By Andrew Liszewski
If you thought last week’s Lemans was as basic as graphics could get on the Commodore 64, I’m afraid you ain’t seen nothing yet. While Omega Race might not be at the absolute bottom of the barrel when it came to pushing the C64’s graphic capabilities, it’s still pretty far down there. Even with the ability to choose any 2 color scheme you preferred, instead of the default black and white scheme pictured above.
The game was often compared to Asteroids for obvious reasons, but I think Omega Race changed things up enough to make it a worthy alternative. I mean sure you were shooting at ‘droid’ ships that broke apart instead of asteroids that broke apart, but the game screen was surrounded by a force field that everything (except your laser blasts) would bounce off. In Asteroids everything would wrap to the other side of your display whenever they went off-screen, but Omega Race was more like a game of interstellar pool. Except that when your ship hit the surrounding force field you could never really predict what angle it would bounce off at.
But I always thought that the most challenging part of Omega Race was that your ship never lost momentum. So if you wanted to come to a stop for any reason, you had to spin around and thrust in the opposite direction. (That’s what she said.) But this extra challenge also facilitated my ‘secret’ technique. When the game started I would rotate my ship until it pointed towards the top of the screen before giving it a boost. Then, because of the perpetual momentum and force fields, the ship would continually bounce up and down across the screen allowing me to swivel and strafe at the enemies whenever I had a clear shot that wasn’t blocked by the high score board in the middle of the screen. While it might not have been in the true nature of Omega Race, it resulted in some pretty decent scores. And since the game had no final ‘goal’, the high score was all that mattered.