Submarine Attack

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European cover.

Submarine Attack is a autoscrolling shooter video game developed and published by Sega Enterprises for on the Master System in 1990. The game was made by the European arm of Sega in order to extend the life of the Master System which was still popular there in 1990.

In the game, you pilot a whale-shaped submarine called the Nautilus and must defeat a strange shape-shifting monster called the "Meta-creature" who is terrorizing the citizens of Balderia from its hide out under the sea.


Looking to expand my familiarity with the Master System catalog, I was trying to play through various games listed as "easy" on various sites. However, many of these lists are created by people who spent their childhood playing these games and memorized them, so they weren't very "easy" to someone playing them for the first time, and I was getting frustrated. However, I eventually landed on this game and found it to be doable. I got a game over about five times before finally beating it with only two deaths on 2022-06-12.

I don't own this game, but I have beaten it.


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Best Version: Master System

— This section contains spoilers! —


  • Some of the background graphics are quite attractive.
  • Each stage has new enemies and environmental hazards to cope with.
  • The game gives out frequent power ups.
  • The music is decent.


  • When you die, you lose all your power ups, which makes you especially vulnerable to dying again. This was typical of the genre at the time, but it's still annoying.
  • The player's hit box is too big. There are times when a hit will register even when the enemy bullet doesn't visibly hit you. This coupled with the submarine's slow default speed makes for frustrating play any time you don't have a speed power up.
  • Although they appear frequently, the power ups aren't very interesting. One increases your firing rate, the other increases your speed. There is also an armor restore and 1-up, but those aren't really power ups. Also, since you reach full power so quickly, all subsequent power ups are a waste.
  • The level design leaves much to be desired. In the first two levels, the game is much easier if you stay near the surface where most of the power-ups appear and where a large portion of the enemies can't even hit you. In level three, the top route is much safer than the bottom route.
  • Unlike most shooters, indiscriminately shooting and hoping to hit enemies the moment they appear is a bad strategy. If you hit a power-up sub too soon, the power-up it drops will fall before you can get it. So, unless you're already at full power, you have to be selective with your shots.
  • Most of the bosses have several safe areas where you can just stand still and shoot without having to worry about getting hit back.
  • At only six stages, the game is too short. The game can be finished in about 20 minutes.
  • Bubbles damage your submarine. How stupid.
  • Your weapon switches to a beam weapon in stage 6 for no reason. Although I like the extra firepower, a bit of exposition would have been nice.
  • The story is pretty lame.


  • The ending is especially dull. You get a quarter-screen graphic with the option to restart or quit. There are no credits, no hard mode, not even a simple congratulations.


Box Art





Strong female character?FailThere aren't any clear characters.
Bechdel test?FailThere aren't any clear characters.
Strong person of color character?FailThere aren't any clear characters.
Queer character?FailThere aren't any clear characters.


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