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Review: Titan Omega Revelations
From the very beginning, the moment you start it up, this game screams "Look at me! I'm impressive!" And it certainly is. The intro is filled with SNES-style special effects and attention to detail (just look at the shooting stars in the background during the view of the Earth!) and the well thought out story is told in mostly still pictorial form. Just when you think there's a lapse in to a large chunk of text over a starfield, it seamlessly flows in to a Starfox-like sequence with four pilots flying to their first destination.
The music playing in the background is very well chosen indeed, again like a classic console soundtrack, and it's in MOD format - I think most of these songs are excellent enough to make it on to my WinAmp playlist!
Even the menu looks great, with its electronic background with red pulses going through it, the transitions between the screens as you select your options, and so on. It reminds me of the Command and Conquer installers - remember them? They were amazing, providing entertainment with flashy special effects before you even got in to the game. This is like that, or a pre-credits action sequence - the author shows you what he's capable of very early on, making you want to continue and get to the main game. Five modes are provided, but only the simplest of them available at first, and there's plenty of promise for replay value with hidden options and so on.
Finally get in to the main game, though... and things start going a bit wrong. Not tragically wrong, you understand, but there are a couple of little annoying factors about it that really bring the game down. The first of these is that your ship is very slow. It's difficult to move around the overwhelming opposition that you're bombarded with from the very start, and you'll no doubt be killed tens of times before getting the hang of it. Most of the start of the game for me involved getting about 100 points per run, then being taken back to the upgrade screen (via another lights and flashes transition) when I inevitably crashed in to a rock, other ship or projective, and eventually buying engine upgrades so that I could stand a chance of getting past. It's a frustrating experience, particularly when you consider that you only have one hit point before you die and are sent back to the start of the level.
Help is provided by three computer-controlled pilots, but they do get in the way a bit sometimes. Also, they all seemed to crash very early on for me, so maybe the game is too hard for them as well.
It's a shame because this game is undeniably great once you get in to it- you can appreciate the work that's gone in to it just by looking at it. Take a look at those screenshots! Unfortunately the author doesn't seem to have considered a difficulty curve, and has instead thrown you in at the deep end to fend for yourself right from the very start of the game. Eventually you do get the hang of it and can start making progress, but a lot of beginners will be put off by having to play through the very first section of the first level again and again in order to make any kind of progress whatsoever. When you're faced with yet another very impressive transition back to the upgrade screen, it's tempting to just give up and switch it off.
That doesn't stop this game being utterly amazing - but only for those who persevere.
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David Newton (DavidN)