News Article

Dive: The Medes Islands Secret "Like an Underwater Metroid," Says Developer

Posted by James Newton

Comparison holds water, no multiplayer due to size limits

Intriguing concepts on WiiWare are ten-a-penny – or, in US dollars, a dime-a-dozen – but the idea of setting a platformer entirely underwater is a new one on us, and new comparisons to classic Nintendo platform-shooter Metroid pretty much earmark Dive: The Medes Islands Secret as one to watch out for.

Speaking to Nintendo World Report, Cosmonaut Games' general manager José A. Giacomelli said:

Metroid is faster than Dive, but I can assure you that the comparison between them could be very right. Both games have a lot of characteristics in common, but many different ones, too. However, Dive is not an exploring game, but a platformer-inspired game with the typical ingredients of enemies, weapons, challenges, levels, mazes, checkpoints and objectives.

All that is sounding rather nice, and it sounds as though the game won't lack for content. In fact, according to Mr Giacomelli, there's so much crammed into the 40MB limit that some proposed multiplayer features had to be left out:

We had a few ideas for an online game and to generate online records as well, but the scenery's size, the soundtrack, animations and the number of enemies restricted us from realizing all of our ideas. Anyway, it was not a suitable game to play online so we ruled out this option.

It's a shame when content has to be removed but judging by the sounds of it, there's going to be plenty in there to keep solo divers occupied. We'll find out when Dive: The Medes Islands Secret is released in the near future.


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User Comments (25)



Spoony_Tech said:

If this is anything like Metroid i will to look in to picking this up. Can`t wait for the review!!



EdEN said:

That's a very bold claim but if the game deliver even on half of it ti will be a great game indeed.



pixelman said:

Hmmm. I can see how the atmosphere and exploration aspects are similar. I'm not sold on the gameplay yet, though. I'd like to see some action.



Adam said:

"but the idea of setting a platformer entirely underwater is a new one on us"
Well, it would be new if it existed. There are no platforms and no platforming. So explain to me how this is a platformer.

Also, I first read the title as "Like and Underwear Metroid." Since realizing my mistake, I've lost considerable interest. But it has potential to be interesting if they ever just show the game in action instead of constantly talking about how awesome it is.



accc said:

@Adam - I already explained it to you the last time an article about this game was posted. A platformer is a game where you have to move your character with timing and precision. Super Mario Bros and Donkey Kong Country have underwater levels with no platforms and they're still platformers, because you have to move with timing and precision to avoid the enemies and obstacles therein.

Also, it should be noted that the Metroid comparison was brought up by the person doing the interview, not by the developer. The developer discussed some similarities the game had with Metroid but they also listed an old Spectrum ZX game called Scuba Dive as its main influence.



Token_Girl said:

"but the idea of setting a platformer entirely underwater is a new one on us"

I would like to bring to the attention of the forum: The Legendary Starfy. (Yes, some levels are above ground, but for the most part it is an underwater platformer).



Kaeobais said:

Doesn't Samus go underwater in every Metroid game anyways?

Even beginning to compare this to Metroid means these guys are either really dumb, or really faithful in their game. Let's hope that it turns out good.



brandonbwii said:

To all those that talk about metroid underwater not being a new idea. This is the first game where you actually swim instead of jump in a metroidvania style world.



Omega said:

^ Thanks for posting this, Amianto. Looks really impressing. More like a Nintendo DS full price game than WiiWare. Certainly not uninteresting. (Though Underwear Metroid is not uninteresting, too. )



Adam said:

Accc, I don't remember you saying that before, but even if you did, saying it twice doesn't make it right. Donkey Kong Country is not a platformer because of the water levels; it is a platformer because of all the other levels (you know, the levels where there are platforms and platform jumping). Saying DKC is a platformer because of the water levels is like saying SMB3 is a card game because of the Toad houses.

Super Mario Brothers is the same. They have non-platforming levels on occasion just to mix things up. You can't take the platform levels out and still call it a platformer. It makes no sense.

The Bit Trip games are all about precision. Bullet hell shooters are all about precision. You don't see these games continually mislabeled as platformer either. The thing here is that it is a sidescroller, and as a holdover of the NES / SNES days, every sidescroller is mistakenly called a platformer because that was almost the case then.

I think if you took your definition to its conclusion, you'd rethink it. It's very vague and has nothing to do with the word itself. All genre are named for their defining features. Strategy games require strategy; RPGs grew out of RPG combat systems (and usually very similar settings); shoot em ups have you shooting "em" up; and platformers have you jump from platform to platform.

(By the way, please don't confuse arguing with caring. I do this sort of thing out of boredom, haha.)

Edit: Just saw Amiato's link. Thanks! Looks all right.



accc said:

@Adam - Don't you think it's a little odd that so many platformers, and yet so few non-platformers, would decide to temporarily switch genres (in your mind) by throwing in underwater levels? How come you don't have to stop and swim through an underwater obstacle course midway through a Street Fighter 2 tournament or an F-Zero race? Oh wait I know, it's because these underwater levels in platformers rely on the same fundamental principles of timing and precision that are present throughout the rest of the game!

If we follow your advice and take genre names literally, then every game where your character plays a role would be a Role-Playing Game. Just as RPGs "grew out of RPG combat systems" in your own words, it is also true that the platforming genre has evolved from the simple single-screen arcade games of the early 80s where you literally did nothing but jump on platforms. The unifying element of all platforming games is that they primarily focus on moving with timing and precision, whether that consists of jumping, swimming, flying, or simply walking, to make your way through a predetermined series of obstacles. The "primary focus" is key here; the bit.trip games and shootemups aren't considered platformers because they are primarily focused on rhythm and shooting, respectively, even though they may contain some elements which are the primary focus of other genres.



Adam said:

Street Fighter does do that actually. Not underwater levels, but non-versus fighting levels. Unless you consider beating up a car to be a one on one tournament fighter. This is not unusual. 2D games perhaps did this a bit less, but it doesn't make it any less so.

MGS4 for instance is mostly a stealth game, but there are levels where stealth is thrown out the window. Am I to believe that when I am on the back of a vehicle, on rails, shooting at giant metal gears who are scripted to know I'm there that I am still playing a stealth game?

And Bit Trip games do primarily focus on precision. So do bullet hell games, where the actual shooting is secondary to precise ship movement. Your new definition suits bullet hells perfectly, as they "focus on moving with timing and precision, whether that consists of jumping, swimming, flying, or simply walking,to make your way through a predetermined series of obstacles."

That is an extremely vague definition. Most games require some degree of precision. You are supposed to dodge the enemy in almost every game. In F-Zero you have to move past obstacles and opponents with precision. Yes, I know it's a driving game and doesn't match any of your verbs, but you "drive" in Blaster Master, too, which is a platformer.

Nothing in the little bit of game play footage shown for Dive demonstrates any need for great precision in the first place, no more than every other game ever. Looks very much like a simple side-scrolling exploration game where the focus is not on precision but on exploration, even if avoiding enemies is still of course a necessity. Unfortunately, the only name for this genre that has gotten much acceptance is Metroidvania, which is absolutely ridiculous. I prefer to just call it an exploration game, myself, or a side-scrolling exploration game to be specific.



accc said:

First of all, it's a huge stretch to compare the car punching bonus rounds in SF2, which are such a minute part of the game that until you mentioned them I didn't even remember that they existed, to entire levels in DKC and SMB which carry the same amount of weight as any other individual level in the game. Secondly, if swimming and platforming were as far removed from each other as you claim, then why are they featured so prominently in platformers? Why don't you see any levels in platformers which only involve punching cars?

Admittedly I haven't played Bit.trip Void, but in Beat and Core all of the movement in the game was dictated entirely by the rhythm of the song playing in the background, which is why they are considered as rhythm games. I'm also not familiar with too many bullet hell shooters, but I did spend quite a bit of time playing one called rRootage (which was included in Blast Works for Wii), and the focus there still lied with shooting the enemy boss ships. If the game consisted ONLY of navigating a ship through a flurry of bullets to reach an end goal then I would have no problem calling it a platformer, along the same lines of pure movement-based platformers such as Marble Madness and Kuru Kuru Kururin.

Again, just because a game like MGS4 features some pure action levels, it's still a stealth game because stealth is the primary focus of the majority of the game. I agree that many modern games tend to feature more variety, which does result in the blurring of genre lines, but that doesn't really apply to many sidescrollers that I've seen. Maybe we haven't seen enough of Dive yet to make a judgement of which genre it belongs to, but everything the developers have said so far seems to indicate that it primarily involves moving your character using timing and precision to avoid enemies and obstacles while searching for the game's treasures.



Adam said:

So though MGS4 features nonstealth levels, if you removed those levels from context, they wouldn't make a stealth game; but if you take the swimming levels out of a game about platform jumping, they still make a platform jumping game? I don't see the logic.

Underwater levels are popular in platforming games because Mario had it, and every platformer tries to copy Mario. If Super Mario Land had been the first Mario game, you could bet that there would flying shoot em up levels in almost every platformer, but that wouldn't change the fact that those levels are shoot em ups.

Most bullet hell games focus on avoiding enemy fire. You still need to kill enemy ships of course, but that always feels secondary. And no one in his right mind would call it a platformer. Everyone who plays them calls them shooters, bullet hell shooters, or manic shooters.

Marble Madness and other marble racing games are more racing games than anything. Platformer is a huge stretch. They are inspired by labyrinth games, which predate platformers.

Void has much looser sense of rhythm than other Bit Trip games. You have a lot more freedom to get the bits as you want and the melody accomodates itself to you. It's pretty neat and more minimalistic than the others.

Games that solely revolve around swimming aren't all the popular, so it's understandable that they haven't developed into their own genre, but that doesn't mean it ought to be lumped in with any other genre. Precision is key in all action games. It is not unique to platforming.



accc said:

You still don't understand. Precision-based movement is the defining feature of the platforming genre, which is a sub-genre of the action genre. Other types of action games, like Battletoads for example, might occasionally require precise character movement, but as a beat-em-up its primary focus is disposing of a variety of different enemies using a variety of different attacks. Super Mario Bros lets you shoot fireballs at enemies but that doesn't make it a shooter.

Metal Gear Solid 4 was brought up by you initially as an example of the recent trend of action games that feature gameplay segments from completely different genres. This is in contrast to how most older games such as Super Mario Bros featured similar types of gameplay even as the setting changed from above ground to underwater. Of course there were still a few examples of older games which feature gameplay from multiple genres (like Blaster Master or the aforementioned Battletoads), but the point is that these games are still defined by their primary genre despite featuring elements from other genres.

So far the only examples of action game subgenres other than platformers that you've managed to come up with which focus heavily on precision-based movement are bullet hell shootemups and the subgenre which has Bit Trip Core as its only member. Core is a hard case to look at because its the only game of its type (and also because I haven't played it), and like I said in my previous comment, bullet hell shootemups are still defined primarily by their requirement of shooting stuff. If there's a bullet hell spaceship game where you have limited or no shooting ability then that game fits squarely in the definition of platformer. (It certainly fits a lot better than calling Marble Madness a racing game, that's for sure!)

PS Wikipedia refers to Marble Madness as a platform game.



Adam said:

Their defining factor is jumping from platform to platform. Hence the name.

PS Wikipedia isn't an authority on anything ever.

This article is falling too low on the news page to want to keep up with, but we will meet again.




pnutz said:

"...the idea of setting a platformer entirely underwater is a new one on us"

Well the exact nature of a 'platformer' not withstanding, you should really check out Aquaria as an example of an underwater Super Metroid. If Dive can hold a candle to that, then it might worth the purchase.



Drift said:

yeah, if you want a real underwater metroid experience, better then most actuall Metroid games, go take a look at Aquaria.

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