'Deep Fear' Survival Horror Review

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Green Ranger
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'Deep Fear' Survival Horror Review

Post by Green Ranger » Fri Jan 20, 2006 4:34 am

As are many, I am a fan of survival horror games. There have been quite a few games to popularize the genre, such as Alone in the Dark, Silent Hill and most notably, Resident Evil. While Capcom is credited as making survival horror what it is today, there have been other games that, if given enough exposure, could've provided audiences with more than what Capcom had to offer. DEEP FEAR, created by Sega is one such game which brought us something different to the table, and when released at the time, was a great alternative to Resident Evil.

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This review covers the UK release of DEEP FEAR for the Sega Saturn. DEEP FEAR was also released in Japan, but never had a North American Release. The above picture, is the front cover to the Japanese version.

On September 18th, 1998: Deep Fear, the final UK Saturn game, is released. Deep Fear is the english translated version to the Japanese game which was released earlier. You are John Mayor, a man who resides in a deep-sea underwater base as a member of the Emergency Rescue Services team (ERS). The underwater base (known as the 'Big Table' because of its shape) has retrieved a space craft that has landed in the ocean, originally sent out of Earth's Orbit many years ago. However, finding this craft starts a string of tragic events that result in tragedy, fear, and unexpected creatures who are determined to destroy you. You will meet characters that are on your side, but many that are in fact against you, and their true motives will only be revealed when it's too late...

Controls and Gameplay (8.5 out of 10): This game has been compared to Resident Evil on various ocassions, however there are elements which seperate it from Capcom's franchise as well. Similarly, the directional pad (or analog stick, depending on which Sega Saturn controller you choose) moves the character in various directions. The game is viewed by fixed camera angles as the character moves about. Throughout the game your character acquires various guns, and with the right-shoulder button, you can draw your weapon. Pressing the A button allows you to fire that weapon.

Now unto the differences which sets this game from Capcom's franchise and what many players will find appealing. The inventory screen of DEEP FEAR holds more items than that of the traditional Resident Evil inventory. Additionally, you can assign a button on your controller that will activate items from your inventory, which relieves the player of having to interrupt the action by constantly accessing the inventory screen. You can also run while shooting, whereas Resident Evil does not offer this luxury. Also setting this game apart is the fact ammunition can be acquired by visiting 'Storage facilities', versus walking around around aimlessly in hopes of finding some on the floor like in Resident Evil.

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This game is titled DEEP FEAR for a reason. You are trapped hundreds of miles underwater, with creatures that are merciless. They can appear anywhere, and not all of them are slow moving. And with the fact that the base's air supply runs out of oxygen and you need to replenish it constantly, this only adds to the intensity. As for the creatures, they are not zombies, but something more deadly.

The only problem with being trapped in an underwater base is the lack of environmental variety. Many places look similar to each other, so one could get bored with walking through various corridors that don't differentiate themselves from previous areas.

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Graphics (7.5 out of 10): Bear in mind that this is a Sega Saturn game, essentially a 32bit machine. Like Resident Evil's previous games, DEEP FEAR has 3d polygonal characters set in pre-rendered environments. What this means is that while the characters are 3d models, the backgrounds are composed of static CG images, represented in a 3d perspective. Observe the screenshots for such examples.

The pre-rendered environments are impressive and realistic, and the 3d character models were commendable for its time (and according to Gamespot.com, looks as good as Resident Evil models). Additionally, the game's cut-scenes are presented to us in fully rendered CG movies, which are well done.

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Sound (8 out of 10): The voice acting leaves something to be desired. Many of characters speak with no emotion, as if reading from a script for the first time. One character in particular, Dubois, speaks with such a horrendus voice that you may find yourself questioning his sexuality. Fortunately, the music for Deep Fear is the highlight to this game in the sound department. The orchestrated soundtrack fits the mood to the game and even enhances the game through it's use of emotionally charged songs. For those keen on Japanese music it is important to note that the music has been composed by Kenji Kawai, whom has worked on many anime classics such as Ranma 1/2 and Patlabor 2. As a matter of fact, you can even hear the ending credits song to this game by right-clicking the link below:

http://downloads.ffshrine.org/soundtrac ... _fear].mp3

Finally, with regards to the sound effects, they are adequate. When you think of being trapped on an underwater base, you think of ominous and echoey sounds as you walk through locations. Deep Fear excels in this area as it provides convincing sounds that make you feel that you are alone and vulnerable wherever you are. As for the weaponry, while the default gunshot sound effects could use more work, the other weapons sound convincing.

So, with regards to the game's pros and cons, it is as follows:

Pros:
1) Impressive graphics for a 32 bit system
2) Commendable music
3) unique gameplay mechanics
4) Engaging story

Cons:
1) Bad voice acting
2) Backgrounds look similar to each other

What it all comes down to is this- If DEEP FEAR had in fact received adequate publicity, this game would be more popular within the gaming community. It has the elements needed to make a great survival horror game. Who knows how this franchise would've evolved this present day if it were more popular. To anyone owning a Sega Saturn, this game is highly recommended. The UK version of this game is fully in english, and can be played on an American Sega Saturn with an Action Replay Cartridge. Get it while you can, as it is a worthy addition to any game library.

Overall Score: 8 out of 10

As always, comments are always welcome.
Last edited by Green Ranger on Sat Sep 30, 2006 12:10 am, edited 11 times in total.
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Post by Cid Highwind » Fri Jan 20, 2006 5:10 am

>>As far as similarities go, like Resident Evil's previous games, DEEP FEAR is presented with 3d polygonal characters set in a pre-rendered 3d environments.

This had me a bit confused. But other than that this game sounds pretty interesting, I never really did research on the Saturn and all the positive things. I knew it had some awesome games, but other than that I only heard about the negative things of the console. A shame actually, because there is more to it.
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Post by Green Ranger » Fri Jan 20, 2006 5:19 am

Cid Highwind wrote:>>As far as similarities go, like Resident Evil's previous games, DEEP FEAR is presented with 3d polygonal characters set in a pre-rendered 3d environments.

This had me a bit confused.
No problem, the review has been slightly reworded, should make better sense now.
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Post by Phantom » Fri Jan 20, 2006 6:47 am

Deep Fear is one my favourite Saturn games. The voice acting is horrible though.
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Post by Cid Highwind » Fri Jan 20, 2006 12:42 pm

Is it better, or worse than Shenmue? :P
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Post by HomerCIDAL » Fri Jan 20, 2006 4:07 pm

I enjoyed it even thought the voice acting was just as cheesy as the original RE.
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