Mission Omega (Mind Games/Argus Press) Review | Amstrad Action - Everygamegoing

Amstrad Action


Mission Omega
By Mind Games Espana
Amstrad CPC464

 
Published in Amstrad Action #13

Mission Omega

It's always nice to see something a little bit different with plenty of originality, and this game certainly fits the bill. The only problem with it is the instructions: they seem to presume the player is psychic - they leave you very much in the dark about how to get anywhere in the game. This doesn't stop it being quite a good game but it does give you a lot of unnecessary and frustrating guesswork before you can enjoy it properly.

You are aboard an alien ship, the Omega, and have to deactivate it by shutting down its four reactors. To do this you've got to build a number of robots that can then be moved around the ship to complete the task. We're told a lot about how to build the robots and control them, but not a sausage on what you're actually supposed to do with them. Presumably we're meant to enjoy the challenge of finding out, but personally I think Mind Games ask too much of the player who may spend many a frustrating hour fighting to achieve the unknown.

You have to shut down the four reactors and escape within one hour, so you can't afford to waste any of it.

The first thing is to build your robots. There are four types of base: hover, sphere, legs and tracks. Which one you choose will affect speed, carrying capability and resistance to damage. Having picked a base you need to put a weapon, sensor and power pack on it. There are four types of weapons from a laser to a missile, three sensors (visual, audio and infra-red) and three types of power pack. Each of these will affect the others in some way; experience will teach you the best robots to build. The weapons and sensors consume power, as does moving, and of course all three systems have to be added together to see if the robot can take the weight.

If that weren't enough, you have to be careful with your resources since only a limited amount of material is available.

You take your newly built robot into the ship and start your search or build some more. Throughout the game you'll probably need a mixture of the two to keep things moving. You can have up to eight robots at a time, although it's actually impractical to control that many. Once inside the ship there is a large area to search in trying to find the reactors. The robots are viewed from above in a screen window as they move through the corridors, bare except for the odd machine or barrier.

You can set the robots to search an area automatically while you're off doing something else, you can program them to search your own defined route, or you can control them manually all the way. Thus more than one robot can be usefully busy at the same time.

There are various obstacles around the ship, including electrified barriers you can switch on and off by shooting the right switch, teleporters that move you to another part of the ship and aliens, who can be shot but who can also shoot you. Robots can also be destroyed by getting a flat battery, but if left unmoved for a while they will build up their energy again.

It's certainly interesting playing around with the different robots, and there's plenty for the mappers to cope with. The gameplay becomes repetitive with all the continual searching and little else, but the mam problem will be working out exactly what you're supposed to be doing. There's plenty to do, still, and this should present most intrepid explorers with a tough challenge.

Second Opinion

A potentially great game spoiled for a ha' pennyworth of tar. Clearer instructions and a more interesting game task and they could have had a Rave on their hands. As it is, you just end up aimlessly exploring an enormous network of corridors. Big, but pointless.

First Day Target Score

Deactivate a reactor.

Green Screen View

The colours are fully adjustable from any point in the game, so visibility is no problem at all.

Good News

P. A large game area to explore.
P. Very nice in-game tune.
P. Multiple robot control is good.
P. No shortage of things to work out.

Bad News

N. Instructions leave you too much guesswork.
N. Continual searching gets repetitive

Bob Wade