Sub Culture is a sort of Privateer gone underwater – a trade and combat game that takes place in deep sea rather than deep space. It places you as tiny homeless guy who carries a sort of “have sub, will travel” mentality. Combat, spying, mining and trading, rescue, fishing and general destruction are all par for the course in this game. You start your adventure homeless because homan garbage had crushed your little ocean floor abode. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, your name happens to be Bubba Kosh. Bubba finds himself moving between two cold warring undersea factions, the Procha and the Bohine.
There are four major cities in this undersea world (two for each faction), plus several cave systems and a pseudo-religious trading cult that buys your mineral resources. Unlike most games of this sort, Sub Culture immerses you in a complete, active environment. Most of your time is spent in the submarine and you can dock where you like and move about at will across the whole landscape.
The game is well balanced between resource gathering and missions. You often need to go scouring the ocean floor for metal objects (usually human flotsam like bottle caps and such) and crystals that allow you to upgrade and repair your sub. Successful missions garner even bigger bucks but often require specific equipment that must be purchased beforehand.
Taking missions from each side (or even just visiting their cities) affects your overall standing with each faction, so the more missions you perform for the Prochas improves your standing with them, but makes you extremely unwelcome in Bohine territory. Oddly enough, this doesn’t affect your ability to get work with either side as much as you’d think, as both sides will still hire you to perform their dirty work. The game’s storyline moves along through e-mail news reports, occasional videos and other cinematic scenes.
The only real flaw in the game is a lack of more randomized missions. Freelance bounties and other “random” money-garnering tasks that lay outside the main mission-tree would have added a lot to the overall game and given it more play life beyond the 30+ missions already present.
System Requirements: Pentium 133 MHz, 16 MB RAM, Win95