When you first unpack Sea Rogue, your attention is immediately drawn to the impressive 160+ page manual. At the very least, the game serves as a veritable compendium of real life ship wrecks from most of the major shipping and sailing lanes throughout the globe. More than 270 actual shipwrecks are awaiting discovery in the vast seas of Sea Rogue. Historical shipwrecks are depicted in major areas such as the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic Ocean, Bermuda, United States' coasts, Canada, Newfoundland, Greenland, the British Isles, the Netherlands, France, Spain and Portugal. Types of treasures range from sunken battleships (e.g., Bismarck) to luxury liners (e.g. Titanic) with a full range of ship types in between. Included in the impressive manual is a 15-page tutorial that walks you through your first shipwreck and combat possibilities. Combat? Yes, the Sea Rogue watery world is inhabited by many devious and bad characters who are only too happy to jump your claim, hijack your treasures and blow you out of the water. Not only must you find the wrecks but you have to be prepared to defend your acquisitions as well. Unfortunately, the fact that Sea Rogue attempts to do so much leads to one of the more serious drawbacks to the game. As a quick glance at the 'instructions' portion of this game will reveal, Sea Rogue nearly drowns in its own morass of controls, very similar in complexity to another seafaring war game, Red Storm Rising. Novices will quite likely find the control of the game much too confusing to allow for smooth enjoyment until the controls are mastered.
Gameplay is an involved mix of selecting your diving crew (each with specific skills), outfitting your ships (you start on a trawler that's not too removed from being a wreck itself), attaining experience in areas of weaponry, diving, buying the most and best equipment for the least price (black market weapons and equipment are available), finding information on wrecks (taverns, maps, libraries) and honing navigational skills to find them. A vast array of underwater gear is available for use and you can control up to four divers simultaneously, keeping a wary eye out for dangerous sea creatures, bad currents, evil interlopers and maintaining oxygen levels. As your experience grows, so does the level of ship you command, eventually culminating in command of the Sea Rogue, a high-tech submarine with a state-of-the-art probe capability for the more dangerous locations (watch those cave-ins!). A wide range of options makes the game customizable and lessens the difficulty by allowing features such as automatic wreck and treasure map identification as well as instant decoding of messages (recommended for the novice player). Minor gripes include lack of meaningful role playing aspects as almost all on-shore interaction is repetitive, a somewhat limited variety of treasures to find (although the number of wrecks available is impressive) and unrefined combat and simulation modes. The sheer size of the gaming world is a plus and the thrill of discovery will provide most players with a positive experience in playing Sea Rogue.
Graphics: Graphics were dated even when the game was released in 1992. Simplistic in nature, most scenes and maps instill little enthusiasm. Unfortunately, the overall presentation seems bland.
Sound: Adequate but uninspired.
Enjoyment: Tough call. The background and research are top notch but the actual play bogs down in familiarity and repetition. However, the vastness of the game world and the superb depiction of over 270 real life wrecks affords the would be Jacques Cousteau a full experience of treasure hunting thrills.
Replay Value: With over 270 plotted wrecks to track down, replay value should be assured. Unfortunately, the overall shell of the game is too repetitive to provide prolonged enjoyment for any but the most die hard treasure hunters.
In Sea Rogue you assume command of a five person treasure hunting team that searches possible underwater sites for sunken treasure and artifacts. Sea Rogue allows the player to train the crew for different roles, for example divers that search the wreck while trying to stay out of the way of sharks, scientists that conduct research and examine historical artifacts and engineers that take care of the mechanical operation of your ship or submarine. Real-life shipwrecks are present in the game, including the Titanic. Of course, you have a rival for most of the game who is known as 'Evil Eddy' - the richest man in the world - and the goal of the game is to beat Eddy by becoming rich enough to purchase the ultimate submarine: the Sea Rogue.
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