SOS SNES Review
If you’re into side-scrolling action games and are looking for a different experience, you’re going to want to check out SOS on the Super Nintendo. Remember this isn’t sink or swim on the Super Nintendo but just SOS. You start off choosing one of four playable characters (Capris, Redwin, Jeff, or Luke) navigating through a cruise liner that is sinking away. Many of the ship members are knocked out or left for dead.
Developed by Human Software, otherwise known as the designers of Clock Tower, Super Soccer and The Firemen. You’ll notice a resemblance to the Clock Tower game more than any of the other games mentioned.
The basic goal is to get out of the ship and you only have an hour to do so. Along the way, you’ll get hurt by fire or fall from a height and if you do you’ll lose 5 minutes off the timer. If you run out of time before reaching the end of the ship, you’ll have to start over again.
Along the way, you’ll get to meet tons of passengers and can choose to help them survive or leave them stranded. The amount of passengers you save or even the combination of passengers will determine the ending you get. What’s cool about SOS is each of the playable characters has their own backstory and set of characters that you can head out and search out for.
SOS is a game I first saw someone Speedrun, although most of the time they’ll beat it in around 5 minutes by just dashing their way to the finish line leaving every woman child or infant alone.
The use of mode 7 in SOS SNES is really unique as it puts you in the perspective that the floor is shifting. Similar to that stage in Super Castlevania IV. There are times where the floor will all of a sudden become the ceiling.
Let me point out that the controls are very janky. You’ll have to press awkward diagonal directions when this happens in order to climb as the ship rotates. Sometimes you’ll end up falling if you’re not in the right spot when the ship rotates and lose 5 minutes off the clock out of nowhere.
What I found most fascinating about SOS is the way the mood of the game is played out. Everything is so dark and gloomy when making your way through the ship. The Lights are out, there’s fire everywhere, you have to jump into abandoned rooms. And the music throughout the game makes you feel that you and everyone on that damn boat is about to drown and die.
The people you rescue have terrible AI. I was coaching this newly made widow to come find me by pressing either the L or R button. You have to be pretty close to them in order to call them or they’ll just tell you they can't hear you. Just to have her run around the other way, jump up and down a couple times just to tell me she’s tired? Uh yeah then I heard her scream when I left her to fend for herself. I hope she has insurance.
You can also press B to jump, either upwards like in Prince of Persia or left or right in case you need to make it from one platform to another.
Considering this runs on the SNES, SOS has some great graphics. The sprites are large and check out the cutscene in the beginning where the Lady Crithania and the 2300 passengers inside are sinking. I’m starting to think if I knew this from somewhere. Yeah, this was totally ripped off by the Titanic movie that came out a few years later.
Another downfall is that the ship’s layout never changes so as soon as you memorize where you are, You’ll immediately know where to go next. It would have been nice to see the layout become random as it would have given way more replay value here.
SOS is a very original game on the SNES. I like the fact that there are a ton of different objectives and ending that you can get to give you lots of options when playing SOS. Trying to get the best ending for each of the characters can definitely feel like running a marathon but not out of the question. If you’re looking for a different experience on the SNES, I would recommend giving SOS a playthrough.