Video Game / Critical Depth

Back in 1997, Singletrac, the developers of Twisted Metal, produced another Vehicular Combat game under GT Interactive for the PlayStation. Its main difference was that the players would battle in various undersea battlegrounds with a variety of dangerous and bizarre submarines. There was also more Back Story given to flesh out its many combatants and factions.

The plot involves a series of mysterious pods appearing in oceans across the world, which attracts a number of treasure hunters, governments and organizations to try and discover their purpose and use them for their various desires. Each level contains five pods which all must be collected to activate a Threshold that leads to the next level.


Fighting for the pods and threshold are:
  • The C.I.A., who believe the pods to be of extraterrisial origin and intend to keep anyone else from discovering its secret. Pilots the Manta
  • The Soviet Die Hards, a trio of former Soviet military and government leaders attempting to resurrect the Soviet Union. Pilots the Stalingrad,
  • The French Oceanographers, who believe that the pods are living creatures and intend to finally get some respect from their peers. Pilots the La Griffe.
  • Dr. A. Pocalypse, Mad Scientist who wishes to wipe out the rest of humanity and repopulate it with a more superior race. Pilots the Armageddon.
  • The Order of Nishroch, a cult believing the pods to be a sign of the Apocalypse from their god Zonrad. Pilots the Ohm.
  • Team Earth Hope, a pair of enviromentalists intending to kill anyone attempting to take what they believe are natural wonders. Pilots the Siren's Song.
  • Captain Cutlass, disgruntled former children's-show host turned full-blown Pirate. Pilots the Sea Dog.
  • The Mordrid Corporation., run by Dana Nadel, who intends to use the pods for an alternative energy source or whatever for profits. Pilots the Bottom Liner.
  • The Venganza Liberation Organization, a group determined to end oppression and exploitation of Venganza. Pilots the Anarchy.
  • Joe Skullion, a Surfer Dude who's there for thrills and finding spiritual peace. Pilots the Death Sled.
  • Professor Armstrong, Adventurer Archaeologist who believes the pods to come from an ancient race. Pilots the Archimedes.
  • Jack ''Lock Jaw''' Keon, Prof. Armstrong's protégé-turned-rival, aiming to add the pods to his private collection. Pilots the Lockjaw.
  • Mr. Phatt, arms-dealer and alter alias of Sebastion Titan, another Corrupt Corporate Executive with a strong understanding of the pods and thresholds. Pilots the Kronos.
  • Agent 326, British secret agent sent to stop Dr. Pocalypse's plans. Pilots the Barracuda.
  • Abaddon, robotic servant to Dr. Pocalypse, who is programmed to help achieve Pocalypse's plan to the point where it will turn against Pocalypse to achieve such goal. Pilots the Razor Fin.
  • The Overseer, a Cephalopod left on Earth thousands of years ago, now trying to stop humans from collecting the pods. Pilots the Hydro Spydor.

This game also contains examples of:
  • Aliens Steal Cattle: The C.I.A. provide an alien race with fresh bovine placentas in return for their staying under wraps.
  • Amphibious Automobile: Agent 326's Barracuda, and a rather fancy one at that.
  • Arrows on Fire: Yes, they do work underwater. And with homing capabilities, to boot.
  • As You Know: In story mode, here's usually some form of exposition on what exactly the pods do. Though by the time you come across it, you already have pretty much the whole picture.
  • Bag of Spilling: The game won't let you use old pods in new areas.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: The Cephalopods have a track record as bad as Calypso when it comes to this. Joe Skullion and Captain Cutlass are the few who come out on top.
  • Captain's Log: Seen before each level/map in story mode, usually as a diary by your chosen character.
  • Combos: You're rewarded for chaining different weapons/attacks against one enemy sup. You even unlock Mr. Phatt this way, by finishing him off with a combo that does a certain amount of damage.
  • Cool Boat: Basically the whole point of the game.
  • Cyanide Pill: The C.I.A. refers to them as "Patriot Pills".
  • Die, Chair! Die!: Every map has a lot of destructible objects...including fish that explode into gory sushi when shot.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: But not in the way you might think: The Mr. Phatt you battle in Missions mode is later revealed to be an impostor.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After losing his job and gaining a taste of blood through out the story, Captain Cutlass becomes a space pirate with his own ship and crew and is having a blast doing so.
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: If you play on the lowest difficulty, story mode won't continue past Mr. Phatt. You'll even get some text basically telling you, "Want to see what happens next? Then quit playing Easy, wimp!"
  • Gotta Catch Them All: The pods in each map.
  • If It Swims, It Flies: Inverted—The Bottom Liner is a modified private jet.
  • Karmic Death: Some characters' endings qualify:
  • Literal Genie: Like Calypso in Twisted Metal, the Cephalopods tend to be this. Unlike Calypso, they're not actively malicious in most endings and often don't seem to realize they're inflicting ironic, painful fates:
    • The Soviet Die Hards want to restore the Soviet Union and Communism, which is regularly referred to in their storyline as "every person being an equal part of a larger whole". The Cephalopods grotesquely combine every person on Earth into one giant... thing.
    • Doctor Pocalypse is forcibly given a repulsive female Cephalopod to replace Evelyn with because the Cephalopds actually notice that she's only there for the Fanservice and he needs a being with "higher intelligence" to procreate with.
    • The Order of Nisroch is told their god Zornad has been asleep right under their noses in the ocean, and the Cephalopods awaken him for the Order to commune with. Zornad is an Eldritch Abomination and he promptly eats them.
    • The V.L.O wish to end the oppression of their nation by other countries. The Cephalopods ensure this by drowning everyone else.
  • The Men in Black: The C.I.A., of course. They even sport fedoras!
  • Mission Briefing: Some of the pre-level Captains' Logs take this form; most notably the C.I.A.
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous: the Cephalopod race, as well as Abaddon
  • Multiple Endings: One for each character.
  • News Travels Fast: Apparently, news of mysterious pods and a network of portals around the world spread fast enough for all of the various factions to learn of them, acquire combat submarines, and all go after them at once.
  • No Fair Cheating: No points or unlockables are given if you use cheats.
  • Pacifist Run: It is not necessary to destroy the other subs; just grab the pods and leave. Death Match mode, however, just focuses on killing everyone.
  • Power-Up: The pods. Each one gives your sub a buff in some aspect (shielding, health, etc.)
  • Meaningful Name: Dr. Adam Pocalypse and mate Evelyn.
  • Sapient Cetaceans: The Cephalopod race had intended for dolphins to rule the earth. In Team Earth Hope's ending they are dismayed to find humans have taken over after millions of years, and vow to fix the situation.
  • Stripperiffic: Evelyn appears in only a lab coat and jeans.
  • The Chosen One: Joe Skullion is apparently the Cephalopods' chosen one.
  • The Juggernaut: The Soviet Die Hards' Stalingard sub and, later, Mr. Phatt's Kronos.
  • Threshold Guardians: (The five Cephalopods).
  • Videogame Cruelty Potential: Blowing up various aquatic lifeforms. Even more ironic when using Team Earth Hope to do it.
  • Water Is Air: Zig-zagged. Your sub will take damage if you go to especially deep water, but otherwise battles look and feel more like fighting with planes than with submarines. (To the point of one playable sub being a modified plane!)
  • Worthy Opponent: Joe Skullion laments in his between-level diary that he's getting bored of mopping the floor with his opponents in the early levels. Then Mr. Phatt comes along...

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