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Omega Five - XBLA

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Omega Five - XBLA

Post  Terra on Tue Oct 19, 2010 3:54 pm

Hudson Soft is known to have a history of collaborating with other companies in their video games. They’ve gone from major companies like Nintendo and Sega to smaller groups like Atari and even Disney. For Omega Five though, they’ve teamed up with Natsume, a developer best known for their Harvest Moon series to create a side-scrolling SHMUP for the XBLA. Question is, does it deliver? The simple answer is, yes, mostly. The game takes an unusual approach to the genre, but not completely unheard of. Instead of controlling a spaceship, you control a large character that scrolls down the screen, in similar fashion to Lords of Thunder, another Hudson game of old.

The controls for the main game are pretty simple, although strangely for an XBLA game, they don’t require the use of the A, B, X or Y buttons. The player controls the character by using the left joystick or d-pad and uses the main weapon with the right joystick. This is all simple enough. Then, you have the characters special abilities. These are all different between each character and are used by pressing the shoulder buttons and triggers.

In the game, you have two main modes for single player, arcade and challenge mode. The Arcade mode is the main game, where you go through all the levels until you die or run out of continues, while the challenge mode allows to play levels which you’ve beaten in the Arcade mode. The Gameplay itself is pretty good, although it can feel slightly slow at times. There is also a 2 player co-op mode, which can be quite fun with friends but ultimately doesn’t add that much to the game. Initially, you start off with two characters but you can unlock two more later in the game.



The game utilizes a points-scoring system, where you destroy the enemies and earn points. Simple enough but there’s more to it. Natsume have created a system where you can earn bonuses by destroying or attacking enough enemies without stopping for more than a few seconds. This will build up your “Bonus Gauge” and depending on how full the bar is, this can range from doubling your points when you kill the enemies from x2 all the way to x10.Enemies, when destroyed will also release pink chips. These pink chips will build up another gauge, your Weapons gauge, giving you at a maximum of 3 “ultimate bursts” at a time. These ultimate bursts are just another name for smart bombs and play-out like they usually do.

The game features a power-up system for your characters weapons. Each character has 3 different weapons, which can be found throughout the level in a metal box container. Just shoot it and it’ll open. These weapons can be levelled up if you find another container with the same weapon, grab it and you’ll upgrade your weapon by another level. Weapons can be levelled up from the initial level 1 up to level 3. While it’s a good idea, it feels slightly lacking, underdeveloped if you will and could use some improvement.

Difficulty levels aren’t particularly hard but the game can be quite challenging at certain times. Your health is measured by a health bar at the bottom of the screen and health packs are available throughout levels in the same metal boxes as the weapons upgrades. If you die at any point in the game, you’re given continues, or credits as they’re called here. At first, you only get a set number of continues but if you play the game for enough hours, you can then earn unlimited credits. Using a credit will reset your score however and your weapon will revert to its level 1 stage. While this is understandable, it’s not always fair to the player it can leave you at a disadvantage as it can leave fighting some difficult enemies with a basic weapon. It does feel like they should have taken a different approach.



The game has no real story to it. All that we know is that the 4 playable characters in the game are known as a group called the “Omega Five”, with the 5th member being part of one character’s moveset. SHMUP’s aren’t known for story-telling so this is understandable, although it does leave the presentation felling slightly short. However, the presentation is made up for with decent looking menus and a detailed tutorial to the game. Graphically, the game looks amazing. The game runs in HD at 720p and you can tell. It is visually very impressive for an XBLA title. The levels look very good, enemy design work well, only real issue is the main characters. The designs aren’t too bad; it’s just that they’re not very distinctive. However, this isn’t much of a detractor though.

In the audio department, the game uses the talents of Natsume’s Hiroyuki Iwatsuki for the soundtrack. The soundtrack works quite well, it’s nothing hugely special but it does the job fairly well. Other aspects like character voices aren’t exactly great, sometimes sounding like mumbles but they work, just.

Something that might be a turn-off to some gamers is that Omega Five only has 4 levels. The game does however, include Online Leaderboards to boost replay value and, for challenge mode Leaderboards, it also allows gamers to upload video replay’s of their level run for others to watch, which is a pretty nice addition.

Overall, Omega Five is a great, addictive game that is worth the cost, but it needs a few tweaks here and there and a little more substance to make it an amazing one. Considering it’s an XBLA release though, this is more understandable and at 800 Points, (£7.50), it’s a good deal and comes highly recommended.

8/10

Terra
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Re: Omega Five - XBLA

Post  Adminassassin on Thu Oct 21, 2010 10:11 pm

800 points, which I think is $10 here. WHat if any multiplayer is there? Sorry, if you mentioned it and I missed it.

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Re: Omega Five - XBLA

Post  Terra on Fri Oct 22, 2010 9:40 am

Don't worry about it. There's 2 player co-op in the game, which is rather fun but after awhile can get a bit boring. Same with most games I guess though.

Terra
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