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GF! Archival Version Copyright 1995-2004

Import Review

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Ups: Highly addictive; great graphics; cool story; great tension reliever.
Downs: It's tough; it's an import.
System Reqs:
Sony PlayStation

Scheduled for US release in late 1999.

omega4.jpg (4100 bytes)Get ready to die...a lot. Following on the heels of their popular racing game, Gran Turismo, Polyphony Digital and SCEI have released Omega Boost to the general Japanese gaming audience. Yes, oddly enough, it’s an import (I’ll get back to the odd part in a bit). This is an import review, so stop crying. Imagine a game that’s better than Gran Turismo or even better than the upcoming Gran Turismo 2, then slap an addiction factor--more so than the previous mentioned games--onto it and you have Omega Boost. We’re talking Tekken 3 addiction here.

omega1.jpg (2831 bytes)It isn’t complex. It isn’t thoughtful. It’s just a shooter in the most classic style and it is cool, very cool. Your basic quest, like all shooters, is to save the universe. Your character is a mech unit which goes from space to the surface of planets and back blowing away whatever comes its way, be it engrossing (or grossly large) star ships with too many turrents dropping lasers into your lap or other battle mech units (also as stunningly designed as yours) trying to kick you out of their quadrant. The key selling point for me with Omega Boost is the amount of action that is going on all around me. The entire game pad is under assault with my frantic finger action. From squadrons of fighters to weird spider-robots trying to attach themselves to the mech unit, akin to the Lost in Space spiders, but much larger, this game is busy with detail and fighting.

omega5.jpg (3117 bytes)If you were into Robotech (Macross) back when the show was on T.V. and the companion RPG (the roll-the-dice type) was the thing to play, then you’re going to love Omega Boost. Even if you weren’t into Robotech, Omega Boost is one of the most appealing games of the year. It’s a nerve intensive, 360-degree shooter, boasting brilliant graphics, first- and third-person perspectives and completely fluid control of your mech. The game becomes addictive and will more than likely acquire a loyal following like that of Tekken 3 or Final Fantasy. When you’re tired of solving puzzles, gaining XP or trying to find enough coins to advance, then popping in Omega Boost will be a soothing, shoot-everything-anywhere game that will engage you enough to allow you to zone out for two hours, after which you emerge not understanding why or how, only that you’ve just played one of the coolest shooters on the PSX.

omega6.jpg (2968 bytes)Let’s talk about control. Taking advantage of the dual-shock system, you experience constant vibration and the use of virtually every button on the controller, aside from one joystick. It takes a bit to get used to the true 360-degree range that your mech unit has in addition to the ability to view what is going on behind you with one button press. But, once you’ve mastered the keypad you’re a virtual fighting force, encompassing anything and everything going on in tandem with a directional arrow indicating enemy position. At first it’s hard to get used to the fact that you are able to view what’s happening all around you. Double this with the fact that there is quite of bit of action happening everywhere. Needless to say, it’s easy to start blasting things, and the beautiful thing about Omega Boost is that the game doesn’t start you out on too difficult of a level; rather, it progresses. After about level four is when you start to notice that it’s hard to fight and stay alive. It relies more on building skill, much like Tekken 3. Alright, I didn’t have much skill, but I had an addiction that made me keep pressing the continue button until I got used to everything. By the way, in the campaign mission you have four continues to start out with.

screen3.jpg (3004 bytes)Import reviews (this being the first here at GF!) are unique in that I get to talk about the English playability. This game is different from the other Japanese imports I’ve played and will be reviewing in the sense that a majority of the game is in English with Japanese subtitles. This is getting back to that odd part I mentioned at the beginning of this article. I’m not really sure why it was released in Japan as opposed to the US, be it economics or the confidence that it’ll sell better in Japan than in the US. If anything, this game is made for a US crowd. More than likely it will make its way to our shores, since they went to the trouble to do it all in English and subtitle everything in Japanese.

Omega Boost’s FMVs are a mixture of computer graphics and live acting; it has some definite eye-candy, appeal but doesn’t run into the cheesy or stupid: it’s smooth and quick to game play. Each level is filled with numerous bosses and then some that you don’t expect, being announced as "unknown," by those guiding your mission through the different worlds.

screenshot2.jpg (2457 bytes)Once you finish the game you are able to go back through the levels of your choice. For me this was great, since I was able to skip the first few levels and start with the ones that actually challenged me. This brings to the table the learning curve in this game. Omega Boost is very intuitive. Instead of having the option of leisurely learning the controls and the game, you’re forced to push the buttons until it becomes natural. Trust me, it comes quickly.

The only complaint I can lodge against Omega Boost is that it isn’t in the US, so pray for a quick American release. But, if you can’t wait for it to hit our shores, then you can purchase it over the web at your favorite import gaming company. This game is the Tekken 3 of the shooter world.

--Matt Baldwin