There had to be something unique and noteworthy about Omega Boost. It was one of the few games Eifel 65 included in their song celebrating the Playstation after all. And here I was claiming to be a Playstation fan and I hadn’t even played all the games in the debatable anthem of the console! So obviously that had to change.
I popped in the game, watched the excellent introduction cinematic, and was thrown into the space battling action the band spoke of. It was fast, it was frantic, and it was in full 3D. The lock-on targeting for enemies made navigating the air space a breeze: so much so, had it not been there I don’t know if the game would be anywhere near as good as it was originally hyped. For that matter, the game holds up well today. Its all too common retro video games feel dated at best by today’s standards, and downright unplayable at worst. Omega Boost falls on the finest end of that spectrum, being legitimately fun to play some 20+ years after initial release.
Without discussing the gameplay specifically, this has to be thanks to the game’s incredible speed. It’s fast. Like, very fast. I usually reserved quick moving retro games, with a fast camera and blazing action, to cartridge games only: discs weren’t able to load all the things needed to allow this type of gameplay, but that concern wasn’t an issue on a cartridge. Omega Boost doesn’t suffer from this in the slightest: after each initial stage loads, it’s space fight time. I was getting strong memories of one of my favorite games Star Fox 64, and that is most definitely a good thing.
A strong connection between the two games has to be the open space in which you fly around. These areas were akin to Star Fox 64’s All-Range areas, but wilder. Unlike Star Fox, Omega Boost has you piloting a mech. As such, you move in full 360 degrees. And being in space there’s no ground below you to orient yourself quickly, which you’d think may be a problem but really isn’t thanks to the game’s aforementioned lock-on targeting system. Only a few minutes into the game and I was boosting and shooting and dodging and in general being a badass mech. It felt great!
Each stage offers something different to tackle. One has you taking down a juggernaut of a warship that is constantly firing a barrage of missiles at you. The next has you battling a sandworm creature in near complete darkness. The sheer variety of options is great, and playing it in 2023 I can see why the game was praised back in 1999. Personal favorite stages for me were the dark sandworm one above, and a few stages later this spinal-looking dragon creature at the end of a long battle. These offer a chance to try something new with the game’s normal mechanics, and I appreciated the polish and dedication to offering the player some variety.
If I had any complaints with Omega Boost it would be the game’s length. With I think 8 stages (granted of great variety) the game is over within maybe an hour’s time. There is an option to select a stage to play one beaten in the normal story mode, and these stages have alternate rules and gameplay, if I’m remembering correctly. But in the end these are just the same stages again with a different coat of paint. This style of gameplay longevity was fairly common back then so its not unheard of to see it here, but nowadays rehashing levels isn’t always the greatest. Levels are good though, so at least there’s that: you’ll have a good time playing the game, for however long you play it.
Omega Boost has been one of the better games I’ve played during the A to Z streaming project. Playing retro games can sometimes end in games you’ve been looking forward to just not living up to the expectations you’ve set. Thankfully, Omega Boost doesn’t fall into this category, and is instead a solidly competent space mech game. Eifel 65 were correct to include this one with the likes of Tekken 3 and Metal Gear Solid. But then again they also said The X-Files too… but we’ll get to that one another time.