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Deep Fear (Saturn)

Deep Fear SEGA Saturn
Before swap CD, save state to file, next CD, do not upload save state file, do not restart emulator, the game will continue automatically, save state to file again.
Genre: Action
Perspective: 3rd-person
Gameplay: Survival horror
Setting: Sci-fi / futuristic
Narrative: Horror
Published by: SEGA Enterprises Ltd.
Developed by: Sega AM7 R&D Division, System Sacom
Released: 1998
Platform: SEGA Saturn

At first glance, Deep Fear looks like Resident Evil underwater, but in fact, the game has a rather interesting story that includes conspiracy theories, alien motives and ultimately turns into a sci-fi horror that is quite unique and much more interesting than just another zombie invasion.

But let's take a closer look at the Deep Fear plot. The game takes place at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean at a naval refueling and research station known as "The Big Table". The player takes on the role of John Major, a retired fur seal who, after leaving his service, joined the Emergency Rescue Services (ERS) organization. ERS was one of the many companies that were offered a seat on the station. This happened after the US Navy reduced the budget of the facility and third-party funds were needed for its further operation.

And all would be fine, but in distant space, a small capsule has already begun its return journey to mother earth, after a while fell into the sea not far from the Big Table. As you might have guessed, this wasn't just ordinary space junk. The capsule contained a chimpanzee that was sent into space forty years before the start of the game, as part of an experiment on the effects of cosmic radiation on a living creature.

Due to the cosmic radiation, the chimpanzee underwent a mutation, as a result of which its metabolism slowed down, and it went into hibernation. After the return of the "space wanderer" became known, Commander Clancy instructed Gena Weisburg to uncover the secret of chimpanzees so that the effect of slowing metabolism could be used to travel people into deep space.

During these events, the nuclear submarine, Sea Fox, was sent to refuel at the Big Table. But the Sea Fox crashed into the base, and into that part of it where the top-secret research center was located. The base commander summons the SEAL team as the main rescue force, and also dispatches the ERS (in which the protagonist serves) to rescue an important scientist.

This is where the main character, John Major, starts having problems - hostile mutants that appear out of nowhere turn living and dead people into monstrous creatures that kill all living things. The life-giving oxygen weakens the monsters, and therefore the monsters try to destroy the oxygen generators throughout the station.

A mutation that creates hostile creatures is the result of the effects of cosmic radiation on a number of common bacteria. To his joy, John Mayor, due to a number of characteristics of the organism, is not subject to infectious mutation and must try to save the remaining inhabitants of the "Big Table" and save himself. This is the plot of the Deep Fear plot, without unnecessary spoilers.

Deep Fear tries to make a strong first impression from the very beginning. The cinematic start looks pretty damn cool and really tries to make the plot epic and film-like. Deep Fear manages to be scary and in constant danger. Deep Fear's submarine base is not lost at all against the backdrop of the mansion and police station from Resident Evil or the terrible streets of Silent Hill, but at the same time it does not copy them.

The graphics of the game, for 1998, looked great. However, it is perfectly normal for a regular submarine to fail to create exciting level designs. Fortunately, the enemies are much more interesting and creative. In fact, all of the monsters in the game are designed by renowned manga artist Yasushi Nirasawa, who is best known for works such as horror series Kamen Rider and Garo.

Music is another important point that Deep Fear manages to stand out. The game has pretty high quality, creepy music made by Kenji Kawai, who was the composer for the awesome Ghost in the Shell. Unfortunately, there is practically no music in the game itself, so all the sound comes only from shooting, enemy groans and the operation of various mechanisms. Thus, Kawaii music only sounds in cutscenes, it's a shame that the developers did not add it to the rest of the game (although there are exceptions such as boss fights).

It's worth noting that Deep Fear draws inspiration from such impressive films as Leviathan and The Abyss. Of modern games, Dead Space, or rather BioShock, is the closest thing to Deep Fear. In 2005, Cold Fear was released for XBOX, PS2 and Windows, which can be said to be the spiritual successor to Deep Fear, but in my opinion DF is superior to Cold Fear in everything.

Deep Fear has many features ahead of their time. For example, Deep Fear is the first fixed-angle horror game in which players can run, aim, and shoot at the same time. The game also provides an easy-to-use secondary weapon.

In fact, the game's combat mechanics are surprisingly advanced. This allows for quite intense boss battles, for example when you are fighting a monstrous "monster bull" and you need to avoid a raging beast. Another boss climbs to the top of the corridor as you run back and forth at the bottom - a very similar scene during the battle with Bitores Mendez in 2004 Resident Evil 4.

A lot of creativity is applied to ammunition and health, which are technically endless, assuming you can find gas stations. The mechanics of the air meter are also very interesting, which makes Deep Fear stand out from other horror games. Combining air meter and monster battles makes survival in the game especially interesting. Static camera angles and narrow corridors add horror and make enemies even more intimidating.

The release of Deep Fear happened at a very interesting time - a year after the release of Resident Evil, but a year before the release of Silent Hill. It was here that the huge potential of Deep Fear was hidden - at this time such games were new and able to surprise potential players, but the lack of popularity with Saturn ultimately did not allow Deep Fear to get the well-deserved success that its creators hoped for.

The popularity of Deep Fear was not facilitated by the fact that the game was released only in Japan (06/30/1998) and Europe (07/16/1998), bypassing the American market. Deep Fear was also the last Saturn game to be released in Europe, so most gamers in anticipation of the next Sega console simply didn't notice.

Sega's internal development team responsible for Deep Fear - AM7 and its leaders, Hiroyuki Maruhama and Kunihiro Shirahata, ultimately did not make much of a hit in the horror genre (unlike authors RE and SH). Maruhama continued to stick to the theme of horror and survival in the future - after working on the not very successful Dino Crisis 3. Shirahata ended his career in the gaming industry after Deep Fear.