|Dev: Nintendo EAD|
|Release: March 27, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: N/A|
by Ryan Cope
Everything in the cinema seems to be 3D these days, so much so that the word 3D even appears in most titles, just like Smurfs 3D. As if this overly enthused equivalent of a fair ground ride isn't popular enough to mainstream audiences, televisions have also been cursed/blessed (depending on one's perspective) with the magic of 3D. So, is it any surprise that 3D would finally make its way to video games? Of course not, but what is surprising is that the pioneer of the new 3D gaming era will be the handheld Nintendo 3DS. What's more impressive is the fact that technology has advanced so much that there's not even need to wear glasses in order to experience the 3D. With the launch in March there are many games ready to make the jump to 3D along with this new portable console, and one such game is Steel Diver.
Back at E3 2004 before the Nintendo DS had been released, there was a launch game called Submarine Demo that demonstrated the touch screen capability for the DS. This simple game about navigating a submarine with a complex set of touch screen switches and flips was never released. Instead it was turned into a full game that was unveiled at E3 2010 as Steel Diver, a launch title for the Nintendo 3DS. This new version still keeps the same concept as the demo but uses the 3DS' stereoscopic display to create a more vibrant game. So much so that it looks like a submarine swimming around in a 3D aquarium.
Steel Diver is a sidescrolling simulation that will allow players to take control of a submarine as they traverse deadly mines, sea monsters, and enemy subs. Not like a normal arcade style shoot-em adventure, this sea vessel navigator game has a tactical approach with intricate controls. The top screen of the 3DS displays the submarine in its environment while the bottom shows the control panel that allows players to set the speed, depth, and trajectory of the sub. The goal of each level is to destroy all of the enemies that overwhelm a certain area. Extra points are given for quickly blasting your enemies into crumply little bits of metal/sea monster chunks, as well as the added bonus of time attack and challenge modes that keep players on their feet (so to speak). As players progress through levels, the difficulty will increase, and avoiding mines while engaging enemy subs in vicious encounters becomes critical.
If you just want a fun shoot-em-up sidescrolling arcade style game, then Steel Diver may not be for you. This game relies heavily on tactical play; planning for a mission and studying a situation is the best strategic approach. Preparing for a mission may be crucial in dictating whether or not players will succeed, as choosing the right submarine and equipping it with different aids will help to determine the outcome. There are three different classes of submarines, and each one has its own good and bad points as well as changeable perks. Certain subs are suited for different levels and types of enemies, so choose well before you go into the depths of the wild sea and face off against the evils of the deep. If your sub gets hit too much, it will become damaged and leaks will crop up in the broken areas. Water will begin to flood the sub, and it will be up to players to use the touch screen controls to stop the deadly flow.
What makes Steel Diver stand out from the average sidescroller (other than its tactical association and complicated control system) is the seamless flow between third-person to first-person perspectives. While bobbing up and down in the water, players will view enemy subs through a periscope in first-person which allows for more accurate torpedo firing. As if this doesn't sound fun enough, the Nintendo 3DS comes with a built in gyroscope that controls the periscope when players spin their entire body. Then by lightly tapping the touch screen a blazing fire of torpedoes will launch at a crowd of unaware foes.
If the prospect of blasting enemy subs and sea creatures alone doesn't float your boat, then why not give the Steel Commander game a go? This is a two-player mode that allows players to compete against friends locally from one 3DS to another. Focusing a lot more on strategy rather than action, players are give a chess-like turn based challenge where they must both command a fleet of ships and subs and pit them against each other. Steel Commander sounds like Battleship but with a bit more action, first-person torpedo firing and some pretty impressive glasses-free 3D.
The Nintendo DS is hitting the shelves soon. From the looks of it, Steel Diver will offer players a tactical action sidescrolling adventure filled with torpedoes galore. Amongst games like Super Monkey Ball 3D, The Sims 3D and Pilotwings Resort, Steel Diver will fit in right at home with this new and exciting three-dimensional mode of gaming.
CCC Freelance Writer