Treasure Island Dizzy, Sinclair Spectrum, 1987
Ah, Dizzy. Why aren’t more games as appealing as this? Don’t you just want to collect that piece of eight just below the surface? But WAIT! Those three frames of animated wavy lines spell danger to all but the strongest swimmers. So keep walking for now, buddy. Come back when you’ve found the snorkel.
Sonic The Hedgehog 3, Sega Genesis/Mega Drive, 1994
Sonic 3’s game engine allowed for many more layers of parallax scrolling over previous outings. The result was a 3D-like surface on the water that could be viewed from above or below as well. This slow fall alongside tumbling stones shows it off perfectly.
Crash Team Racing, PSone, 1999
PSone wasn’t really the greatest machine for recreating water effects. Crash Team Racing had a decent stab, with transparency and lighting creating a decent special effect on the shoreline here. Today, it’s perfectly okay to drop the ‘special’ when you talk about it.
Jet Ski Riders, PS2, 2001
While the game itself was a bit pants and the water’s surface seemed a bit too stiff for the jet skis to really bite into, the actual look of the H2O here is commendable. The pre-race fly-bys were worth the admission price alone. But it wasn’t perfect yet.
Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, PS3, 2007
Well, that’s it as far as we’re concerned. This is water. It even makes the characters visibly wet (Hey – stop doing that to Elena), plus you can see reflections in its undulating surface. You can just imagine how cool it feels on her skin, no? Mmmm… salty.