Omega Five (Xbox 360) review
"Omega Five isn't the most original shoot 'em up title ever made; in fact, it doesn't even try to do anything new to rejuvenate the genre. It sticks to the basics and reuses moments from other shmups, like when you encounter a giant, flying centipede in the second stage. As the level begins, you only see it pop in and out of the trees in the background, but it eventually dives into the foreground. Seconds later, it maneuvers around the screen while shooting bullets everywhere, forcing you ..."
Omega Five isn't the most original shoot 'em up title ever made; in fact, it doesn't even try to do anything new to rejuvenate the genre. It sticks to the basics and reuses moments from other shmups, like when you encounter a giant, flying centipede in the second stage. As the level begins, you only see it pop in and out of the trees in the background, but it eventually dives into the foreground. Seconds later, it maneuvers around the screen while shooting bullets everywhere, forcing you to make good use of your reflexes. It quickly disappears, at which point you're flying around a river, cutting through the various... "cocoons" that block your path. But that's not the last you see of the creature as it makes its return after you make your way through that wave of cocoons. This time, it makes even more twists and turns, pushing you into tight corners where bullets welcome your death. I can't help but think of the Gradius games and such whenever I see that beast appear.
Also, throughout the entire game, you'll destroy countless upon countless of ships that come at you in rows of four or five at a time, a staple of the genre. O5 goes into overkill with it, though, throwing them at you with every moment they get. The first stage is a prime example, where dozens of these ships come flying out of a building you're about to enter. Then it happens at least two more different times when you're in the building, speeding out of the top and bottom of the screen. And for the finale, as you exit the building, an army of these ships come flying out of the bottom of the screen, leaving you with a robot genocide on your hands before you even reach the first boss.
Though those type of enemies dominate the majority of the game, there's various other foes you get to destroy with one of the four main characters (one of which flies around with his dog...). Like huge, robotic polar bear-like creatures that take up about half of the screen and blow out trails of ice at you. They move around erratically, making it hard to hit, but you can make things easy by using your character's special move. Ruby's (the announcer's Engrish makes it sound like her name is Boobie) anchor shot is especially helpful here, where you can just attach it to the bear's head and suck away its life. Then there's the robot skulls that get in your way as you navigate through a dump site full of metal. Since this place is so cramped and the skulls shoot laser beams, destroying them fast is obvious. And when push comes to shove, with your lifebar almost being depleted, you can use another staple of shoot 'em ups: bombs. Well, in this case, your character is exploding, so... um... screw it, it's still a bomb move.
Now, you'd think with all this stuff going on, it'd be pretty hard to master it right away, but after just maybe three days, you'll have this entire game memorized. You'll know where all the enemies will appear and how they'll attack. Shoot, even the final fourth stage (yup, only four stages) will become easy once you figure out the method to its madness. Those "No Continue" achievements for each character that seemed impossible to get at first now looks like a cakewalk at this point... You'd think that a week after you start playing, you would get tired of it, especially with how it doesn't try to do anything different from other shoot 'em ups.
Well, you thought wrong.
O5 is great to play because it's unoriginal. It doesn't strive to be anything new, instead, it strives to give you an oldschool experience that's enjoyable. You can memorize every pattern in the game in under a week, and I'm sure the developers knew this as well, which is why they included some tough modes. After playing the title for awhile, you'll get "++" modes to go along with the Arcade and Challenge modes. Basically, in these modes, if you get hit once, you die. You won't get any achievements for beating these modes without getting hit, but they're important if you want to nab a top spot on the leaderboards. This is the main reason you'll keep playing, to dominate the "++" modes and hopefully reach the top ten... or in some people's cases, crack the top 100.
Yeah, Omega Five may not be innovative, and it may be a short game, but that sure doesn't prevent it from being a fun title with a lot of replayability. It also doesn't hurt that, for a Live Arcade title, it looks very pretty.
Community review by pickhut (January 13, 2008)
Honestly don't want remakes of any of the terrible Alex Kidd sequels unless they're made DRASTICALLY better. Can you imagine a good High-Tech World or Enchanted Castle?
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