The Omega Race wiki last edited by astroparticle on 12/29/13 11:08PM View full history

Many people outside of the US will have not played Omega Race in the arcade, or even known it had an arcade release.  On home machines it had greater exposure, and is often regarded as a quality game. The original arcade graphics were black and white vectors, in a style consistent with Atari's Asteroids.  Console releases added some color, apart from the VIC-20 version.

The aim of the game was simple; your triangular ship was tasked with destroying a variety of enemy ships in a rectangular race-track style space.  Enemy drones simply moved in formation, while activated enemies could return fire.  The levels got progressively harder as you played, with more drones becoming active at a time.
 
One unique feature was the controls.   In the arcade version, the direction was controled by a spinner.  On the VIC-20, using a control stick and buttons, the ship's thrusters were based on how long you pushed on the stick which thus determined your speed and was very tricky to control.  The Atari 2600 version featured a separate controller adapter with two action buttons, in an attempt to compensate for the single action button on the standard joystick controller. 
 
As with Asteroids, the player's ship had inertia, with the additional feature of walls on the inside and outside of the track that would cause the ship to bounce.  Player death would occur either when shot by an active enemy, or upon collision with an enemy unit.  As each wave of enemies are defeated, a new race begins.
The VIC-20 release of the game was notable for being a rear-loading cartridge game, allowing for extremely fast loading times compared to the cassette tape games on the system.

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