Submarine Titans is a Real-Time Strategy game developed by Ellipse Studios and published by Strategy First for the PC on August 9, 2000.
It is the 22nd century, and a comet has struck Earth and poisoned the surface world, driving humanity beneath the waves. The survivors are split firmly into two camps: the militant, aggressive White Sharks, who believe that humanity must dominate the oceans utterly, and the scientific, elusive Black Octopi, who seek to preserve the already damaged ecosystems around them. The comet also brought with it an alien race called the Silicons, who are apparently after our resources.
The game is thus split between the three factions. As you might expect, each faction has largely distinct sets of units, structures, research and upgrades.
Besides being one of the only (if not THE only) RTSes to take place entirely underwater, the game boasts considerable depth and complexity (sometimes too much so, according to some critics), offering large tech trees, the ability to control a unit(s) and a structure at the same time, and a configurable AI assistant that can do everything up to and including play the game for you. According to The Other Wiki, it is also the earliest RTS to have a full spectator mode for both single and multiplayer, and also one of the first to have fully user-editable AI scripts, including an extremely detailed manual included on the CD on how to mod your own AIs.
The game received mixed reviews, and boxed copies are somewhat difficult to come by.
- Abnormal Ammo: It starts with torpedoes, but then there's lasers, flechette shells, magnetic mines, exploding jellyfish mines...
- All There in the Manual: The game's manual contains a detailed timeline explaining how Earth's civilizations reacted to the comet's approach, the founding of the organizations that would one day become the White Sharks and Black Octopi, and why the Silicons are on Earth to begin with.
- All Your Base Are Belong to Us: When capturing structures, small explosions are visible on said structure signifiying a raid. Best not to think what happens in there...
- Artificial Brilliance: You can even have your AI assistant play the game for you.
- Animal Motifs: Sharks for the White Sharks and octopus for the Black Octopi.
- Apocalypse How: Clarke Comet's impact on the Earth destroyed most of civilization, between the tidal waves, earthquakes, radiation, or the subsequent 15 year winter followed by a period of extreme global warming and rising sea levels. Mankind did see this coming and built large numbers of deep-sea habitats which survived virtually untouched, but only a portion of humanity was able to make it down there. The fluff indicates that there are scattered bands of survivors on the surface, at roughly Medieval levels of technology (these are the people you can trade with for resources).
- Applied Phlebotinum: Corium, an exotic element brought to Earth by the comet. It is element number 276, with an isotope called Corium 296. (Corium is actually the name of a real material, though it isn't an element: it's a waste by-product of nuclear meltdowns.)
- Big, Bulky Bomb: The Laser Bomb, Black Octopi's Weapon of Mass Destruction.
- Colony Drop: Clarke Comet impacted the Earth a couple decades before the game began, and is the reason all advanced civilization is underwater. Mankind did try to blow up the comet before it hit Earth, but this just resulted in shattered comet chunks striking everywhere around the world, rather than one big impact.
- Command & Conquer Economy: It is actually possible to avert this! You can set the AI assistant to do things like resource gathering and base building.
- A Commander Is You: The White Sharks are Balanced. Their units sport respectable speed, armour and firepower. They also have some elements of Technical, such as the Psychotron and the Liberator sub.
- The Black Octopi are a fusion of Powerhouse and Technical. Their units are vastly superior than their counterparts (their most basic sub, the Fighter, is a lot stronger than any other subs in it's class) and also make use of numerous sneaky tactics such as the Phantom stealth sub.
- The Silicons are a cocktail of Industrialist, Spammer, Economist and a dash of Technical. Their use of Capsule Prototypes allows them to set up bases faster and they also have a myriad of base defences to suit their turtler-style gameplay. Their basic sub, the SHS sub, are very cheap and can easily be massed produced and used as Cannon Fodder to weaken the enemy first before bringing in the big guns like the Dreadnought for the killing blow. They also require only one type of resource for general construction (which is continuously produced at the Silicon Extractors) and their need for metal as energy can seriously cripple the other factions' economies as metal is their primary resource for construction.
- Construct Additional Pylons: You have a single type of main production structure that creates all your submarines. You'll need to build O2 plants to provide air (power, in other words) to your buildings, and resource extractors over deposits of metal and corium, as well as storage depots for both.
- Damage Is Bubbles: Damaged structures leak air.
- Enemy Exchange Program: A particular class of submarine for each side has the ability to capture enemy buildings. This does include production buildings.
- Everything's Squishier with Cephalopods: The Black Octopi, named after one of the most intelligent creatures in the world and this is reflected by their scientific ways and preference for hi-teched weapons. They are by no means squishy though... indeed, their units tend to be more powerful in one-on-one combat than the other factions.
- Expy: The Silicons are basically a Captain Ersatz of the Builders from The Abyss. They're not all that friendly though, what with them having a sizeable navy and will actively kill humans. Their general art-style, particularly in their building architecture, is very similar to that of the Protoss.
- Frickin' Laser Beams: The Black Octopi loves this trope. How they managed to get such weapons to work underwater owes to their brilliance.
- Hate Plague: The White Sharks' Psychotron. It causes all enemy units that stray into it's area of effect to start attacking the closest target, usually their comrades. There are counters to this effect fortunately.
- Heroic Dolphin: Subverted. The Silicons can field Cyberdolphins. Cyborg suicide bombing dolphins to be exact.
- Hot Sub-on-Sub Action: Par for the course, as all your combat units are various classes of submarine. The game has five predefined depth levels that subs can move between to cross over or under obstacles, or in this case, dodge incoming torpedoes and other projectiles.
- Humans Are Bastards: Though it might just be out of fear of an Alien Invasion, the Silicons just want to go back home but not before sucking up as much resources as they need. On the other hand, the two human factions want to kill each other.
- Interface Spoiler: The silicons appear as one of the campaign choices, in addition to appearing in the diplomacy screen for White Tiger mission 5. Although their sudden appearance would be a shocking twist, their previous mention prevents them from being an outright surprise.
- Kill Sat: The Gas Laser Satellite, the Silicons' Weapon of Mass Destruction.
- Land Mine Goes "Click!": Averted. Depth Mines/Acoustic Mines/Laser Snares don't even give any warning other than showing up immediately as enemy targets swim into it's range. By then you know they're screwed.
- Marcoss Torpedo Massacre: Cassette shells, a Black Octopi produced weapon. These are torpedoes which fly straight some distance away before fanning out into numerous smaller torpedoes. Both the Magnetic Mine Launcher and the Invader submarine use these weapon.
- Meaningful Name: The White Sharks prefer swift, brutal attacks and the Black Octopi live up to their namesake by being hi-teched. The Silicons are so-called due to their dependence on the element silicon for life creation.
- Planet Looters: Subverted. The Silicons are gathering large amounts of resources, but only because their mothership crash-landed on Earth (along with the comet that wiped out the surface), and they just want enough to repair it and leave. There's no indication that the Silicons have any intention of looting Earth, or indeed, have any hostile intentions against humanity at all.
- Recycled INSPACE: The game is essentially StarCraft UNDERWATER!
- Slap-on-the-Wrist Nuke: Nuclear torpedoes, the White Sharks' Weapon of Mass Destruction.
- Silicon-Based Life: Take a wild guess as to why the Silicons got their name.
- Starfish Aliens: The Silicons. Bonus points for being an entirely aquatic race.
- Taking You with Me: Be very careful when destroying Silicon Bio-Acid Assaulters. Their acidic payloads go out with a bang!
- Teleportation: This allows sending units anywhere on the map, including dropping a raider (or capturing vessel) near an enemy turret. There is also teleportation gates that the Silicons can construct.
- Threatening Sharks: The White Sharks. Taken more literally with their Shark Control Center, which is able to domesticate up to three wild sharks to act as guard dogs against Cyberworm and Cyberdolphin attacks.
- You Require More Vespene Gas: There are three resources. Air is used for "power", Metal is used for basic construction, Corium for advanced construction, and Gold to purchase upgrades. The Silicons are a bit different: Corium is used for upgrades as well as advanced construction, they use Metal as a source of energy rather than building materials, and they do not have any use for Gold or Air. They also use Silicon as their primary building material, which no other faction does anything with.