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Omega Boost
Score: 95%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment America
Developer: Polyphony Digital
Media: CD/1
Players: 1
Genre: Shooter/ Action

Graphics & Sound:
The graphics in Omega Boost are quite good. The zones themselves are drab, with either empty space or simple repeating textures, but thatís not what youíre watching. The models, on the other hand, are superb. Everything looks really spiffy, from the mecha, erm, Omega Boost that you pilot down to the bosses that you fight. Detailed, textured, and pretty. Fast, too -- the game blazes with speed that matches the good anime that itís based on, like Robotech. Sometimes it moves even faster. This is a Good Thing.

The music is great too, with songs from Static-X and Loudmouth. Good beating techno riffs really accentuate the action to this game, and I found myself singing along. Excellent stuff. The sound effects are appropriate explosive-y, and the voice acting is so purposefully cheesy that itís great. Overall, the presentation of this game is excellent.


Gameplay:
This game rocks gameplay-wise. Youíre the Omega Boost, sent back in time to keep the Alphacore from changing history. Not that you care -- youíre just here to blow stuff up. And oh, my Lord, does this game let you blow stuff up well. You can have tons and tons and tons and tons of enemies on the screen at once, and the game happily clips along with no slowdown. There are three weapons that you can use -- your autocannon, a homing laser a la Ray Storm, and the Viper Blast that can only be used when youíve charged the Omega Boost up for a few levels. Although this may seem like a limitation, believe me, thereís no time while youíre playing that you can stop long enough to switch weapons. The game comes on fast and furious, with guns blazing. At times you feel like youíre watching a real anime battle, with the awesome particle effects and everything flying about as you chase after an enemy mecha. Omega Boost is that good.

There are a few problems, though, in that at first the game controls are rather unintuitive, and the game difficulty has an absurd ramp-up near the end of the game. But youíll not mind playing the middle levels over and over again anyway. And one of the nifty things about the game is that you can play any zone youíve visited separately in another game mode. And as you do certain things in the modes, new levels open up that you can play around in, such as one where there are literally hundreds of planes assaulting you at the same time. Good clean explosive fun.


Difficulty:
Agh. Omega Boost is really easy, until you get to level six or so, and then it gets hard, and then it gets easy again... and then you get to the last two levels and you die repeatedly and run out of continues and get back to the last levels and die repeatedly and... ugh. This gameís a serious bitch in the last two levels. Fair warning. This is a definite problem with the game, and pretty much all that keeps it from getting a perfect score.

Game Mechanics:
Once you understand what the hellís going on, the game controls are intuitive. Mainly, you hold down L1 and blow stuff up. Easy, neh? Really, though, the movements are fluid (you can use analog, but I find digital more precise), the button presses are responsive and the placement of the buttons superb, and the game itself plays smoothly. The menus are easy to navigate through. If the game didnít have such an absurdly difficult learning curve near the end of the game, and if the levels themselves were a touch more detailed, this would be the penultimate shooter. As it is, Omega Boost still blows away the competition in the way of mecha shooters. Buy this one.

-Sunfall to-Ennien, GameVortex Communications
AKA Phil Bordelon

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