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The Games We Played – Omega Race (C64)

Omega Race (C64) (Image courtesy C64.com)
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.

[ Moby Games - Omega Race (C64) ]







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  • Mike

    This is the very first game I had on my very first computer: VIC20. Oh how I played and played and played. Oh how the sound annoyed my family members.

  • bobby

    Classic, is all I can say. I was stuck on the arcade game. Then when it ported over to Colecovision, I became Omega Master!

  • Eric Cotton

    I was co-writer of both the VIC-20 and C64 ports of Omega Race. And funny, while the C64 has more all-around horsepower (graphics and otherwise) I think the VIC-20 version (on which Andy Finkel was by far the lead programmer) ranks as the better of the two.

    BTW, both have hidden title pages (easter eggs) but I've long since forgotten how to bring them up.

  • Eric Cotton

    I was co-writer of both the VIC-20 and C64 ports of Omega Race. And funny, while the C64 has more all-around horsepower (graphics and otherwise) I think the VIC-20 version (on which Andy Finkel was by far the lead programmer) ranks as the better of the two.

    BTW, both have hidden title pages (easter eggs) but I've long since forgotten how to bring them up.

  • William

    I remember seeing one hidden screen appear when I got to like somewhere like 550000 points or around that mid hundred thoushands range (400-600). At the time it happened, my brother was out of the room and no one believed me that it was there. I remember there being a cryptic message about being able to get to this point or something, it's all just a blur.

    I have long wondered what the screen actually said because i think it faded away and I went back to playign the game.

  • William

    I remember seeing one hidden screen appear when I got to like somewhere like 550000 points or around that mid hundred thoushands range (400-600). At the time it happened, my brother was out of the room and no one believed me that it was there. I remember there being a cryptic message about being able to get to this point or something, it's all just a blur.

    I have long wondered what the screen actually said because i think it faded away and I went back to playign the game.