Amstrad Computer User

Mission Omega

Author: Adrian Pumphrey
Publisher: Bug Byte
Machine: Amstrad CPC464/664/6128

Published in Amstrad Computer User #60

Guide a team of droids round an alien complex and save the earth from the threat of nuclear holocaust.

Mission Omega

When an object the size of a small moon winds its way through the universe towards Earth, the immediate human response is to nuke it. We would all be bathing in its radioactive debris at this very moment if some wishy-washy liberal had not decided to send up a probe instead.

As the human component of the probe you must create and guide a team of droids around the alien complex searching for reactors to shut down, thus ending the alien threat (imaginary or otherwise). Before exploration of the complex can begin you must build yourself a squad of mechanical men who will go forth and get blasted, irradiated, crushed and generally mistreated in your stead.

You start by selecting a body. This can be anything from a lightweight hover to a heavy-duty tank; the bigger the body, the heavier the weapon it can carry. The various types of laser and particle cannons not only inflict varying amounts of damage but use different amounts of your precious energy supply. This brings us to the power plant which can be either one of two sizes of battery or nuclear.

Mission Omega

Once your droid has been named it can be released to boldly go wherever droids go when they are feeling bold. Each droid body has its own individual graphical representation but, apart from this, the only difference between them is their energy level and how big a punch they pack.

A small section of the screen is devoted to a page-flipping aerial view of the droid you are controlling. This display shows the room and corridors plus the occasional piece of animated machinery which surround the droid. Most of the machinery encountered is for effect, and only a few pieces can be used. Teleporters are an efficient method of travel and often take the player to areas otherwise inaccessible. This restriction of movement is further enhanced by electric barriers whose deactivating switches you must search out. If you are unfortunate enough to encounter some of the other inhabitants, tread with caution, they are exceedingly nasty. Becoming lost is not possible thanks to the map function which - when called - displays the appropriate sections of the complex and the relative positions of your droids.

Because the instruction is brief, not everything is fully explained. Two of the movement commands seem interesting enough but their practicality remains in question. The first, putting your droid on automatic, causes it to wander of its own volition.

This wandering is usually short-lived before the "search completed" message appears and control is returned to manual. What the object of the search is I have as yet to ascertain. The second movement command is easy to understand but its relevancy remains doubtful. It is possible to program a number of steps into your droid which can be run as a program.

A little more variety and this game could have been a winner; instead it offers a few hours of mindless mazeplodding.

Adrian Pumphrey

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