|Smooth free-floating shooter from developer Zyrinx, who I would guess was a western developer; the pre-rendered graphics have a distinctly western look, and the game itself, in which gravity and physics play a big role in the shooting action, reminds me of a European Amiga shareware game I had back in the day.|
The ship controls a lot like the ship in Asteroids, where you rotate freely and thrust by holding a button. Gravity comes into the picture in Sub Terrania, however, so you have to keep yourself high enough above the cave floors that you won't drift down and collide with the ground while you're trying to shoot stuff; this doesn't kill you immediately, but it will wear down your shields. Certain types of your bullets are subject to gravity as well, if I recall correctly. Oh, and you have fuel to worry about; thrusting expends it, but you can refuel at certain fueling points in each cavernous stage.
You explore around these caverns, then, looking for tiny little humans to rescue. Picking them up involves landing next to them and letting them run into your ship, rather like Choplifter. Once you've got all the humans in the area, you fly back to your starting platform, and it's on to the next stage.
Badguys and weapon powerups, such as missiles, complicate matters, and then there are boss fight stages, too. The one boss fight I played was pretty nifty in that the boss could catch you with long chains and whip you around, releasing you at high speed, so if you didn't catch yourself with a counter-thrust, you would smack into a wall and take damage. It'd have been nice if he'd had a health meter, though, as it took forever to kill him... Oh, come to think of it, we learned afterwards that you just had to hit him in certain spots on his massive round body. This wasn't particularly intuitive just from looking at him, though.
The game features some nice electronic music. All in all, it's a surprisingly smooth package. The physics and fuel requirement mean that you have to take your time, plan your moves, and move carefully lest you smack into things or burn too much gas. It's a nice change of pace from more frantic shooters.