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 Post subject: Omega Race (Arcade - Commodore 64 - Vic-20 - Atari 2600)
PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2020 8:44 pm 

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Joined: 11 Oct 2008
Posts: 301
Location: Autobot City, Sugiura Base
Time for another vintage shooter. This time is Midway's Omega Race.
Since we're talking of one of those "Older than the NES games" this might be a short review.

Space colonies call it Galaxy Defense Training.
Flyers call it...


Omega Race is a Shmup-Racing hybrid where you are pitted against droids and the objective is to destroy all of them in order to advance. Although you're in a race circuit of some sorts, it acts more like a combat arena as you can go on any direction rather than doing laps. This allows you to decide if you want to take down the "Active" Droid first or go to those on stand by before they move. But before that, you've must get used to the controls since the control tracker only rotates your ship, you have to use the thrust button to accelerate and let go the button to stop. Since there's no brake button, you have to rely on deceleration to speed down until your ship fully stops, You can also use the gained speed to bounce on the walls while remaining on your horizontal or vertical bounce trajectory. Now that you've knew a few hints about controlling your ship, we can talk about the enemies. The major concern are the "circles" that begin to display a triangle in their centers, these ones have to be taken out immediately, as they will transform into a triangle with spinning lines inside. These Droids are faster than the regular ones and they drop triangular mines, which while they can be milked out for points, it is more convenient to take the droid down since it is capable of firing against you like the others.

An interesting feature was the well executed use of 1 or 2 credits since playing a 1 Credit game grants you 2 ships while the 2 Credits allows you to start with 5. The 2 Players mode is an "Alternate" game where the second player can play until Player 1 loses a life.

This game was ported on the Commodore 64, the Vic-20 and the Atari 2600. While the Commodore ports are very faithful despite the use of pixel graphics, it changes the Black and Yellow monochrome for a more basic Black and White one, While the Atari 2600 port has more blocky graphics, it compensates on adding more colors on the game and flashing effects when the player loses a life.

Graphically, this is one of those Vector games where the use of wireframes offered both sharp and shmooth shapes which were pretty much of an innovation, just like Asteroids did. Like all the early 80's Vectorial games, the color palette was limited to a monochrome "Black-and-Any Color". In this case it was Black and Yellow, which today looks like a vintage screen when back in 1981 it was futuristic.

The music of Omega Race feels like a rip-off of two things: First, Space Invaders as we have a "dun...dan...dun-dun" that increases its tempo drastically as things complicate and second, Star Wars. The level clear tune sounds like a rip-off of main theme from Star Wars, this is more notorious in the Vic-20 and Atari 2600 ports.

In resume, Omega Race is quite of a fun vintage arcade shooter that despite its age or simplicity, it pulls a good few minutes of shooting challenge.
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