Dive Alert : Matt
Review by Insecta
Genre: Strategy RPG
Dive Alert is the first to be released out of a group of long awaited games, and Sacnoths' debut on the Neo Geo Pocket. I have heard many mixed opinions on Dive Alert, but regardless of the bad reviews, I went ahead and got it. It may not be the best of the new games, but it's certainly up to the standard of other Neo Geo Pocket games.
Dive Alert is a submarine simulation, and Sacnoth have done a fine job in making it. The two parts of the game are Domus, and Submarine. In Domus you have several RPG style options. In shop you get to buy weapons, engines, hulls, air tanks and more for your Sub. Set Up allows you set up your submarine, but be careful! You can only fit a certain amount onboard! Then you have S-Mission, where you can embark on the main Submarine mode quest, with a highly interesting story. Next is N-Mission where you just sub around shooting bad guys to get experience. A versus mode has been included, of course, but the 64 player wireless link option was removed. I haven't played versus mode, yet. A minigame can also be accessed from the Domus, which sees you shooting down objects, space invaders style. The minigame is pretty pointless, although fun. Finally, is the novelty option to see a picture and stats of other subs you have seen. You can also save. There are plenty of options to keep you going!
Submarine mode is simply portrayed by a sonar screen. Enemies are shown by a blob, with a number next to it. The number says what depth it's at, and you must be at the same level to use certain weapons. Around the circular sonar are stats, and in the center is an arrow. The arrow is you, and always faces the same direction. When you move, everything else on the screen moves and you stay in the center. This can be a problem, because if there are no enemies on the screen, you can't tell if your moving at all. But then, I guess it's just like a real submarine. Pressing option sends out a sensory wave, which hunts out for submarines not moving. Moving subs always show up. Pressing A with fire the selected weapon, while pressing B will give you some options, like changing weapons and diving. Unfortunately, pressing B stops you in your tracks and it's a pain during chases and frantic battles. You can't even pause. Fortunately, these are only minor issues and the gameplay is rather fun. Each mission has an original plot, so you won't get very bored.
I think Sacnoth have done one of the best jobs they could of by converting submarine action into your handheld. Could have been improved, but it will do nicely, thank-you.
The super-simple sonar graphics in the Submarine section wouldn't have bothered a Gameboy, let alone a Neo Geo Pocket Color. That said, it's the best Sacnoth could of done, even giving us a multicolored life bar. It would look really stupid if they had a big picture of each enemy on the radar. Sacnoth have also tried to make up for lack of graphics in the main mode, chucking pictorial cut-scenes at us left, right and center. They also have given us a picture of every sub, at every level and lots of navigation graphics. You also get a multi expression face for every character, that even blinks! Combine that with an impressive intro, and title screen and you have some good graphics!
In my opinion, Sacnoth should have added a music test to the game. The music is brilliant in Dive Alert, my second favorite NGP music since MotM. Not only does it sound good, it sounds like submarine music. You have creepy aquatic tunes, fast epic music and dark music. It all sets that atmosphere very well. Sacnoth have given us a tune for each Domus option, and for each Submarine level. Very good work Sacnoth! The sound effects are simple, and are mainly beeps, bangs and clicks. Not much, but they fit the bill!
Non-Stop Item Collection
Say how much more Exp points you need for level up
Current stats on shop menu
Easier to get into
Get if you like: Submarines, Good Story, Slow Gameplay, RPG
Dive Alert can be quite a boring game, but like cold water once you get in, it's fine. You really have to be the sort of person who gets sucked into games, and likes slow style gameplay. I enjoy the game despite some flaws, and hope Sacnoth continues working for the Neo Geo Pocket! It also has a very interesting plot. The best submarine sim you are likely to find!
Personal Opinion: ****
Final Score: 80%