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Video Game / Deep Fear

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Underwater, no one can you scream.

Deep Fear is a 1998 Survival Horror game for Sega Saturn, known for being the last Saturn game to reach Europe.

The player controls John Mayor from the ERS, a sort of civilian mercenary group specialised in rescues, stationed in the Big Table, an underwater army base. As the game begins, the submarine Sea Fox delivers to the base a capsule which recently fell out from space. Suddenly, the submarine inexplicably crashes, opening all its nuclear missiles hatches. John manages to go in the wreck and deactivate the hatches, but something came from the Sea Fox to the Big Table...

Deep Fear is Resident Evil IN THE OCEAN! The main feature that sets it apart from Resident Evil is that it has an Oxygen Meter that decreases as you move. To complicate matters, certain areas have less air than others, so time is of the essence.

The music is composed by Kenji Kawai, who also composed Ghost in the Shell.

The Tropes associated with this game are:

  • Anyone Can Die ...and almost everyone does. The only survivors are John, Andrew (Sharon's dolphin), and Rambo (Anna's bulldog).
  • April Fools' Plot: The entire game takes place during April 1st, 199X. The game starts off with Mookie and Sharon playing a joke on John. Not soon after, when John informs Clancy of the monsters, Clancy's initially inclined to believe it's just a practical joke.
  • Artistic License – Military: For some reason, the man in charge of the Navy SEALs is called Colonel, despite the fact that there are no colonels in the Navy. (The Navy equivalent of a colonel is a captain.) Also, for some reason an Army Colonel is in charge of an underwater base.
    • Near the beginning, John Mayor has to get two keys to deactivate the launch of nuclear missiles from the submarine "Sea Fox". This much mirrors the real-life security system PAL's two-man rule. What doesn't match it is how both keyholes are within arm's reach from one spot, allowing John to turn both keys at once...
  • Beneficial Disease: Downplayed; Having a Cold protects John from The Virus.
  • Bishōnen Line: The first form of the final boss is something resembling a Blob Monster. However, its final form is Gena transformed into a glowing and rather attractive fairy-like creature. It definitely stands out amongst all the Body Horror found elsewhere in the game.
  • Bittersweet Ending: John survives and puts a stop to the virus before it can spread to the rest of the planet... but fails to save any of the other human characters.
  • Black Dude Dies First: While a fair number of mostly white people die first, Mookie is the first named character to die.
  • Blatant Item Placement: An admitted flaw is that there are so many items placed everywhere that there's hardly any challenge to the gameplay.
  • Camp/Just a Stupid Accent: Dubois Amalric. His voice is so flamboyantly gay-sounding, it's hard for it to be anything else.
  • Collapsing Lair: The entire Big Table implodes in spectacular fashion near the end, after accumulating too much damage over the course of the game.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The Navy SEALs don't last very long against the monsters and are wiped out within a minute or two.
  • Death Equals Redemption: Gena realizes the errors of her ways after she's gunned down by John when she attacks him after turning into a monster. She gives him the key to activate the self-destruct and motivates him to leave in the escape pod after he laments being unable to save even her. She also pulls a Taking You with Me on Anthony when he tries to get in the escape pod with John.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: It turns out the source of the infection was Gena's chimp Anthony, who was really a NASA chimp that had been floating in space for decades, causing the bacteria in his body to mutate due to cosmic radiation exposure. Also, Clancy and Gena were behind the secret viral research that ended up causing the outbreak.
  • Do Not Run with a Gun: Averted. John can walk and run even with his gun ready to shoot.
  • Expy: Anna is one of Vasquez, up to succumbing to the trope named after said character.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Dubois stays behind to blow up a building as he slowly transforms into a monster, allowing John to escape. It's a shame he becomes a monster and survives anyway to attack John.
    • Danny gets attacked by a mutated Anna and sends John and Gena off so he can activate the elevator for the two of them to escape.
  • Hollywood Science: The end cut-scene is the most aggravating case, for we see John emerge from the escape pod into open air after spending the whole game in a deep-sea compound. In real life, he should have been taken to a decompression chamber, or the sudden change in air pressure would have killed him.
    • Even more aggravating is the Flooded Rooms, you would think opening a door to a flooded area would release water into the room connected to it. This includes one particularly mind-boggling case toward the end: you have to climb up a ladder, from a room below that's perfectly dry, into a room above that's completely flooded. Not even gravity can circumvent whatever magic is preventing adjacent rooms from flooding.
  • Hope Spot: Nearing the start of Disc 2, a fellow survivor catches a cold. It had been established earlier that a cold is what's stopping the infection from affecting John; thus, you'd think the same could be said for her. Unfortunately, she still ends up becoming a monster shortly afterwards.
    • Well, she thought she had a cold...
  • Horror Doesn't Settle for Simple Tuesday: The game is set on April Fools' Day. This actually leads to a few scenes where John tells people of horrific monster attacks, but they don't believe him because they think it's part of an April Fools' joke.
  • Idiot Ball: John encounters a survivor on the Sea Fox who tells him everyone's being killed by a mysterious disease, which he believes he himself may already be infected with. Even though John already knows something is causing people to transform into monsters, he doesn't heed this at all or take any sort of according precautions. He instead immediately gives the man the okay to escape on the submarine he & Mooky arrived in which naturally results in the man transforming while aboard the sub and killing Mooky.
  • Lawful Stupid: A lot of the people within the game are nice, kind people, all things considered. Even Clansy, who killed hundreds of civies isn't THAT bad a person. Yet people throughout the entire game put their ethics and goodness ahead of common sense: practically none of the people in the apartment complex are willing to leave, and most egregious of all, Danny, who KNOWS full well the risks of staying in the area he occupies, refuses to evacuate because the man informing John it's time to go is Clancy. Sure, he has good reason to loathe Clansy being the sonar man who realized what Clansy was doing when he ended up killing civies but even still, the explosions and power outage that have rocked the Big Table are CLEARLY getting worse. That, along with a declining amount of air, should have ALL the personnel and civilians evacuate immediately.
  • One-Winged Angel: Gena's final mutation is that of a winged, green-skinned woman. Oh, and her voice echoes and she glows so hard she can blind you.
  • Oxygen Meter: Each room holds a limited oxygen level represented by a time counter, which goes down faster if you use your weapons. You also have the rebreather, a tiny oxygen bottle you use in the rooms without air, which has a meter, making it a more straight example. Luckily, the save points allow you to reload the rebreather and all the rooms of the area you're currently in.
  • Painful Transformation: Victims of the virus go through a pretty painful metamorphosis with random abscesses and growths erupting from various parts of the body, which the game excitedly shows off in the CGI cutscenes from multiple camera angles. At one point, a victim's fingernails start popping off for no real plausible reason other than to disgust the audience.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: Commander Clancy got assigned to the Big Table as punishment for sinking a cruise ship. He thinks he got it worse than his victims. John volunteered for the Big Table, to get away from his grief over his dead girlfriend.
  • Red Shirt Army: The Navy eventually sends in a SEAL team to deal with the monsters. They promptly get wiped out in their first engagement.
  • Rescue Romance: Between John and Gena. Her mutating into a monster at the end of the game puts a bit of a halt to things, though.
  • Retirony: A variation — Mooky quickly asks to be approved for early leave once he learns of the horrors that're coming to pass at the Big Table, and he gets cleared for it soon after. Of course he doesn't survive for much longer after this.
  • Sanity Slippage: Commander Clancy loses it late in the game. He goes from wanting to save all the other survivors on base to leaving everyone else to die by taking the SEALs' DSRV while ranting about killing the remaining survivors from the cruise ship he sank.
  • Selective Gravity: In the flooded rooms, John and the monsters can walk and run like normal, even though you can see a floating corpse in the very first flooded room John comes across.
  • Shout-Out: It can't be a coincidence that a game made by Sega takes place in the Sea Fox. (The name of Tails' submarine in Tails Adventure.)
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The music may be the only genuinely good thing about the game, but the songs rarely seem to match the tone of the scene they're in.
  • Trick Bomb: John carries around a slew of "air grenades" with him; when they explode, they fill the room with breathable oxygen. At one point, he also gets a fire extinguisher "capsule" that also works like a grenade.
  • Underwater Base: The setting for the game, "The Big Table", is a military base set on the ocean floor. Proved to be overly expensive to build (who'd have thought?), so civilian corporations have a presence as well.
  • Vasquez Always Dies: Anna looks like she can hold her own, right? Heck, she even catches a cold, which was established to prevent John from turning himself, so she's totally gonna be fine. Oh, wait, no, she's turned into a monster, and you have to kill her. Figures. (For what it's worth, though, even the less macho women end up dying too.)
  • Walk, Don't Swim: John Mayor apparently has zero buoyancy, as he still walks in flooded rooms.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: As it turns out, the common cold is an effective vaccine for the mutant virus. It also has some weakness to oxygen, but that's actually a weakness of many microscopic organisms, so it's not as bad.