Sub Culture article by Al Giovetti


By Al Giovetti
Release: October 1997
Developer: Criterion Studios
Lead Artist:
Publisher: Virgin Interactive Entertainment
Requirements: Pentium 90 (recommended), 16Mb RAM, 2X CD-ROM

Sub Culture


Blue Byte recently released the Archamedian Dynasty which is a highly acclaimed sub simulator campaign game. Sub Culture may describe the rush to bring out similar games when a successful game is released on the market place. Copy cat games always result from success, some would resent the immitation inspite of the saying that "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery."

Criterian may be mostly known for its 3D game engine called RenderWare. Criterian appears to want to change that impression and hopes their new title will succeed in establishing them as a game design company. Criterion Studios was also involved with Scorched Planet, but this game has failed to make a dent in the game world.

Company Line

An oceanic extravaganza unfolds before your very eyes with Sub-Culture. As you delve into the delights of the dreamy caverns, waterways and cavorting sea-creatures you may consider your appetite suitably fulfilled; but thereís more. Donít be lulled into a false sense of security by the hypnotic scenery, that is guaranteed to take your breath away, nerves of steel and the sharpest wit is required when tackling the warring factions that have wreaked havoc upon this tranquil terrain. If that isnít enough the physics based modeling, breaks all previous boundaries of 3D gaming realism, so lets hope you donít suffer from sea sickness.

An underwater 3D action adventure game. Sub-Culture's physics based dynamics modelling, real-time 3D graphics, together with image processing for underwater special effects make it one of the most visually stunning games ever!

Sub-Culture is based in the unique setting of an underwater environment. This complicated underworld of waterways, pipes, rivers, streams and cities provide an excellent surrounding for staggering 3D graphics and sophisticated atmospheric effects.

Game Play

There is a large three dimensional world that must be explored in a tiny one man sub. Due to the tiny size of the submarine, it is dwarfed and challenged by normal sea creatures, such as poisonous jellyfish, crabs, turtles, eels, and medium sized fish.

A nice feature of the game is its freewheeling nature where you can participate in as much or as little of the plot as you like, similar to the old 8-bit Elite, the first Interplay MechWarrior and the newer Privateer, you can pursue a mercinary career or pursue the plot. You walk a tightrope between the one faction, the 'Techs,' and the 'Triads.' Working too often for one will get you in dutch with the other group. Unlike Elite or Privateer there is no middle of the road, more like MechWarrior where too many missions against a house will cause you to be an enemy.

If you venture into the human sewer system, you will find two new tribes and a difficult sytem of currents to navigate.


The game is centred around a miniature underwater world which co-exists with the human world. You are part of this miniature world, and you are only half an inch high. The humans are creating a carnage of pollution, pumping toxic waste into the waterways which is choking and mutating your underwater world. For your people to survive you must ultimately stop this madness.

However you can't do this alone, you need help from your own people. But your own people are not at harmony with one another and two warring clans are intent on exterminating each other. The mutual supreme hate of the "Trads", a very relaxed race who mould nature for their own purposes and the "Techs" a much smaller more aggressive race who are in love with technology and will do anything to get what they want, are not helping your mission. Your challenge is to first bring peace to your own underwater world so that together you can then tackle the pollution that is threatening your very existence.


The objects are rendered in texture-mapped, three-dimensional polygons.


The objects move convincingly and smoothly. Day and night cycles enhance the emmersive effect (excuse the subversive pun. -Ed.).

Voice Actors

Music Score

Sound Effects

Sound effects increase the illusion of immersion.


Compare to

Multi-player Features

There is a very fine web site devoted to the game at the criterion studios web site.

Cheats, Hints, Walkthrough


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Editors, Next Generation, volume 3, number 4, issue 28, April, 1997, pg. 77.

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