Created by Russian independent developer Biart, Depp Black: Reloaded is a third-person shooter driven by a unique blend of underwater and land-based exploration and combat. Other than that there's not much going for it, except for these gut-wrenching screams.
Originally called Underwater Wars or U-Wars, Deep Black: Reloaded weaves a tale of suspense, mystery, terrorism, and intrigue against the backdrop of a dark future. It follows an amphibious military operative as a mission to save hostages from a group of terrorists transforms into a desperate battle over the possession of a powerful biological weapon.
Or at least that's the direction the plot seems to be going after playing the game for a little over an hour. It all sounds so serious, at least until the characters open their mouths.
Those gloriously overdone screams and gurgling watery death rattles are only one aspect of the fun Deep Black's developers have with voice work. Just take a look at this snippet of dialogue between the player character's gruff boss and his feisty female Latino handler as the former asks the latter if she's nervous about the upcoming mission.
Handler: "I've got butterfly wings in my stomach." Boss: "Don't you mean butterfly wings?" Handler: "Nope."
Later on she refers to her arse as "the culo that launched a thousand ships". Classy!
So the sound design in Deep Black is pretty priceless. The gameplay? Not so much.
On land you've got your standard cover-based shooter fare, levels designed with conveniently-placed barriers wherever large numbers of enemies may spawn. The game is very predictable; hit an important switch and you know somewhere there's going to be a door opening, releasing guards from a room they were standing about in for no reason whatsoever.
It also has exploding red barrels, of which I'm a big fan.
In my brief time with the final retail version of the game I managed to get killed twice due to not being able to ascend stairs. There's no jumping here, only rolling, and certain ramps didn't seem to connect correctly with the next piece of geometry.
Things go much more swimmingly once you're in the water, at least in terms of movement. With your current-defying jet pack and switch-flipping, guard skewering harpoon gun you are a force to be reckoned with. So far I've reckoned with a couple of drones, a few human divers, and an incredibly cool mechanical underwater predator that seems to only be vulnerable to mashing the 'F' key on your keyboard repeatedly, an incredibly simple quick-time event.
Being an early player, Deep Black's multiplayer remains a mystery to me. No one was available to play with me, no matter which of the five 2-8 player maps I tried starting matches in. Underwater Deathmatch or Team Deathmatch bouts sound entertaining though; I'll have to revisit that at a later date.
Until then I shall savour the screams of the dead, dying and probably dead, but still making ridiculous noises. Hit up the link below for a free demo to see if Deep Black: Reloaded is $US29.99 worth of music to your ears.
Deep Black: Reloaded [Official Website]