Down in the sewer, picking up quite a lot of empty coca cola cans. There sure are a lot of them around here.
Do you know what the good thing is about video games when compared to real life? You don’t have to deal with the intense heat of the fire levels, the bitter cold of the ice levels and of course, the hideous stink of the sewer levels. However, believe or not, sewers are some of the most recurrent level types of any video game genre.
Fighting games also have sewers if you hit the ground with the body of your enemy hard enough!
If you consider how big the sewer system is in some cities are, it comes as no surprise that you can make a big level or even a full game about them. Especially a survival horror game, because sewers are basically a giant labyrinth where you can get lost easily without a map. They’re dark, small, and filled with filthy water where anything can easily hide. Enemies experienced in sewers can range from a virus, a strange creature, or even bizarre people.
This explain why there are a lot of sewer levels in Survival Horrors game like RE 2 and 4, Parasite Eve, Amnesia, Outlast, and others. Sadly, not all genres took full advantage of the sewers’ “creep factor”. In these games, the sewers are “just another level”.
But that doesn’t mean they’re not fun!
But like any other level design, they have their own cliches, and some are based on urban legend. Here’s a list of some of the most common cliches that can be found in various sewer levels.
The sewers connects buildings, streets, castles, prisons, hospitals, or secret bases, so it’s no surprise that they can be used as passages to infiltrate or escape. This is especially true since sewers don’t have guards unlike topside rooms or streets. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you won’t find enemy resistance in the sewers. Baddies come in the form of bats, rats, and other creeps. This is a design used more in RPGs and fantasy type games, such as Suikonde V, the Final Fantasy franchise, TLOZ: A Link to the Past, and others.
Also known as tunnel people or tunnel dwellers, mole people are a group of people who live under large cities in abandoned subways or sewers, usually homeless people or an underground gang. These people are usually passive in RPGs and they live in small underground societies. In shooters however, they are known for being hostile mutants who attack you with melee weapons or even guns. When you consider how big some cities are and how poor some parts of society are, it may seem that this legend is not so far from the truth. After all, there are several cases of underground cities, passages or abandoned places, so there’s always a possibility. One of the best examples are the Mannequins from Shin Megami Tensei : Nocturne; human-like beings that live in the great underpass of Ginza the first time you meet them.
It’s just me or they are walking on water?
Similar to the Mole People, these gators are one of the classic urban legends of New York City and one of my favorites. The legend tells us about a couple who brought home some baby alligators for their kids after vacationing in Florida. In time, the babies began to grow up, so they were flushed down the toilet, but in the end they survived (obviously a toilet is the best weapon to kill a giant lizard with scales so hard, they can deflect bullets). The babies began to feed on trash and rats, and in time, they grew to gigantic proportions. This myth originated in the 1930’s and since then, several gators have been spotted living in the sewers. This created the speculation that the gators mutated due to the lack of sunlight and their strange diet. In our favorite video games, these gators were not only exposed to these awful conditions, but could also come into contact with the G-Virus (Resident Evil 2), Mitocondrias (Parasite Eve), Mutagen (TMNT: Hyperstone Heist) or any other weird substance.
And by the way, “gator people” are a part of this entry, so watch out for Killer Croc next time you’re in the sewers of Gotham, I’m dead serious, this guy can kill you instantly with his gator hands!
–Big Ass Rats
Rats are one of the most cliche enemies in the history of video games. They appear on boats, in caves and in tall grass, junkyards, subways and specially sewers. Considering that sewers and the subway tunnels don’t have as many natural predators compared to the upper world, it makes sense for them to live better and prosper in the shadows, while they eat anything that falls into their domain…or perhaps raise them in the arts of Ninjutsu.
For more information about rats (click here)
Who said that Pokemons aren’t perverts
Beside alligators and giant rats, sewers also host slime monsters. If you’ve forgotten what a slime monster is, then let me remind you. Slimes are amorphous creatures that normally look like Jell-O or a blob, resembling no one shape. These creatures are normally made of water, but they can also be made up of any kind of liquid, such as blood, sludge, liquid metal and in this case, sewer water. Yes, it sucks to be a Slime made of sewer water, and now you know how it feels being a Grimer or Muk from Pokemon (Emerald entry: Born from polluted sea sludge, Grimer favorite food is anything filthy. They feed on wastewater pumped out from factories). These guys appear in games like Earthbound, Pokemon Black and White, The Final Fantasy franchise, and many more. For more information, look at this entry.
Honestly, I’m not a fan of the sewers, but when your life or the fate of the world are in danger, there is no obstacle too big or small, and everything goes. Even the smallest sacrifice, like your nose, are fair game in order to fight for the greater good. Just remember to carry a couple of nose plugs!