Video Game: Sewer Shark

"And what's my payback? A million pounds of tubesteak!"
Ghost

Sewer Shark is a first-person rail shooter that was sold with the ill-fated Sega CD console, and shortly afterwards ported to the equally ill-fated 3DO console (with somewhat higher quality audio and videos than the Sega CD version). The game was made by Digital Pictures, the company who also made such classics as Make My Video, Night Trap and Corpse Killer.

Set Twenty Minutes into the Future, it centers around "sewer jockeys", exterminators hired to clean the sewers of dangerous mutant vermin using flying ships and gatling guns. Gameplay-wise, it's fairly average rail shooter - mostly, it's known for being the first video game for a game console to use Full Motion Video for its primary gameplay and for its memorable cutscenes.

This game contains examples of:

  • A Sewer Jockey Is You
  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: They would have to be to fit gunships inside.
  • Ace Pilot: Ghost. And he knows it.
  • Action Girl: Falco, though you never technically get to see her in actual...you know...ACTION. Her badassery is pretty much implied through the opening intro, where both she AND Ghost basically tell you that any LIVING pilots automatically get conferred the title of Badass in the sewers.
    • She gets kidnapped by Stenchler later on as well, so she seems to lean more towards Faux Action Girl.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The moles, which are the primary enemies in the third level.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Giant mutant scorpions, giant mutant bats, and GIANT MUTANT BRAIN-EATING FIREFLIES.
  • Attack of the Killer Whatever: GIANT MUTANT BRAIN-EATING FIREFLIES
  • Bad Boss: Stenchler
  • Bat out of Hell
  • Brain Food: Many people have had their brains eaten by zerks, which are GIANT MUTANT BRAIN-EATING FIREFLIES.
  • Commander Contrarian: Your wingman is a supremely arrogant (but talented) pilot who goes by the name of Ghost.
  • Cowboy Cop: Ghost's weaponry is "not all strictly legal, BUT IT JUST MIGHT keep you off the wall.".
  • Damsel in Distress: Falco gets kidnapped by Stenchler for no apparent reason.
  • Dangerous Workplace: Sewer jockeying is extremely high-risk employment, so much so that Ghost burns through co-pilots like Kleenex.
  • Down the Drain: Possibly the only game where every single level is this.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Ghost
  • Exposition Fairy: Catfish
  • Fat Bastard: Commissioner Stenchler
  • Follow That Car: The player and Ghost tailing the "Crazy Looking Thing" through the sewers to navigate Sector 19.
  • For Happiness: Complete this one job, and you and Ghost won't have to clean the sewers anymore; you can kick back and relax in Solar City.
  • Forbidden Zone: Sector 19. Stenchler has it off-limits because it's what actually leads to Solar City.
  • Full Motion Video
  • Future Slang: With a bit of Totally Radical thrown in.
  • Gatling Good: Your regular gun, but also Sweet Little 16.note  There's even an awesome video of Sweet Little 16 in action.
  • Get Out: Failing to please Ghost results in one of these tantrums. Have fun flying a desk, spud-brain.
  • Girl Friday: Stenchler's assistant is actually credited as Girl Friday.
  • Hawaiian-Shirted Tourist: Catfish dons a straw hat and lei by the time you reach the resort.
  • Heel-Face Turn: Girl Friday declares mutiny on Stenchler just before the whole brain-eating fireflies thing. In fact, he uses them to drive her and her supporters away.
  • Hollywood Density: Zerks are listed in the manual as weighing over two tons each... and yet Stenchler can lift a crate filled with them with absolutely no trouble.
  • Incoming Ham: "WELCOME TO THE SEWERS, PUNK!" Has the added benefit of being yelled directly into the camera during an uncomfortable closeup, as is the case with literally every other line of Underwood's dialogue. The intro is nothing but Underwood yelling hammy lines into the camera while overly-intense music punctuates his manly exlamations. It's actually kind of awesome.
  • Jerkass: Stenchler
  • The Lancer: Ghost (the "greatest co-pilot to ever shoot the tubes"), though he's something of an inversion because of his mentor-like experience and the fact that HE'S the one who gets the girl, Falco, in the end. Of course, there's MANY other tropes that Ghost fits into simultaneously, but most notably Cynical Mentor.
  • Mad Libs Dialogue "The critter's at... three... niner... three."
  • Medium Awareness: Girl Friday, if the player performs well enough, will compliment his "virtuoso performance on a joystick."
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: Ratigators (rat/alligator hybrids), which are one of the main enemies.
  • Mutants: Most of the sewer vermin are giant mutant animals, which include GIANT MUTANT BRAIN-EATING FIREFLIES.
  • No Fourth Wall: A somewhat literal example - Stenchler's "office" is a facade, and at the end he tries to flee by running through the nonexistant fourth wall.
  • No Indoor Voice: "SHOOT THE TUBES DOGMEAT!"
  • Nonstandard Game Over: Each checkpoint has a (hidden) required score and a target score.note  Where your score is in relation to these values determines the exact cutscenes you get at each one, but being below the required score results in Ghost effectively kicking you out.
    • Thankfully, after a certain point, the required score is dropped altogether. Unfortunately, this is at the last two levels of the game.
    • At one point, Ghost will order you to get ready and fire your weapon during a test. If you assume that this isn't an interactive portion of the game and flub it, Ghost gets totally pissed off at you, fails you, and the game's credits roll.
  • One-Hit Kill: A few things:
    • Forgetting the sequence of turns given to you at the start of most sections results in a crash.
      • This gets worse in two cases - in one case, you're only given the direction as audio. In the other, you're following a bird and have to make the turns when it does.
    • Missing an exploding enemy causes your ship to detonate.
      • Additionally, failing replenish your hydrogennote  after destroying a certain amount of the same enemies presumably causes both of you pass out and crashnote 
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Ghost, Falco, and the player character, a/k/a Dogmeat, Ratbreath, Exterminator, and Beachbum.
    • Girl Friday, although she doesn't even get the acknowledgment of having her name said or acknowledged in the game itself, you've gotta check the credits.
  • Palmtree Panic: Your intended destination, Solar City, although it isn't playable.
  • Perky Female Minion: Girl Friday
  • Picky People Eater: The aforementioned zerks, which are GIANT MUTANT BRAIN-EATING FIREFLIES.
  • Press X to Not Die: A lot. The most annoying: when you're told to fire the updated gatling gun, despite all appearances, that's not a cutscene - fail to hit the button and you lose instantly.
  • Robot Buddy: Catfish.
  • Rousing Speech: Among gaming's most entertaining to watch.
  • Shoot 'em Up
  • Shout-Out:
    • Ghost will crow about The Stench of Victory.
    • Ghost occassionaly shouts "Don't think! If you think, you're dead.", which is likely paraphrased from Top Gun
    • If the disc is played in a regular CD player, there's a track that (likely) references The Beatles
    (phone rings)
    "Good afternoon, Digital Pictures."
    ".enin rebmun ,enin rebmun ,enin rebmuN"[[note]]This is supposedly also a hint for the game: if you miss a correct a turn, and turn left (AKA: "niner") three times, you won't hit a wall.
  • Stock Footage: Sort of makes sense, since it's in a huge sewer system, but you won't see a lick of footage that isn't recycled in later parts of the game. Often several times.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Your ship on a frustratingly frequent basis.
  • Stupid Boss: Stenchler
  • Trial-and-Error Gameplay: Your ship runs on an energy meter, and if it depletes, you automatically lose. There are 7 recharge stations in the entire game, and at each of them you have to make either a left or right turn into (and no, there is no turn indicator for these at the on-screen direction pad). The exact turns you need to make for each one is static (and thus, can be written down), but the only indication is a green light that shows up too late for you to make the turn. You can afford to miss every other one, though.
  • Twenty Minutes into the Future
  • Villainous Glutton: Stenchler is always eating.

GIANT MUTANT BRAIN-EATING FIREFLIES