Release Date: 1983
Publisher: 20th Century Fox
Players: 1 – 2
Genre: Shoot’em Up
Alternate Title: N/A
Model #: 11031
Programmer: Bill Aspromonte
This is a solid shooter and a nice addition to the 2600 game catalog.
You are given control of The Sea Hunter, the world’s only flying submarine. Your mission is to destroy as many enemy ships, planes and helicopters as you can while avoiding sea creatures and collecting as much treasure as you can. While it sounds like a generic setup, the execution is done quite well.
The screen is broken up into two horizontal planes that are separated by the top of the ocean. When you are above the water you move very quickly but are more susceptible to enemy fire from boats and aircraft. The flying area only takes up about a third of the play area (compared to the two thirds the water takes up), so you have limited real estate when it comes to avoiding bullets. Luckily if the action becomes too hot you can crash right into the water without any penalty. When underwater you move slower, however as all of the treasure is located at the bottom of the ocean you’ll want to be spending most of your time.
While it’s less likely you will be taken out by a bullet underwater thanks to the fact you’ll be able to see them coming from a mile away, it doesn’t mean you are necessarily safe. The sea life are not only small and fast, but they are lethal to the touch. This really calls into question the quality of your ship’s construction if merely being touched by a shark or squid results in your destruction. The only logical things that kill you underwater are the mines and the “Sea Monster,” which bears a striking resemblance to Godzilla. The mines and Godzilla have something in common too, as both of them are impervious to your shots (although you can stun and push back the Sea Monster).
At the bottom of the screen you have two things that require your attention. The first is a fuel gauge that slowly runs down as you progress on your sea hunt. Periodically an orange ship will appear on the surface, and when touched it refills your fuel. Thankfully you not only get good gas mileage but the refueling ship shows up often, so running out of gas never really comes into play. The other thing of note is just below your fuel there is an icon in the shape of a sword, wine bottle or crown. This is the current treasure you are looking for. When it appears on the sea floor you have to set your ship down on top of it to collect it. After you successfully do that (and dodge the mines or Godzilla that is guarding it) a new icon will appear and you will be off in search of new riches.
Crash Dive has good difficulty balance, tight controls and a nice gameplay wrinkle. If you are looking for a ship based shooting game this isn’t a bad way to go. Frankly if you have ever wanted to fight Godzilla with a flying submarine this is probably going to be your best bet.