OMEGA game
  • Graphics
  • Sound
  • Playability
  • Lastability
ReviewDan and Jason

Main review

What was that? Terra is under threat again? By those no good doing Hisiffian Kanates just because trade relations broke down, eh? What is the world coming to? Anyway, it just so happens that you are an elite pilot in the Damocles squadron so guess what? It’s up to you to put an end to it all… just what you needed when you were relaxing with your girl and sipping a beer, isn’t it?!

Any one who owned a Commodore 64 and who was or still is a shoot ’em up fan must have come across Delta in their time, well known for its hardcore gameplay, its amazing music and sublime graphics spread across a whopping thirty two levels. Omega is Trevor “Smila” Storey’s tribute remake of the legendry Delta so for those that loved the original or those who have never played it, it is well worth grabbing hold of as you wont be disappointed – it’s all here!

After the slightly disappointing opening screen you might be taken aback by how slow everything seems to be. The problem is you start the game with minimum speed and weaponry, something which really needs to be taken care of if you wanna get far in the game. By blasting out an attacking formation you are awarded with credits which can be built up to buy armaments at the “shop”. The shop is in the form of flying icons which appear between certain attack waves, if an icon is red then you can afford the add on and flying over the icon will add it to your ship. Don’t hit any of the other icons though, as you will lose a life. The speed add on is a necessity and can be increased a further three times, as is the rate of fire add-on, which boosts your original laser up to a further two times. The other weapons are amusingly titled fish weapon which adds a little forward fire power, multiple fire which adds a pea shooter to the aft, port and starboard sides of your ship, a protector which is a spinning ball of death which obliterates anything it touches and also the supa shield which protects you for a short amount of time. As with the shield all the weapons will gradually where out after a short period of time so you need to keep re-purchasing them if you want to survive.

Like the original version of the game, Omega is addictively difficult and the only way to really get through it is repetitive play so that you can learn the attack wave patterns that will be constantly thrown at you – which also gives the game a long lasting experience and completing it will certainly take some time and nerves of steel.

Everything matches the original, the graphics have obviously been updated to modern standards and are actually very good with some amazing backdrops on later levels. The fierce dragon-like title music is still here (remixed by Chris Abbott) although it seems to lose a little of its harsh roar, but the sublime in game music is gorgeous. The game would have benefited from having sound effects over the music, especially when the enemy fires at you since their bullets are very difficult to see and you can be swatted from the skies with a stray one flying under any other aliens on the screen. Three lives might not seem enough for a game of this size and difficulty level, especially later on in the game but, as I mentioned, perseverance pays off and you will soon find yourself addicted in a way like you thought you lost nineteen years ago… over and out commander.

Second opinion

On the surface, Omega is very presentable; the graphics are very detailed and modeled closely on the original sprites, everything moves smoothly, the ship’s weapons can be cranked up until armed to the hilt with familiar shooty goodness and it sounds fabulous – but as the saying goes, the Devil is in the details and there’s just loads of little niggles that damage the overall “feel” of the game; some are simply cosmetic, such as the fish weapon being called a missile (more annoying because it’s not a missile system) or that it’s icon and the extra shot are a little hard to distinguish between, but others have a far more serious an impact on the gameplay. The now over-zealous alien bullet collisions make manoeuvring quite a bit more difficult because what would previously have sailed through the ship’s nacelles with no more damage than some paint removed is now fatal.

The original is a learning experience, involving the memorisation of the attack formations, working out the optimal point to top up the weapons for best effect and occasionally finding the best place to just sit on the screen to do the most damage and Delta has been finely tuned, probably more so than most gamers realise, so the changes made to the overall concept for Omega are possibly not for the better. Since getting a shield is far easier here (since it used to require more credits) the temptation is to simply keep re-purchasing it and forgetting the other powers and this works pretty well up until the point where the ship slows to an absolute crawl and you simply can’t avoid slapping into a stone column!

The more trifling cosmetic omissions could be lived with, although it’s irking in this day and age to not have the option of joystick or at least redefine-able keyboard control, highscore tables or, on a game that has a long playing time for it’s genre, a pause mode but the major differences in the game mechanic itself, most significantly the total removal of the Warper power up (essentially a “bullet time” where everything deadly slows down to half speed but you and your bullets sail on at full pelt and one that could have looked excellent on the higher resolution display) aren’t easily excused; for me the point of a remake is to take a good 8-bit game and “re-skin” is to improve the visuals and audials, not to start tampering with an established formula.

If Omega is purely looked at as an original game there are already some fantastic horizontal blasters on the PC like Platypus or the venerable Tubular Worlds and considered as a conversion of Delta it’s just not close enough to the mark. Playable, but simply not as tight as the original.