Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Sewer Shark on the Sega CD

Sega CD Summer has launched! This is the eighth entry in the Sega Tote Series

"The guy you're replacing--he had that same tough-guy smirk on his face that you do. Till he hit the wall. They're out there now blotting him up with Handi Wipes!"

Thus began your journey on Sewer Shark.

Deep down, I hoped getting a Sega CD would be a transformational experience that would extend the life of my beloved Sega Genesis.

It took a few minutes of Sewer Shark to disabuse me of that notion.

The game was everywhere in the early '90s and became the pack-in game for the Model 2 of the Sega CD. Sega used it in a lot of its advertisements for the add-on.

At that point, pack-in games hadn't let me down. My NES came with Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt, which is a classic. My Genesis came with Sonic the Hedgehog. And while I didn't have a Super Nintendo, Super Mario World is a fantastic game.

The pack-in version of Sewer Shark and its manual

I was under the impression that pack-in games were good.

Why would a company ship a crappy game with your expensive new system?

Sewer Shark was a standalone title for the console. It sold well, however, so Sega decided to ship it with later versions of the Sega CD. The grainy and pixelated mess is an on-rails shooter with poorly compressed video and branching paths. You move a cursor around the screen and shoot things.

I really didn't care for it.

Was it really that different from Rebel Assault? The answer to that is "probably not." However, Rebel Assault had more variety and some of the levels weren't quite as "on rails" as Sewer Shark. Plus, we're talking about Star Wars and not some B-movie produced exclusively for video game consoles--John Williams' music and Ben Burtt's sound effects elevate everything Star Wars-related.

Side note: Star Wars special effects guru John Dykstra directed Sewer Shark, which was published for the Sega CD by Sony Imagesoft. The luminaries at Digital Pictures developed the game.