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SOS (SNES)

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62
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
2.4
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
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Description

The date is Tuesday, September 13th, 1921. It's a stormy night, and the luxury ocean liner "Lady Crithania" is about to be capsized by an enormous wave. Many of its crew and its 2300 passengers will be killed outright in the initial overturning; in the transfigured catastrophic ship environment, most of the remainder will be unable to locate, reach and secure a safe exit from the sinking ship before it floods entirely.

Inspired by Paul Gallico's 1969 novel The Poseidon Adventure, this game puts the player in the shoes of one of four denizens of the fated vessel: Capris Wisher, architect; Redwin Gardener, counselor; Luke Haines, sailor; or Jeffrey Howell, doctor. Each of these gentlemen possess certain exclusive skills and distinct backstories and motivations - a successful strategy toward winning the game will vary greatly depending on which character the player initially selects to control.

The goal is not to be on the ship when it goes down for the last time. Accomplishing this demands mastery of a new skill hitherto untapped by its platform-game spiritual predecessors Prince of Persia and Flashback: exploring and navigating the ship in both an upright and an upside-down position, as well as many of the gradiated permutations between - thanks to dizzying Mode 7 abuse, the game environment will tip, tilt and skew at predictable intervals, granting access to some hitherto unreachable areas while denying access to other portions of the ship the player perhaps intended to go back through.

A successful evacuation is going to require the assistance of other survivors. Supposing the player can find and reach them, it will still be necessary to safely lead them past obstacles and hazards; as with most NPCs, they're slower and less agile than the protagonist, necessitating plotting out the simplest, safest course possible, given the circumstances. The game's ending is determined by which and how many people the player managed to rescue.

The game must be completed within a time limit of one hour. Since injury in this dangerous and unpredictable environment is so frequent and, indeed, inevitable, death has been replaced by a deduction of five minutes from the time remaining; but no matter how safe the protagonist may find himself after one hour of game time, when the countdown reaches zero, it's game over.

Screenshots

SOS SNES Going from bad to worse
SOS SNES We don't just stroll the luxury quarters -- your travels take you into the very guts of the ship.
SOS SNES but what a grave marker!
SOS SNES The only final death is after the fateful hour is up, but burning, drowning and falling all diminish the remaining time available.

Alternate Titles

  • "Septentrion" -- Japanese title
  • "セプテントリオン" -- Japanese spelling

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The Press Says

Super Play Magazine UK Aug, 1993 88 out of 100 88
Game Players Jun, 1994 75 out of 100 75
Electronic Gaming Monthly (EGM) Apr, 2004 7.2 out of 10 72
Nintendo Magazine System UK Jul, 1994 68 out of 100 68
GamePro (US) Jun, 1994 3 out of 5 60
Video Games Jul, 1994 57 out of 100 57
The DOS Spirit Dec 03, 2012 2.5 out of 6 42
Total! (Germany) Jul, 1994 4.75 out of 6 25

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Related Web Sites

  • SOS FAQ (Sorethumb has distilled into this single document all collected internet knowledge generated on the subject of this game -- locations and point values of survivors, timing of game events, access to routes and attainment of optimal endings for each character.)
Pseudo_Intellectual (44706) added SOS (SNES) on Jun 02, 2005