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Video Game / Sewer Shark

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"Shoot the tubes, Dogmeat!"

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

Sewer Shark is a 1992 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 with Apogee Productions, of Star Trek: The Motion Picture and Spaceballs assisting. It was published by Sony Imagesoft.

Set 20 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 a 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.


  • 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 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.
  • Atrocious Alias: Your first call sign is "Dogmeat." Your second one is "Ratbreath."
  • 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: The weakest form of enemy, and trying to shoot them often uses up energy.
  • 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 provides the correct turns for you to take, and he also meets each of the critters, giving you a look at them.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Despite being a Drill Sergeant Nasty, Ghost does not utter any profanity.
    Ghost: Dogmeat! You lick gutterballs! Your call sign oughta be...Jerkface! Or maybe...Superwimp!
  • 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.
  • Hover Bot: Catfish. He goes ahead of your ship to find the route you need to take to accomplish your objective, whether it's as simple as "find mutated sewer creatures to shoot" or as complicated as "follow another ship and give me directions." He's played by an awful wire-controlled puppet. Well, it was the mid-'90s and FMV games didn't have the best resolution...
  • 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 exclamations. It's actually kind of awesome.
  • Informed Attribute:
    • Ghost is supposed to be an amazing Sewer Shark pilot, but since you are the pilot and gunner and Catfish is the navigator, all he ever does is give you shit for one thing or another.
    • Also midway through the game Ghost supercharges the engines and installs some badass new guns on the ship. Any actual changes to performance are so small as to be unnoticeable.
    • Zerks are supposed to weigh an average of 50,000 pounds note . Somehow the obese, out-of-shape Corrupt Corporate Executive can run around with a box full of them, no problem.
  • Jerkass: Stenchler. The other Sewer Shark pilots aren't especially nice either.
  • 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: Your navigation bot Catfish talks like this when giving you directions through the sewer, saying things like "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!"
  • Non-Standard 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, where all pretense of mercy is dropped and failing to hit any major target is an instant Game Over.
    • 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 to have Catfish detonate pockets of hydrogen ahead of younote  from flying too deeply into the sewers will make the ship detonate it instead, with lethal results.
  • 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.
  • A Sewer Jockey Is You
  • Shoot 'Em Up: You occasionally have to dictate a turn to be made, but by and large, the gameplay is just guiding a cursor around the screen to shoot targets.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Ghost will crow about The Stench of Victory.
    • Ghost occasionally shouts "Don't think! If you think, you're dead", which is likely paraphrased from Top Gun.
    • If the disc is played in an audio CD player, there's a track that references The Beatles' "Revolution 9".
      (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 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
  • Talking Is a Free Action: When Catfish or Falco contact you, or just when you're conversing with Ghost in the ship, you never have to worry about making turns or shooting anything.
  • 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, with the only indicator being a pair of lights on the ceiling: green marks where the recharge is switched on, while red is switched off, and the Sega CD's lacking color palette makes telling which is which very difficult before it's too late to make the turn. The exact turns you need to make for each one is static (and thus, can be written down). You can afford to miss every other one, though.
  • 20 Minutes into the Future
  • Villainous Glutton: Stenchler is always eating.
  • World of Ham: No one in the world of this game knows what subtlety is.