, Sega has taken actual footage and made a spectacular playing game. The action literally flies by and really keeps a player on his toes. Very challenging and must be seen!" -Martin Alessi

SEGA FORCE #17
91% out of 100%

"Yep! For the first time in ages, folks, I'm totally gobsmacked! Sewer Shark is absolutely awesome! It's a superb combination of shoot-'em-up action and stunning CD graphics. I'll tell you now, you'll be so impressed with Sewer Shark. This is yet another game to convince me that Mega-CD's the machine to buy. Superb!" -Ade

MEAN MACHINES SEGA #7
82% out of 100%

"Like Cobra Command, that other Mega-CD debut, this uses jaw-dropping video motion to good effect. Unlike Wolfteam's effort, however, Sewer Shark has considerably more gameplay behind it too. Changing the routes through the levels each time you play is just one of the random elements which lengthens the lifespan of a game where you have limited control. Sewer Shark certainly has some of the most impressive effects yet seen on CD." -Gus

ELECTRONIC GAMING MONTHLY #41
7 out of 10

"Sewer Shark, although also plagued by a color palette problem, works much better than any of the other games using video. The action is pretty straightforward: guide a cross hair around the screen to take out the animated bad guys. The backgrounds and storyline are all delivered courtesy of the full motion video. Repetitive but good." -Steve Harris

MEAN MACHINES (The Essential Sega Guide)
78% out of 100%

"Every part of this game is impeccably presented, with full-motion video sequences which make it look more like a decent quality sci-fi series that a console game! The game itself is very limited; you don't have much control over your ship, so most of the time you're blasting tiddly little ratigator sprites. It's not a game for everybody but if you're into SF you should enjoy it." -Rich

ELECTRONIC GAMING MONTHLY #41
6 out of 10

"Whoopie! Another full motion video CD game with no plot of real game play. The color pallet needs major work, and what happened to the action? Guiding a crosshair in a repetitive maze in order to blast rodents and bats is not my idea of hot shooter action! My best reaction can be summed up as "wait 'til next year." -Sushi X
REVIEW CREW AVERAGE: 81% - While full-motion video games are looked down on in 2014, critics were largely impressed with Sewer Shark. GamePro called the game "a perfect introduction to CD power gaming," and Sega Force was ready to name the FMV title "Game of the Year" in May 1993. Electronic Gaming Monthly's Martin Alessi also loved the game, calling it a "spectacular playing game" (their emphasis, not mine).

Many critics were not as convinced that Sewer Shark was the wave of the future. "Whoopie," laments Sushi X. "Another full motion video CD game with no plot of real game play." And he wasn't the only EGM editor mixed on the on-rails shooter. Steve Harris called the game "repetitive but good," giving it a 7 out of 10. Mean Machines agreed with that score, calling the game "limited."

Though some were miffed by the gameplay and grungy visuals, most critics were impressed with the full-motion video. Nobody gave the game lower than a 70%, which means that Sewer Shark averages an impressive 81%.

ON MONDAY'S EPISODE: Get ready for Final Fight week! Contrary to the title, there are actually a bunch of Final Fight games, each starring Metro City's mayor, Mike Haggar. Did critics fall in love with Final Fight for the Super NES, or was it a launch day disappointment? Find out on Monday, when the Review Crew digs into Final Fight. Make sure and check out the Review Crew archive for more old school reviews, and don't forget to tweet me @DefunctGames to let me know what games you want to see next!

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