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North American cover
Producer(s)Tony Van
Programmer(s)David Guldbrandsen
Karsten L. Hvidberg
Jens Albretsen
Artist(s)Jesper Vorsholt
Mikael Balle
Composer(s)Jesper Kyd
Platform(s)Mega Drive/Genesis
Genre(s)Multidirectional shooter

Sub-Terrania is a multidirectional shooter developed by Danish studio Zyrinx and published by Scavenger. The game was released in North America and Europe for the Mega Drive/Genesis.


An unknown alien race has attacked an underground mining colony. A lone pilot has been charged with the task of defeating the aliens, while rescuing the trapped miners, using an experimental attack ship.


Fighting insects in the first level of the game.

The game takes place in a side-view underground environment. The controls are the same as the 1982 arcade game Gravitar (which inspired the home game Thrust). The ship is rotated with the directional pad and the B button applies thrust in the direction it is facing. At all times, gravity is pulling down on the player's ship, which works to the player's advantage to conserve fuel.

To beat each of the game's 9 levels, the player must complete various mission objectives, which are outlined before the level begins (with the exception of the last three levels). The bulk of the missions involve rescuing prisoners, collecting sub modules (to allow your attack ship to go underwater), and defeating alien bosses. To make things more challenging, your ship has a limited fuel tank, which must be constantly recharged by collecting fuel canisters, which are scattered throughout the levels.

There are various other elements that make it easier for the player to be able to finish without running out of fuel-- mining rails are suspended throughout many levels which you can ride on with your ship, which turns off fuel consumption while allowing you to freely slide along them while shooting. There are missile canisters and shield upgrades, along with a "Mega" attack which is released at the beginning of each volley of fire and slowly recharged.


During the development of Sub-Terrania Zyrinx did not possess an official Sega development kit. Instead, they hacked together their own development kit using Amiga computers.[1]. According to Sega of America producer Tony Van, the game was too difficult and went through two rounds of difficulty reduction before it was released.[2]. The game's soundtrack was composed by Jesper Kyd. His sound driver was later used in Red Zone, The Adventures of Batman & Robin (Mega Drive/Genesis version), and AWS Pro Moves Soccer.[3].


Review scores
Germany ASM83% [4]
France Consoles +91% [5]
United Kingdom Computer and Video Games85%
United Kingdom EDGE90%
United States Electronic Gaming Monthly70%
United States GamePro98%
United Kingdom GamesMaster89% [6]
Spain Hobby Consolas88% [7]
France Joypad87% [8]
United Kingdom Mean Machines Sega91% [9]
United Kingdom Mega86%
United Kingdom MegaTech90% [10]
MegaTop Mega Drive Games of All Time (#16)

Sub-Terrania was met with generally positive reviews. EDGE awarded the game a 9 out of 10, concluding that:

In their review, GamePro deemed it "one of the best games of the year" and gave it a near-perfect score, citing the unique concept and outstanding graphics and animation.[12] Electronic Gaming Monthly gave it a 7 out of 10, and praised the game's strong originality and soundtrack.[13] Computer and Video Games,described Sub-Terrania as "a gorgeous and involving blast", giving it a score of 85 out of 100.[14] Mega placed the game at number 16 in their Top Mega Drive Games of All Time, calling it "a superb game in almost every way".[15]

Sub-Terrania appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die, by longtime editor of EDGE magazine Tony Mott.[16]


  1. ^ "Sub-Terrania". at Mobygames.
  2. ^ "Interview: Tony Van (SOA Producer)". at Sega-16.
  3. ^ "Zyrinx". at Sega Retro.
  4. ^ ASM magazine, issue 8/1994, page 35, Tronic Verlag, August 1994
  5. ^ Consoles + magazine, issue 32, page 106-109, Edicorp Publications, May 1994
  6. ^ GamesMaster magazine, issue 17, page 54-55, Future Publishing, May 1994
  7. ^ Hobby Consolas magazine, issue 32, page 60-63, Hobby Press, May 1994
  8. ^ Joypad magazine, issue 31, page 132-134, Edicorp Publications, May 1994
  9. ^ Mean Machines Sega magazine, issue 19, page 60-63, EMAP, May 1994
  10. ^ MegaTech magazine, issue 29, page 56-59, EMAP, May 1994
  11. ^ EDGE magazine, issue 8, page 72-73, Future Publishing, May 1994
  12. ^ GamePro magazine, issue 68, page 34, IDG, May 1994
  13. ^ Electronic Gaming Monthly magazine, issue 57, page 38, Sendai Publishing, April 1994
  14. ^ Computer and Video Games magazine, issue 150, page 82-83, Future Publishing, May 1994
  15. ^ Mega magazine, issue 26, page 74, Maverick Magazines, November 1994
  16. ^ Mott, Tony (2010). 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die. Universe Publishing

See also[edit]