It's been five years since the aliens broke through Earth's defenses and set up their ocean bases. Now you are the last remaining fighter left to save Earth from this alien invasion. Deadly Tide thrusts you in the role of one of Earth's elite hydrofighter pilots. As the aliens are aquatic beings, all of the action takes place in the briny depths of the world seas. You must blast your way through wave after wave of baddies if humankind is to see the dawning of another day. Wow, sounds important, eh?
Deadly Tide is a rail shooter, which means you follow a predetermined path through hordes of alien ships, shooting everything in sight. Since you cannot control where your Hydra sub travels, you basically assume the position of a gunner, with the joystick controlling the cross-hairs. This limits gameplay in a big way, and you often feel detached from the real action, as if you were just playing a gun strapped to the bottom of a submarine. The basic premise is as follows: Arrive at an alien infested area, blast as many of the little buggers as you can, and get the hell out of Dodge.
Although this lack of control limits gameplay, it allows developers to fill the screen with the best graphics and eye candy available. Because you are on a set path, the pre-rendered graphics look loads better than games where you choose your own route. The underwater realm of Deadly Tide is one of the most detailed and best looking of any video game I've seen, although there are a few visual glitches here and there. The animation is generally smooth and slow-down is only apparent in a few locations where the screen is swarming with alien fighters.
As far as the audio goes, Deadly Tide's soundtrack adds to the overall big-screen feel of the game. The tense mood of underwater alien extermination is captured nicely in the eerie score. However, the speech is barely audible over the music, so you may miss important information, such as where you're supposed to go next or what you're supposed to get. Of course, none of this really matters as you can't plot your own course anyway. As long as you continue to shoot the aliens and don't get blown up yourself, you'll eventually get through each level.
Unfortunately, this is the overall failing of this game. If you play it through, it should take you no more than two hours to totally destroy most of the alien horde and send the survivors packing. As if this weren't bad enough, the game's predetermined path ensures very limited replay value. Although the graphics and soundtrack may be some of the most impressive available, the game itself is too short to offer any real long-term enjoyment.
Deadly Tide is a beauty with no brains. Although nice to look at and listen to, the gameplay is repetitive and ultimately boring. Why pay $50 for a two hour experience that has no replay value? Unless you're a gamer who prefers good looks to playability (is there such a creature?), wait for something better.