Underwater levels have been in video games since before Mario’s face dawned a flavour saver, a game wasn’t worth its salt if it didn’t include at least one level where the hero must fight bedraggled baddies. Hell, even The Witcher 3, one of the greatest games ever made, has sunken sidequests to complete. And while most underwater levels look and play differently, they all have one thing in common, they suck. They suck hard and if you need more proof than my incoherent ramblings, then please accept these 5 examples of the worst underwater levels in video games.
Tomb Raider II – 40 Fathoms
I’m sure we each have our own horrible experiences with underwater sections in the Tomb Raider games. Like the jungle level in Tomb Raider III that had piranha that could strip the flesh from Lara in seconds or the claustrophobic underwater cave from Shadow of The Tomb Raider. But for me it has to be “40 Fathoms” from Tomb Raider II, Christ on a bike was this level nerve-wracking as fuck! It hampered the player with floaty as balls controls and shrouded the environment in darkness making it incredibly easy to get lost, which led to you running out of air. And if all of that wasn’t enough to give you a stress induced ulcer, it also set two great white sharks on you, which you must fend off with a harpoon gun, which does as much damage as an underwater queef.(“How is the archaeology again?”)
Knights of the Old Republic – Manaan Underwater
When people remember Knights of the Old Republic they think about the amazing characters, the enthralling story and the shock twists, but they forget the bad things, like swoop racing or that Force-awful underwater section. I swear there must be a rule somewhere in the video game industry that states “no game shall be 100% perfect”, that’s the only reason I can think of that explains this stain on an otherwise excellent game. Tasked with finding the fix plot McGuffin, the player travels to Manaan to retrieve it, but of course with Manaan being a water planet the damn thing is underwater. And if you think that just because these games are set in the future-space-past you could avoid a cumbersome diving suit, think again. Yep, you’re stuffed into a slow-moving suit that won’t allow you to turn without submitting the necessary paperwork, and did I mention you are being hunted by space sharks? But at least you can fight them with a lightsaber, right? Wrong again fucko, what do you think this is, a Star Wars game? No, you’re stuck with a sonic disruptor which farts them to death, yay Star Wars.(“The Jedi can force-kiss my ass!”)
Kingdom Hearts 2 – Atlantica
Wow, it does seem like I have been ripping on Kingdom Hearts a lot these days but worry not, I actually love the first two Kingdom Hearts games. Except, of course, for the Atlantica level from Kingdom Hearts 2, it can burn in hell, at least it would if it wasn’t damper than Sebastian’s taint, and I don’t just mean that literally. While the rest of the game is a fun, action packed adventure through various Disney worlds; the Little Mermaid level of KH 2 is just a dull selection of rhythm games. And the cherry on top of this horse-shit sundae is that you can’t just power through and get it over with quickly, no that would be too simple. You are forced to return time and time again after unlocking certain abilities. And let me just say that having to listen to Arial whinge about not being allowed to do whatever the fuck she wants will do little to impede the volley of verbal abuse that, I, a 31 year old man, will hurl at this Disney game……What??(Bad is an understatement!)
Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty – Sunken Big Shell
I don’t care what anyone says; I absolutely loved Metal Gear Solid 2. Okay, it was a bit of a let-down not being Solid Snake for the whole game, but the gameplay was excellent, the story was compelling and Raiden was a sympathetic protagonist. It was a game that managed to feel both familiar and unique all at the same time and if it wasn’t for that damn swimming section it would be a perfect game, well, that and the naked cart wheels. Any fan of the series will know the level I’m talking about, Raiden is sent to rescue Emma Emmerich from a section of The Big Shell with the only means of ingress being a liquid labyrinth of water and debris. The player must navigate this maze, while insuring they don’t run out of oxygen and drown, while inconvenient, not impossible. However the difficulty soon spikes when you are forced to swim with Emma, a girl with the lung capacity of a chain smoking 8 year old, on your back. And then the ungrateful bitch has the audacity to die anyway in a cutscene.(“So glad I risked my life to save her……..aaand she’s dead.”)
Sonic the Hedgehog – Labyrinth Zone
I’m sure the veteran gamers amongst you will be unsurprised to see this entry on this list; in fact the Labyrinth Zone from Sonic the Hedgehog was likely the inaugural underwater level for many of us. There are a few reasons this level makes this list, first and foremost, it is such a departure from what we were used to up until this point in the game. We were used to speeding through levels, avoiding traps and enemies all while collecting rings, but here we’re forced to navigate this underwater maze while moving at a snail’s pace. Then you have the oppressively small amount of time to explore before you drown, all while the anxiety inducing music counts down your last few seconds.(“Get me the hell out of here!”)
Well, those were 5 examples of the worst underwater levels in video games. Can you think of any that should’ve made the list or just disagree? Let us know in the comments below, don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel and if you’re feeling generous feel free to donate to our Patreon, thanks for reading.