SYSTEM
PSX

PRICE
$39.99

DEVELOPER
Polyphony Digital

PUBLISHER
SCEA

RELEASE
09/99

Omega Boost Review

By: John Doe


Fans of 3D shooters such as Panzer Dragoon and even the classic pseudo 3D shoot-em-up, Space Harrier, will get a bang out of Omega Boost. How can you go wrong when Polyphony Digital, the folks responsible for Gran Turismo are at the helm? This is a great shooter that due to it's relatively short length, will have you begging for more.


Highs:
Lows:

Who says big-ass Mech games are bad? Not me. But why is it that the Japanese will just not give up on this vision of the future with people fighting in giant robots? Is this a technologically sound design concept? A walking robot? I mean we all know what a beetle is like lying on it's back, right? Wouldn't a Mech be kind of the same thing? Aww, who knows? I'm sure the Japanese know better than we do anyway. You've gotta love a country where you can buy jeans out of vending machines and cokes are about $8.00 bucks a piece. Let them have their robot fantasies... As long as they keep making games like this one.

The reason you've strapped yourself into this 5 story ass-kicking machine is because, you guessed it, you are the Earth's last hope! I'd like to know what weapon they gave the poor sucker that went out just before they called on you and your robot pal? Obviously, things didn't go very well. That's where you come in. To catch up on the events leading up to the game, you must watch the intro. I was told by a friend that it was, and I quote, "The single best video game intro he had ever seen." So naturally, I was intrigued. Good news people; he didn't exaggerate. Omega Boost's intro is incredible. As it combines gorgeous graphics and real humans, this intro could have been laughably bad. However, it plays the premise straight making the concept believable (within the realm of the game) and entertaining.

Once you get into the air you'll find that although your Mech (coincidentally named Omega Boost) is on a track and you aren't able to fly everywhere, the control is suitable for the game and works quite well. Omega Boost primarily stays in the center of the screen and can rotate around 3D objects. As enemies approach you can shoot them with your basic weapon or lock on to clusters of them and take out a few at a time. A great gameplay innovation that actually works a little too well, is the ability to instantly be pulled toward the direction of the enemy. This renders the handy radar virtually obsolete and makes finding the enemies too easy. Sure technology is great, but where is the thrill of the hunt? You can also boost inwards toward objects but you will never reach distant planets or even bosses for that matter. Bosses will reach you however, so avoid them at all costs. At the end of each level you are graded on your performance. If you have played well, the Omega Boost will be upgraded, free of charge no less. Take that, Armored Core you cheap sonuva...

Graphically Omega Boost shines. The enemies are all well designed and some of the boss characters are incredibly detailed. Everything moves along crisply and there was no hint of slow down even with the impressive amount of enemies on screen and explosions. The only disappointment in the visual department is some of the backgrounds. Due to the games emphasis on action rather than taking a scenic tour of space and neighboring planets, the environments are streamlined. And that's just fine with me. I'd rather have a functioning background that allows the framerate to stay consistent while there are a ton of things going on, then...well you know where I'm going with this. Judgement is for the bland backgrounds, tons of enemies and the sweet framerate! Just get close to a planets surface and you'll see how fast you are motoring. One cool little known effect is pausing the game and using the control pad to view the completely paused environments in 360-degree freedom. Which is like that effect used in movies and TV, where the action is frozen, but the camera is able to move around the objects. FYI, that effect is accomplished by filming the events with multiple cameras that form an arc (or a semi-circular area) around the action. Then they simply show the paused scene from each camera, which fools the eye into thinking you are moving around the area. Neat huh? Never say that Cheat Code Central doesn't go the extra mile to inform our readers.

Musically Omega Boost cranks out techno flavored guitar tunes that are typical but no less inspiring than what you'd hear in an anime flavored product. If you were actually operating a hulking metal behemoth with enough weaponry to blow up a few planets, these would be good tunes to take with you. They'd certainly give you that appetite for destruction more so than that Barry Manilow tape you'd want to take along. Although, maybe I'm being a bit hasty. Just imagine being locked in a Mech, facing insurmountable odds and having only Copa Cabana or Mandy to listen to. I'm sure that would turn anyone into a viable killing machine, bent on wanton destruction, mayhem and carnage; in that order. In the sound effects department, the robotic female voice that accompanies you on your mission is well suited to the game. The voice is futuristic and devoid of emotion which is so much better than if they had decided to make it a sarcastic, wise cracking chum. Shudder... The blasts and explosions are bassy and really kick, especially when playing in an Intensor Chair. If I haven't said it, you've got to get yourself one of these boss chairs, man. You'll never play vids the same way again.

Complaint Dept. As I mentioned earlier, Omega Boost may be a little on the easy side. That's good news for casual gamers though. Let's face it, most 3D shooters these days like R-Type, Einhander and Colony Wars are just too hard for the average player to get into. Omega Boost provides a fast paced shooter that controls like a dream for the player who is turned off by the difficulty of this genre. Veterans may whip through it in a night or two, but it will be a great night or two! Since that wasn't a real complaint and I've already explained why the backgrounds are a little bland, I will say that I didn't like the fact that the Omega Boost was upgraded at the end of each level (given that you performed well enough). I love to tinker and create and it would have been great to see the level of customization left up to the player, like in Mech Warrior or Armored Core. Of course, there's always Omega Boost II...

Being a shooter fan from way back I can really appreciate this game. For some reason though, I haven't seen this one pushed enough by Sony, which is too bad. Everyone that I know that's played it has showered Omega Boost with praise. Their real only complaint is with the short length of the game and limited replayability over the long term. As a game reviewer that has to review tons of games, I can tell you that this is a big bonus to me. Sorry but I'm getting real tired of these 40+ hour games. They are killing me. But seriously folks, Omega Boost is well worth a look. It's fun, great looking, great playing and it won't melt in your hands. Definitely recommended.

OVERALL
8.5

GRAPHICS
8.0

CONTROL
9.5

MUSIC/FX
8.0

FRUSTRATION
3.0

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