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Developer: Black Ops for Namco OPTIONS: S.SHOT
No.1   No.2   No.3
Distributor: Sony 1 Player
Game Type: Adventure/Shooter Memory Card
Review Date: July 1998 Dual Shock Analog

Setting the Scene

It was almost a year ago when I first heard about Treasures of the Deep and 
to be honest I didn't give it a second thought.  After all, with a title like 
that I assumed it must surely be another of those underwater educational games 
in the same vein as the rather crap Aquanauts Holiday (see Rapid Reviews).

Twelve months later when the final code appeared on my desk I once again gave 
it the cold shoulder and duly slotted it into the non-priority pile along with 
Bust-a-Move Dance, Whizz and Bass Sea Fishing.  Something else always seemed 
to take preference until eventually it could cross my eyes no longer and into 
the PSX it went.

Imagine the surprise when my reaction was similar to having your arm twisted 
to go to a movie that you don't really fancy and discovering that it is a 
sleeping contender for Movie of the Year.

You play the part of Jack Runyan, an ex-navy seal who has become a free-lance 
underwater treasure hunter.  Your main objective is to complete 14 varied 
missions at several world locations.  Along the way, you are free to pick up 
as much gold as you want and once a mission is complete you can use your booty 
to buy more weapons, equipment, and even upgrade your sub. You can further 
boost your finances by capturing rare sea creatures in nets. 

Are you prepared to explore inside dark caves, deep caverns, shark-infested 
waters, and even sunken crafts such as ships and airplanes?  If so then slap 
on your rubbers and prepare to take the plunge with Namco's remarkable new 
underwater adventure - Treasures of the Deep.


Treasures of the Deep is a mission based underwater adventure which 
doubles up as a rather good shoot-em-up.  Prepare to travel the world for 
the 14 treasure-hunting missions that take you from under the Polar Ice Caps 
to the mysterious Bermuda Triangle.  Explore the breathtaking underwater 
environment, which is realistic in every detail.  Every environment has an 
array of sea creatures such as hammerhead sharks in the Gulf of Mexico, 
seals under the frozen caps and killer whales in the northwest.


Treasures of the Deep features some of the most incredible underwater 
graphics ever seen on the Playstation.  The opening CG scenes would be more 
suitable as a trailer for a blockbuster James Bond movie rather than an 
adventure video game.  

Imagine the scene.  A lonely diver clings onto his single-seat underwater 
frogman vehicle (that's what they call it).  As he glides through the murky 
waters past shoals of rare tropical fish a hammerhead shark moves a little 
too close for comfort.  A slight change of direction and a short burst on 
the accelerator steers him towards the bottom of the ocean where he discovers 
the remains of an aging warplane.  A large treasure chest lies semi-buried 
among the wreckage and just as he approaches to net his find a torpedo narrowly 
shaves his underwater vehicle and explodes in the rocks ahead.  He quickly 
turns to face his perpetrators - two fully armed mini-subs.  Immediately he 
launches a counterattack and moves directly towards their blinding headlights.  
A press of a button and his weapon system automatically locks onto one of the 
subs.  KA-POW!  A direct hit takes out one of the enemy subs with the mammoth 
explosion downing the other.  It's back to base for a well-earned rest and 
all before the game has begun.

In-game the underwater effects are equally as stunning.  In fact if ever a 
game justifies the use of an invulnerability cheat code then Treasures is the 
one.  Quite often you are too busy fending off attacks from enemy frogmen, 
rival subs and a wide range of frightening underwater beasties to enjoy the 
more pleasurable visuals on display.  The entire 3D playing area is alive with 
creatures of all description - giant sea turtles, lobsters, dolphins, manta 
rays, almighty whales and schools of tropical fish.  They all move about in a 
lifelike way changing direction with the current before disappearing into the 
murky depths.

There is little evidence of pixilation but it does occasionally appear when 
investigating the close confines of a sunken wreck.  All around a clouded 
effect has been intelligently used to keep the frame rate up and avoid pop-up 
but rather than become a distraction it actually adds to the creepy atmosphere.          

I found the most admirable effect to be the use of light sourcing.  When 
navigating through a network of spooky tunnels and caverns the headlight 
beam from your sub only lights up the immediate area.  Firing your weapons 
into the darkness ahead gradually brightens up the surrounding cave walls 
with the effect following the route of your missile until it gradually 
disappears into the distance.  Tomb Raider 2 style flares may also be used 
to drop down pitch-black areas to check out their depth and contents.  

Weapon effects are equally impressive.  When missiles strikes their intended 
target the screen is filled with a blinding flash of yellow/orange light 
while a direct hit with a harpoon on a frogman or shark will show small 
clouds of blood seeping from their flesh before gradually diluting into 
the sea water. 

The game may be viewed from a first person perspective or above and 
behind your sub.

Sounds and Effects

Ever since I first loaded up Treasures of the Deep I have been racking 
my brains trying to think what the music reminded me of.  It finally came to 
me - Batman the Movie.  In fact it is all a little too close for comfort if 
you ask my opinion.  What's even more remarkable is that it works perfectly.  
Moody, atmospheric, at times haunting, but always strangely relaxing.  
After suffering from a barrage of scratch, disco and techno crap over the 
last few weeks this was heaven sent.

The sound effects include everything one could wish for in an underwater game.  
The ever present bubbling sound of your diver breathing in through an oxygen 
mouthpiece and then exhaling out into the water.  Every collision has that 
dull sound attached which can only be experienced while underwater.  Try 
sticking your head in the bathwater and tapping on the side of the bath - 
know what I mean?  Apart from the reddish blood mist you soon know when a 
rather nasty shark or a divers harpoon is attacking you because the now 
shaking screen is accompanied by the sound of glass cracking under the 
strain.  This certainly raises the alarm.  Each direct hit weakens the screen 
of your sub which, unless evasive action is quickly taken, will eventually 
shatter, drowning your diver in the process.

Occasionally you will wander into a school of dolphins, which can be netted 
for cash rewards.  Their haunting cries can be distinctly heard as you move 
closer, allowing you time to prepare a trap.


Time to submerge.  The main idea behind Treasures of the Deep is to 
successfully complete all 14 missions.  However if you think that by charging 
straight towards your main objective will lead to rapid success then you are 
in for a big shock and probably an early burial at sea.

First a word about the controls.  Depending on your preferences I would advice 
the use of the analog control pad as using both of the sticks allows complete 
control of your craft.  These two little knobs move you up, down, 360°, strafe, 
forward and backwards leaving the face buttons to activate weapons.  Don't 
worry if you do not have one of these joypads (shame on you) as strafe can be 
configured onto the top two shoulder buttons with the bottom two used to select 
weapons (just like underwater Doom).  Unfortunately the game is not dual shock 
compatible but I suppose if it had been then maybe it would have lost that 
smooth, soothing underwater feel that is plainly evident.

Before you launch into your training mission you may take the time to browse 
around the diving shop.  Here you may purchase a selection of weapons, an 
assortment of equipment and a brand new sub.  Unfortunately there will be 
little that is affordable until you take a few dives to collect some treasure 
but you can always press your face against the window and take a look-sey.

On the weapons front there are missiles, mines, torpedoes and nets.  Yep, you 
heard me right... net's.  These are an ingenious multi-purpose device that 
allows you to collect items and remove certain hazards.  On your way to a 
mission why not take time out and net a few rare species of fish.  Dolphins 
and turtles bring in large cash rewards.  Nets are also used to salvage items 
from shipwrecks.  Simply fire a net at the intended target and it will wrap 
around the item and rise to the surface via a small floating balloon.  Nets 
can also be used as a weapon to capture sharks, eels and those pesky frogmen.  
Once trapped they will float to the surface and be removed from the game.

Equipment comes in the form of armored wet suits, health packs, spare air 
tanks, flares, night vision goggles and a ROV - Remote Operated Vehicle that 
allows you to scan the area ahead before following in relative safety.  The 
subs are rated by depth class and in order to enter the deeper missions you 
will require a sub that's up to spec. Subs are rated on the basis of agility, 
armor, speed and payload.
All missions are varied and involve a wide range of topics:  
   * An airplane crashes in the Bermuda Triangle and it is your 
     mission to net all of the dead bodies before collecting 
     important equipment from the submerged aircraft.  
   * During the Nazi occupation of Italy a last gasp effort was 
     made to fly stolen gold to North Africa for hiding.  You 
     will be carrying a time bomb to open a passageway to the 
     location of the German cargo plane.  
   * Explore the Aztec tribes' underwater tombs for priceless 
     artifacts protected by a serious of deadly traps.
   * The Iranians have sabotaged one of the tightest oil shipping 
     bottlenecks in the world.  They have saturated the area with 
     mines and damaged the oil wells.  Detonate the mines and cap 
     the oil wells.

So there you have it.  An underwater adventure shoot-em-up where you collect 
treasure and capture sea creatures in order to make money.  This is then 
re-invested into equipment and weapons to allow you to carry out the more 
difficult missions.  On each level there are special hidden items like grail's, 
swords, and sections of a stone tablet. If you collect all the sections of 
the stone tablet, the secret Atlantis level can be unlocked.

Treasures of the Deep has an excellent learning curve which allows you to 
gradually gain in confidence before the more difficult missions arrive.  
The player is allowed three continues to help them through each mission.

Value for Money

If you enjoyed the underwater scenes in both of the Tomb Raider 
adventures then you will have a ball with this title.  It is aimed more for 
the shoot-em-up fan than the strategy buff but then wasn't Tomb Raider 2 
that way inclined.  The missions are wide and varied and with each level 
having several secrets to unveil the playback value should be good.
GRAPHICS: 18/20 The most surprising thing about Treasures of the Deep is that it comes from Namco. What isn't surprising is that they once again come out tops when providing Playstation gamers with high quality titles.

Don't make the mistake that I almost did and expect this title to be just another educational underwater game. It's not. It's a gripping adventure that is well presented, graphically superb and features a soundtrack that will lift you onto a higher level.

Now if everyone is ready... take a deep breath and... one... two... three... SPLOOSH!
SOUND: 10/10
VALUE: 17/20


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