Guilt doesn't even begin to describe how I feel knowing that I like this game. Guilt sounds like it's just a stain on my clothes, easily dispatched by the rinse cycle. This is shame, dark bile surrounding my soul. But I just can't help it. I love camp and this game is the closest the entire industry has gotten to the euphoric heights of Batman & Robin.
Actually not the name of the newest product from the brilliant minds that brought you the Toilet Snake, as seen on TV by insomniacs
First things first, I would never, under any circumstances, advise you to actually play Sewer Shark. Other than shooting incessantly, you also make turns which are called out to you by your robotic buddy Catfish, proud owner of a delightful Cajun accent. Missing any one of those turns almost always leads to careening directly into a wall, raising the question "Can't this thing go in reverse and/or stop?" Also, CO2 levels will build up and require you to command Catfish to shit out a flare that will ignite the gases before your guns do. I can't even begin to cut through the deep metaphor that lies in a robot Creole pooping out fire balls to save your life. What's really amazing, and I mean this in no relation to the actual meaning of the word amazing, is that the first few enemies don't even attack your god damn ship. They just kind of hang around to be shot at. 50% of the game is spent just shooting defenseless animals. Take the noble ratigator. I don't have to tell you what it is. It's the only fictional word in recorded history that took less time to think up than it did to say it for the first time. Incidentally, a rock slide killed several people in Chile that day. Coincidences did not exist when Sewer Shark was borne unto this Earth.
The game play of Sewer Shark or a visual representation of the Internet? The world might never know
What other game lets you fight the evil tyranny that is STENCHLER. Commissioner Stenchler. AKA the asshole who gave Bruce Willis a parking ticket in Die Hard 2. On Christmas Eve, that son of a bitch. Stenchler's evil plan is...fucked if I know. He's your boss; he runs the Sewer Sharking racket and lives in posh Solar City which is, I suppose, what Malibu is called in the future. At first, he's impressed by your pest exterminating skills. He calls into compliment you usually while eating a comically gigantic piece of meat straight from the bone. It's the popular in morbidly obese circles 'Fred Flintstone diet.' In his last positive cutscene, he rips off his business suit to transition right to his swimming trunks. Then, he steps outside of his office which is just a crude facade constructed on the beach itself so he can go dance and sing. Later, he jetskis in front of the cheap blue screen the weatherman of Solar City normally uses.
He's splitting his time between eating his pasta and that bib that he's rocking
But then, he slowly, in the course of at most half a cutscene, gets really pissed at you for straying into Sector 19. Sector 19 was described by dirt encrusted hottie/Shark pilot Falco as "a sewer jockey's graveyard." Can you feel the gravitas, the pathos, the unending torment that is their life? They are modern man. The bodies of those modern yet still very dead men found out there had complete cranial evacuations or, in layman's terms, "something down there sucked their brains out!" Luring you into Sector 19 is “some kind of crazy looking thing” which is a bird made out the pure essence of rainbows. This is never explained whatsoever. Once you cross Stenchler's 38th parallel, he starts sending in robotic moles who only attack by running straight into you, usually at the very center of the screen. So, just leave the cross hairs there, find a rock to wedge down the fire button, then come back later when the game play becomes even less interesting. Eventually he graduates to unleashing ZERKS. "Brain-eating fireflies, what a delightful concept!" Oh god, yes it is.
It's only an optical illusion that this looks almost identical to the one shot above, after all there is an orange blob in this one
Stenchler kidnaps Falco and ties her to an unnecessarily slow killing mechanism involving a pole with a metal circle on top that will, someday in the even further flung future, make her explode after it gets heated by the sun. Look, watch that part of the game and see if you can describe it any better. Eventually, his evilness causes an uprising by the cast of Baywatch. He sits on his throne of lies demanding to know where his "egg celery pudding" is. It's dumped on his face and then he spends a full ten seconds screaming at the top of his lungs before holding off the insurgent forces with a lunch box filled with gray matter consuming insects. After a failed retreat, no doubt caused by his obsessive need to not abandon his fez before fleeing for his life, he is placed into an inner tube and rolled out into the ocean. A man who has killed viciously and for no apparent reason countless numbers of his own employees is dispatched like a minor annoyance on an 80's sitcom. Finally, the robot gets a lei from Stenchler's former bimbo and also a sprinkle of some robot loving. Jesus Christ.
Salacious Crumb fell on hard times after Return of the Jedi
My love for Sewer Shark really begins and ends with one man: Ghost. Ghost is your copilot and a five year old's version of R Lee Ermey. He strokes his vehicle lovingly with a crazed grin in his eyes. "Not everything on this baby's strictly legal," Ghost kids, knowing full well that there are no laws in the sewer. Filling his nostril with the fresh fucking scent of the piss and shit of Solar City's denizens: "There's nothing like the smell of the sewer in the morning. Smells like victory." To Ghost, rubbing your nose in feces is an acceptable form of celebration. He demands from you "1 million pounds of tube steak" the price of a ticket to paradise for him, you, and even that stupid robot.
What are you talking about? Acting is screaming! It's about emotionality!
More than any other moment, Ghost's challenge to the player to try out a new gun, made me love this game. He straps it on and lets you at it. The first time I played I thought a target would pop up but no. I didn't fire at anything and I failed. As in complete game over. After playing back to that point, I just laid into the fire button and blew the launch door right to shit. Ghost seemed pissed "You just took out the door, ace!" but then he got that wild eyed glare that said: "I love you in the most bat shit insane way it's possible to love someone else. You just used a gatling gun to blow open the door to my heart, Rat Breath.”
As you move through the game and Ghost thinks you're less and less of a worthless shit, he gives you new call signs. They go, in order: Dog Meat, Rat Breath, Exterminator, and finally Beach Bum which is "the highest honor a sewer jockey can receive." I remember being really impressed by the word 'exterminator.' So much so, that I forced my friends to name our bowling team that year 'The Exterminators' which just barely fit on the cheap ass bowling computer screens. I don't recall why I was so blown away but I was pretty young, perhaps 6, so it might just have been the first time I had heard it used.
What's amazing about all of this is that John Dykstra, two time Academy Award winner for the special effects in Star Wars: A New Hope and Spider-Man 2, was the principal creative force behind this...thing. Not surprising, however, is the fact (certainly not a coincidence) that Dykstra also supervised the effects for Batman & Robin. Neither Nostradamus nor the Mayan calender saw any of this shit coming.
Thanks to the miracle of Youtube, you don't need to play the game nor even watch someone else play the game. Just skip around to the good parts. It's not that hard considering the game is 40 minutes start to finish.