Omega Race

Name:
Omega Race

Company: CBS Electronics
Model #:
80090
Programmer:
Unknown
Year: 1983
Released?
Yes
Notes:
Port of the 1981 Bally Midway arcade game

 

Although it may not look like it, Omega Race for the 2600 was a bit of a technological marvel.  Utilizing not only CBS Electronics RAM Plus board (which added 256 bytes of RAM), but also the Booster Grip accessory which added an extra fire button to the 2600 controller.  All this added expense seems odd considering the arcade game was only a mild hit, but someone at CBS must have seen something in it.  Although it lost the vector style visuals, the resulting game is actually pretty fun.

 

It is the year 2003(!) and the leaders of the Omegan Star System are using a method of training their elite warriors called The Omega Race.  However the leaders have grown bored and are looking for a new challenge.  That challenge is you!  As earth's representative in the Omega Race, you must defeat wave after wave of Omegan warriors to bring peace to the galaxy get the highest score possible.  Although Omega Race starts out pretty easy, the difficulty really ramps up quickly.

 

As mentioned earlier, Omega Race uses a special accessory called the Booster Grip.  The Booster Grip is a grip with two fire buttons that slides over the joystick in order to provide an extra fire button.  This is needed because Omega Race uses one button to shoot and one to accelerate.  Each level has a border around the outside of the screen and a small rectangle in the center all of which you can bounce off of.  Your goal is to thrust around the arena and shoot all the enemy ships in order to proceed to the next wave.  Speaking of enemy ships, let's meet them now.

 


Droid Ship
These are the droids you're looking for!  These ships will originally just sit there waiting for your lasers to put them out of their misery, but will begin to move around at higher levels.
Command Ship
Your basic fighter ship.  Moves around and shoots at you until you fill it with hot plasma.  Once destroyed a Droid Ship will turn into a new Command Ship (assuming any are left).
Death Ships
These fun guys will spawn from Command Ships if you leave them alone too long (you can tell by the pitch of the music when one is going to spawn).  Death Ships can bounce off walls, and will also leave mines scattered around the arena.  Once a Death Ship is destroyed a new one will be created from an existing Command Ship.
Photo Mines
These are left all over the area by Death Ships.  Either shoot them or avoid them, just don't touch 'em.  All Photon Mines will be cleared from the arena at the end of a wave



After destroying four waves of Omegan forces you will receive a Droid Force Bonus of 5,000 points as a reward for your skill.  Omega Race offers one or two player modes, but no choice of starting level.  Thankfully CBS foresaw that players wouldn't want to buy two Booster Grips so they allow each player to share the same joystick if the right difficulty switch is set to B.  It is unknown if the Booster Grip was ever sold separately (possibly directly from CBS) but it was packaged with Omega Race at no extra charge which was a nice feature.  Interestingly players can also use a Colecovision controller instead of a Booster Grip (this isn't a hack, it is specifically mentioned in the manual), but then you're stuck with the awful Colecovision controller.  Still, this is a nice way to play the game in modern times where most Booster Grips have been lost or are in landfills.

 

One has to wonder why the Booster Grip was necessary at all.  A prototype version of Omega Race has surfaced that doesn't require one (up is thrust) and works quite well.  Perhaps CBS had other games in mind for the Booster Grip and Omega Race was simply a test game to see how it performed?  The only other known game that was planned to use the Booster Grip was the plane game Wings, although the only known prototype doesn't actually need it.  One has to wonder just what CBS had in store for their new accessory.  Whatever the reason, Omega Race is a nice little arcade port for the 2600 and worthy of a second look.


Version Cart Text Description
?/??/?? BC Different version

 

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