Sega's Sewer Shark -- The CD game incorporates technological wizardry with live-action, full-motion video footage

By Bob Strauss
December 04, 1992 at 05:00 AM EST

With fantastic speed, you rush through what looks like a cross between a particularly decrepit New York City subway tunnel and a futuristic air duct. A disembodied voice shouts orders at you, trying to help you target and destroy the luminescent antagonistic creatures that cling to the curving walls. Up ahead, a gate slowly opens. Are you fast enought to make it through before it slams on you?

No, You’re not on a thrill ride at Disney World, you’re playing a new kind of video game that looks and works like none ever made. Sewer Shark is a CD-ROM (compact disc-read only memory) game created by Sony for the Sega CD, a $300 system for Sega Genesis. It is one of the first games to incorporate humans in live-action, full-motion video footage. And with the promise of movie-quality pictures, audiophile sound, and fast frames-per-second animation, CD-ROM figures to be the shape of games to come.

For all its technological wizardry, the format does appear to have some limitations. In TTI’s Loom — a lovely role-playing game scored with classical music, for the Turbo Duo system — the animatied sequences are interrupted every few seconds while the computer searches the compact disc for information.

But improvements seem imminent: Video-game giant Nintendo has announced plans to release a still more advanced CD video-game machine in August 1993. Are you wondering what the kids will want next Christmas?