Sewer Shark is a simple on-the-rails shoot-'em-up game where player, piloting a customised "sewer shark" vehicle named "Hole Hawg", is tasked with cleaning up a large sewer network by shooting various creatures. Despite being labeled as the "sewer jockey" (pilot) most of the game involves aiming a target reticule with the D-Pad, and firing a "gattling gun" with .
Only limited control is given to the Hole Hawg's movements - if travelling over an intersection, holding and using the D-Pad allows the sewer shark to turn 90 degrees in another direction, assuming there is a tunnel to travel down. There is no specific route in Sewer Shark, and the game rarely dictates that you travel in a certain direction, however failing to react to a turn can cause the Hole Hawg to crash and the game end.
The Hole Hawg cannot be damaged during normal play (save for the "scorpion" enemies which appear in the latter half), however "energy" depletes over time, requiring the player to visit charging stations. Instead, the game is played for points, with navigation robot "Catfish" sometimes recommending directions towards more infested routes (and who has to detonate hydrogen-filled areas). Your co-pilot, "Ghost" also shouts at advice at you, and is also a feature of full motion video cutscenes which break up the action.
A set of full motion clips is used to simulate travelling through the sewers, and remain constant throughout the game, however as time progresses, the player's calling sign is "upgraded" (Dogmeat, Ratbreath, Exterminator, Beachbum) and the music changes. Enemies are a mixture of creatures baked into the full motion video and sprites overlaid on the screen. All in-game music is generated by the Sega Mega Drive's audio chips, as opposed to higher quality audio streamed off the CD-ROM.
The game will finish after roughly 40 minutes of play, with the plot resolving itself regardless of the player's actions.
As with Night Trap, Sewer Shark was originally intended for release on Hasbro's cancelled Control-Vision (codenamed NEMO) console - a system that used VHS cassettes as opposed to ROM cartridges. Digital Pictures subsequently picked up the rights to bring the project to the Mega-CD.
On the Control-Vision, Sewer Shark, like Night Trap used four separate video streams which are read simultaneously, allowing for the game to react without the need noticeable loading of data. To achieve this on the Mega-CD, all of the footage was compressed using a bespoke video codec, meaning most of the game is viewed with a border. Night Trap uses similar technology, as does the later produced Prize Fighter.
In North America, 100,000 copies of the Mega-CD game were sold prior to being packed-in with the console.
Following its Mega-CD launch, Digital Pictures ported the game to the 3DO platform for release in 1994. While gameplay remains largely unchanged, the 3DO version renders at a higher resolution in more colours, bringing the footage closer to the intended VHS quality.
Source: In-game credits
Ghost: David Underwood
Stenchler: Roberty Costanza
Falco: Kari G. Payton
Girl Friday: Stevie Sterling
Voice of Catfish: Robert Weaver
Production Coordinator: Craig Boyajian
Tunnel Music Composed by: Mark Mothersbaugh
Tunnel Music Orchestrated and Arranged by: Mark Miller
Incidental Music Composed by: Tom Ferguson, Jay Ferguson
Sound Effects: Jason Scher, Mark Miller
Sound: Robert Weaver
Motion Control Puppets: Chiodo Bros. Productions
Effects Supervisor: Peter Donen
For Apogee, Inc
Executive Producer: Bob Shepherd
Producer: Jo Ann Knox
Production Coordinator: Geri Robert
Staff Production Coordinator: Michael Yost
Assistant Director: Harry Wypich
Director of Photography: Bob Collins
Assistant Camera: Gary Andertin
Gaffer: Bob Jason
Key Grip: Mark Kuramoto
Script Supervisor: Morgan
Chief Model Maker: Tom Pahk
Prototype Engineer: Mike Sorensen
Sound Mixer: Susan Chong
Boom Operator: Eric Carr
Home Economist: Barbara Gray
Stylist: Debbie Shine
Production Designer: Jack McAdams
Casting: Sandra Merrill
Production Assistants: Jeff Fridlund, Holly Fernandez
Business Affairs: Barry Tyerman, Armstrong & Hirsch
Intellectual Property: David Hayes, Fenwick & West
Additional Programming: Steve DeFrisco, Ken Soohoo
Testers: David Pier, Matt Kellner
Production Assistants: Dena Maheras, Malia Lewis
V.P. Engineering: Mark Klein
Director, Computer Graphics: Lode Coen
Computer Graphic Animation: Cuyler Gee
Interface Design: Joshua Solomon
Production Accountant: Anne Flautt Read
The events and characters depicted in this photoplay are fictitous. Any similarity to actual persons living or dead is purely coincidental.
Ownership of this interactive U-Direct™ motion picture is protected by copyright, patent, and other applicable laws. Any unauthorized duplication, distribution, or exhibition of this interactive U-Direct motion picture could result in criminal prosecution as well as civil liability.
Filmed in Hollywood, California and on location at Sunset Beach, North Shore, Oahu, Hawaii.
Sewer Shark, Ratigator, Zerk, and Crazy Looking Thing are trademarks of Hasbro, Inc.