Thursday, September 17, 2009

Deep Blue

Pack-in Video

Prerelease Deep Blue screen caps were so appealing to my NES-weary eyes that I fell in love with the shooter and its gorgeous underwater visuals long before I bought a TurboGrafx-16. One of those amazing shots accompanied an EGM "upcoming game" capsule report--you know, the type of blurb that typically contained nothing but general positivity concerning the title being previewed. But this particular paragraph lambasted the chip for overloading its playfield with brutal sea creatures. I shrugged off the crybaby barbs and proceeded to buy, beat, and love the game.

I still love it and frequently return to it, while most folks still rip on it and claim it's too difficult. For crying out loud, people, it's not that hard. Acquire and power up the green cutter weapon and you'll be able to slice right through the enemy waves. The purple bubble beam is quite lengthy, powerful, and effective itself (but make sure your turbo switch is in the "off" position while you're wielding it). Capture a single speed-up and your vessel will be good to go, and it comes ready to endure plenty of hits before finally sputtering out.

Let's take a detailed look at the beautiful trip the game takes us on.

Stage 1 - This gorgeous level acquaints you with some of Deep Blue's signature elements: front-line assault groups consisting of baby creatures precede the onslaught carried out by furious parents; and blaring, terrifying midlevel music alerts you to the advancement of the most serious threats. Enjoy the peaceful, relaxing melody that plays prior to the abrupt transition into undersea hell.

Stage 2 - This is a dark, scary stage with dark, scary music, but its neon inhabitants are actually very pretty.

Stage 3 - An underwater snowfall lends beauty to a level featuring awesome creatures such as stingrays, tiger fish, hammerhead sharks, and swordfish that streak forward like self-launching missiles. The only problem is the carnival music.

Stage 4 - Your final destination is an elegant but danger-ridden sea palace. Pray for the best when the urchin downpour begins. Your enemies here, particularly the octopi, are fast and relentless.

And here is the Deep Blue enemy-leader contingent, a wonderful group of aquatic giants that ranks among my favorite PCE-shooter boss casts. These guys really don't do all that much aside from drifting about and sending smaller beasts your way, but they look very cool (with the possible exception of the strangely sad-faced sea horse). Prepare for a nasty surprise if you manage to defeat the mollusc lord at the "end."

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