Omikron: The Nomad Soul originally started life as just “Omikron“, the name of the city in which the game is set.
The idea is that you are contacted by Kay’l, a man from a parallel universe that’s desperately in need of help and, of course, only you can save them. You enter the world of Omikron and the soul of Kay’l, taking control of his body, but you must look after it because it’s the only one he’s got. If you do get killed though, someone else’s body will take his place and your soul will be transfered.
The game is nothing if not ambitious. It boasts an epic adventure storyline with unprecedented depth and realism as you aim to solve the many puzzles that prevent you from escaping alive. Shooting and combat, Virtua-Fighter-style, are included, as is motion-capture by several martial arts world champions. Finally, it declares that you are to be placed in a huge living environment in real time 3D with hundreds of passers-by and vehicles to interact with.
Lots of puzzles? Other characters to interact with? Sounds very much like other 3D adventures games such as Tomb Raider and Resident Evil and the similarities don’t end there.
You can only carry a certain number of items in your “Sneak”, a control panel placed on your left arm which you appear to pick at Predator-style as you access certain items, some of which can be combined with others. If you’ve got too many onboard, simply tranfer some to the Multiplan Virtual Locker and if there’s another locker around elsewhere you can pick the items back up again to use – yes, it’s exactly like the chests in Resident Evil.
If you need to get about, you can walk if you know where you’re going, or otherwise save yourself the time and hassle and call the Slider, a taxi service that picks you up and drops you outside your chosen destination, picked via the Sneak.
Finally, if you’re really lucky you’ll come across David Bowie actually making an appearance somewhere in the game.
The graphics are the best thing about this game. While the min.spec is listed as a Pentium 233 Mhz with 32Mb RAM, I’m running it on a Pentium 200 MMX with 128Mb SDRAM and don’t have much of a problem with it providing there’s little onscreen, which limits you to indoor scenes, in which the movement of your character is not much different to that of Lara Croft. Go outside though and when people and cars are all moving about at once, it will slow down to a crawl.
The sound is very good too. Typical in-game sounds (running, fighting, walking, etc.) aren’t much to shout about, but in some scenes there are surround sound moments worth a listen and the game also contains an original soundtrack by Bowie and his Tin Machine partner Reeves Gabrels, including eight songs from Bowie’s latest album, “..hours”.
The playability is the main problem with this game. It’s marketed as a go-anywhere and do-anything game and anything but linear, but in fact that’s just how it feels when you play it. When you come across any character in the game, if you don’t need to speak to them, Kay’l will either say “He looks busy” or the person will tell you to politely go away. You can “interact” with cars too, but that’s called “trying to get run over” and will be the quickest way to get killed, believe me.
If you do need to have a chat, a selection of phrases will appear. You select one and Kay’l will say it. However, as the conversation goes on, you’ll want to hear everything the other character has to say in response so you can ask all of the questions given to you. Hence, it’s just a straight-forward list of questions and answers as if you had no control over it.
Throughout other parts of the game, as far as I’ve got in it, you can only do certain things after you’ve done other things first which hinders your progress until you can work it out and leaves you floundering in the dark when you can’t.
Overall, Omikron: The Nomad Soul looks and sounds nice, but doesn’t play too well and leaves you running about in frustration trying to find out what to do next. It would be nice to have some kind of direction here as you’re left to fathom things out, but when you finally do, you realise you can only get on because you’ve finally done something elsewhere without possibly realising it at the time, making this the incredibly linear experience it promised it wasn’t meant to be.
Executed perfectly, this game could have been quite something, but as it stands it’ll take a long time to get into to even get a taste of its potential, but you’ll only stay for the rest if you have way too much time on your hands.
If you’re after some more info on Eidos Interactive’s games, you can check out their official Website at eidosinteractive.com.
- Publisher: Eidos Interactive
- System Requirements:
- Windows 95/98
- Pentium PC 233 Mhz (PII 266 Mhz recommended)
- 32Mb RAM
- Quad-speed CD-ROM Drive (Eight-speed rec.)
- DirectX 6.1 (included on CD)
- 350Mb HD space
- 4Mb SVGA Video Card (100% DirectX 6.1 compatible) (4Mb 3D card rec)
- 100% DirectX 6.1 compatible sound card
Director: David Cage
Producer: Hervé Albertazzi
Screenplay: David Cage
Music: David Bowie and Reeves Gabrels
Boz/The Dreamers: David Bowie
Kay’l 669: David Gasman
Telis: Barbara Weber
The Dreamers: Reeves Gabrels
The Dreamers: Gail Ann Dorsey
Iman 631: Iman
Other voices: Paul Bandey, Karen Strassman, Christian Erickson, Gay Marshall, Edward Marcus, Leslie Clack, Allan Wenger, Joe Rezwin, Patrick Floersheim
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.