Under the Sea

How exactly is he riding that swordfish?

Aquatic levels have been a staple of Nintendo games since Super Mario Bros., but can be seen in other games as well. Typical underwater enemies are sharks, octopuses, electric eels, and jellyfish (and sometimes Electric Jellyfish). Expect some Underwater Ruins every now and again for decoration.

Human heroes, such as Mario, often swim fully clothed, without being weighed down or otherwise impeded — it's as if Water Is Air.

Of course, there are three problems with the underwater level: one, swimming, two, slower movement, and three, drowning. (Or not.) Down the Drain levels are especially prone to special water-based hazards and hindrances, as detailed on that page.

Compare Shark Tunnel. These can enter That One Level territory, depending on how difficult it is to swim or how little the Oxygen meter is.

Named for the Oscar-winning song from The Little Mermaid.

Single-Level Examples:

Action Adventure
  • Water levels abound in almost every The Legend of Zelda game:
    • This is actually averted for The Wind Waker, surprisingly considering where the game takes place. There are no true underwater dungeons and the water is opaque and cannot be dove into or even swam in for more than a short period. The closest example of a water level in Wind Waker is the Tower of the Gods, which only features water rising and lowering at timed intervals on the first floor.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time's Water Temple was so bad that the Master Quest rerelease (which upped the difficulty in all levels) is said to be easier than the original. Which means they replaced one of the rooms with one that had half a dozen Stalfos in it. Problems include slow mobility through the submerged hallways, and backtracking between water level switch areas numerous times, which involved many treks through said hallways. Time after time you had to go in circles, Hookshotting every which way to collect keys, adjust water levels, and avoid enemies with indestructible shells. Then the battle with Dark Link will take a large amount of HP out of you, though it can be replaced by MP loss if you have Din's Fire, and both could be lowered by doing the trading sidequest for the Biggoron's Sword (or the Megaton Hammer, which most players will have by that point in the game). And then when you get the Longshot, you have to go down this river where there are several whirlpools that act like bottomless pits, forcing you to start over. And then you have to get the Big Key to fight Morpha, who is relatively easy, but has a chance to do 5 Hearts of damage by simply using his standard attack, if you're unlucky.
    • The Nintendo 3DS remake has the Water Temple as the only dungeon with substantial changes beyond the obvious cosmetic changes, such as color-coding the paths that you need to follow to change the water level, and making the Iron Boots a button-based item, eliminating the menu-switching problem.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask has the entire ocean province known as the Great Bay. Within the Great Bay is the Great Bay Temple, where the puzzles revolve around trying to get the water to keep flowing through to a central point of the dungeon.
    • Oracle Of Ages has an actual seafloor as part of the overworld, though it contains rather little of interest.
  • Primal has a full-blown underwater level. Jen is given the Undine form to work and fight underwater while swimming. In an inversion of Super Drowning Skills, Jen's water form loses health when out of water, and cannot take so much as a step on dry land. Scree, being made of stone, just sinks and walks.
  • The Dragon Palace in Ōkami is completely underwater, but the controls are identical to playing above land - jumping, gravity, et al. That includes small ponds that you can drown in. Underwater. (You can also shake off this underwater water.)
  • Blaster Master's Stage 5, in addition to having a That One Boss, is almost entirely underwater, so your Rover moves and jumps really slowly, and you don't get the swimming ability for it until after you beat the boss, so to reach certain parts you are forced to swim in just your space suit, making you a sitting duck for the otherwise weak Mooks.
  • DeepDive from An Untitled Story. A vertical shaft of water. Your oxygen is limited, but there are several air sources and Oxygen Meter expansions to survive.
  • The Metroid Vania Castlevania games often have a water level. Castlevania: Circle of the Moon's is mostly only shallow puddles of water, and Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin has just a single boss, but the rest feature full underwater levels where you're slower and you can jump infinitely in the water. Usually an upgrade is needed to get this far. Order of Ecclesia has two such levels.
  • Alundra has the optional dungeon Fairy Pond which takes place mostly underwater and houses one of the best swords in the game in it.
  • Half of the NES game Jaws is fighting sealife underwater. Other half has you sailing your boat between two ports purchasing power ups.
  • Jables's Adventure has a few underwater areas, featuring fish enemies, a mermaid, and a SCUBA-diving bear.
  • The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game for NES had the dam stage where you had to disarm eight bombs underwater.
  • A Valley Without Wind has both Coastal and Shallow Ocean type areas. Coasts are fairly normal areas with large water hazards, but the oceans are a different beast. It's dark, it's oppressive and reaching the surface takes a full minute. But that's okay, since the acid water will kill you so quickly drowning isn't even modeled, and that's not even starting on the mutated wildlife. Blue Whales make terrifying hostiles when they're about as big as you'd expect, and the less said about Black Whales, the better.

Action Game
  • Jungle Hunt has one level where the hero attacks crocodiles while swimming.
  • The submarine levels in various Metal Slug games. Stage 5 of Metal Slug 4 takes place on a military cruiser, with pirates put in as the Middle-Eastern sword throwers from Metal Slug 2 with recolored sprites. The stage itself can be quite difficult until you manage to work your way around the many projectiles. Click to see the level.
  • In Spider-Man and the X-Men in Arcade's Revenge, Storm's levels take place underwater, presumably so the developers wouldn't have to deal with the fact that Storm can fly. These levels are actually the least Nintendo Hard in the game.
  • Tomb Raider
    • Tomb Raider II has large part of the game set in a sunken ship, and Chronicles has a section of the game set in a submarine, and the sea around it.
    • Tomb Raider Underworld fits this trope more than the past titles as some of the stages take places in the Mediterranean sea and later the Arctic sea with underwater temples and so it has more emphasis in underwater gameplay.
  • The filtration plant in Shatterhand.
  • Captain America and the Avengers has Scene 3: "Challenge from the Bottom of the Sea," which is only part underwater.

Fighting Game
  • The final fight in Virtua Fighter 2 was underwater, slowing your movement.

First-Person Shooter

  • The climax of zOMG's first chapter take place almost entirely under the ocean. Luckily, you've just been granted the power to breathe underwater.
  • There's also Aqua Road of MapleStory.
  • Kingdom of Loathing has underwater zones for leveling up post-ascension, but they're the least attractive option due to poor returns. Adventuring there costs 2 adventures rather than the standard 1, requires equipment that eliminates item drops and removes or reduces familiar bonuses, and the areas do not drop money.
  • Vashj'ir in World of Warcraft.

Platform Game

Puzzle Game
  • Repton Around the World includes the Oceans scenario, considered to be the game's most difficult.

Racing Game
  • Super Indie Karts has the Shutshimi track Seaweed Speedway, an underwater track where you see various sea creatures, including a jellyfish that can spin you out when you run into it.

Role-Playing Game
  • Atlantica in Kingdom Hearts, which is a world based on The Little Mermaid, the Trope Namer. Unfortunately, many players didn't like the level thanks to its unintuitive control scheme, so the developers "fixed" it for the sequel by replacing it with a (thankfully optional) rhythm game.
  • Final Fantasy VI has the Serpent Trench, in which three party members all cram their heads into one diving helmet and ride an underwater current while fighting various aquatic enemies, occasionally stopping at half-submerged caves to raid Inexplicable Treasure Chests.
  • There is no specific underwater level in Final Fantasy X but the game has three party members able to breathe underwater so various parts of Spira have underwater access such as Besaid Island, Mt Gagazet, Baaj Temple and the Submerged Ruins where your characters are able to fight underwater too.
  • The Atlantis mission in Marvel Ultimate Alliance The difficulty of operating underwater is technobabbled away by the presence of special nanites that allow the heroes to survive and fight even while underwater. Considering characters like Storm, Silver Surfer and Ghost Rider can already do fine underwater, they could have just let everyone else sit out.
  • The final quest on Manaan in Knights of the Old Republic requires you to walk at the bottom of the ocean in a protective suit that slows you down to turtle-speed, while avoiding the dangerous wildlife. For many players, it counts as That One Level.
  • Wizardry 8 has the Bayjin Shallows and Mount Gigas Water Caves. Despite preventing fire magic from working, the water areas are not the resident Scrappy Level. That title is reserved for Bayjin, the Palmtree Panic level you're trekking underwater to get to.
  • In Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, the Dive HM makes it possible to go underwater in certain regions of Hoenn. In fact, this is the only way to reach certain areas, like the entrance to Sootopolis City. Then Dive returns in Pokémon Black and White, though it doesn't see nearly as much use. In Ruby & Sapphire's remakes, more is added to the diving areas including a new class of trainers.
  • Bottomsup Bay in Fossil Fighters. The player walks fully-clothed along the bottom of the ocean, looking for fossils. There are also sharks when the area is first unlocked.
  • Mother 3 has the Sea Floor Dungeon between Tazmily Village and Tanetane Island. Lucas and company can't run underwater, and can only replenish their oxygen meter by kissing robotic mermen who breathe the air into them.
  • Appears in some games in the Might and Magic series
    • The Shoals in VII, entered late in the game. You can't cast magic, you have to wear wetsuits (which prohibits you from wearing or using any other kind of equipment, except for Blasters) and the mechanism for getting you there means you can't prepare yourself for it by casting buffs before you enter. On the plus side, there's no problem with swimming (it works like flying, except you sink - slowly - if you stop), and the sharks infesting the area are weak enough that by the time you reach the Shoals, the only reason they are something of a threat is the aforementioned limitations on magic and equipment.
    • The Elemental Plane of Water in VIII. Much closer to ordinary areas, as no wetsuit (with accompanying restrictions) is needed this time (the game doesn't explain why, though it might be because it is an elemental plane rather than a mundane underwater area) but there's a greater variety in foes, some of which have ranged attacks. The swimming mechanics are the same, though.
  • Dokapon Kingdom has the Sunken Shrine, where you find the Ancient Technology to turn yourself into a Robo Knight.
  • In Robopon, if you have any fishlike Robopon you can dive under the water to an interconnected undersea labyrinth. It also has one of the best tunes in the game.

Shoot 'em Up

Simulation Game
  • One mission in MechWarrior 2: Ghost Bear's Legacy involved attacking an enemy base underwater. You cannot customize your mech, and the 95-ton Executioner handles underwater about as well as you think it would. The visibility is very poor, making you nearly blind at anything beyond knife-fight range (but the AI can see you just fine). The only weapons you have are powerful but slow-moving PPCs and even slower-moving torpedoes, and you face hordes of enemy mechs. But the worst thing is that if you take a single hit to internal structure, even if it's not a critical hit, that entire section of your mech will be destroyed by flooding. So if your torso section loses its armor, it's game over. This is also That One Level.

Sports Game
  • One field in Backyard Baseball is the Aquadome, which is completely underwater. Yet the characters can still breathe...

Entire games/works that take place Under the Sea:

Comic Books



  • The song "Where Is My Mind?" by The Pixies from Surfer Rosa was inspired by scuba diving.
  • In A Bar, Under The Sea by dEUS refers to being under the sea in the album title, as well as the protagonist in "Disappointed In The Sun" who dives in the sea to go to an underwater bar.

  • Barracora is set around a mysterious underwater city populated by unusual humanoid mermaids and their barracuda.
  • "The Abyss" table of Psycho Pinball takes place entirely underwater.
  • Fathom takes place beneath a deadly Bermuda lagoon.

Tabletop Game

Theme Parks

Video Games

Western Animation
  • Van Beuren Studios:
    • Most of the Tom & Jerry cartoon "The Rocketeers" is set underwater, after Tom and Jerry's attempt to fly off on a rocket goes haywire.
    • "The Haunted Ship", starring Waffles the Cat and Don the Dog, is also set almost entirely underwater.
  • ReBoot has a game that was entirely underwater. It was used to introduce Andraia.
  • Jabberjaw took place in an era where mankind had developed civilizations underwater.
  • Sea Princesses takes place in the underwater world of Salacia, home of numerous kingdoms named after sea creatures.

Alternative Title(s):

Water Level