Spec Ops: Omega Squad Hands-On

Spec Ops: Omega Squad has been made leaner for its Dreamcast release. Ripcord brought it by and let us get our hands dirty.

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The most notable change Ripcord has made to Omega Squad (Spec Ops: Green Berets on the PC) is the elimination of the squad, entirely. Admitting that the AI refused to work properly, Ripcord removed the buddies entirely and upped the action, resulting in a game better suited to succeed in the console market.

Many of the genre's historic elements remain, however, most notably the amount of planning prior to a mission - something uncharacteristic of FPS games in general (which is what Omega Force has come to resemble).

Prior to the missions, you must equip your soldier. Depending on his weight allowance, you can pack him up with weapons of differing classes and with field equipment, such as medkits and ammo rounds. The pre-mission interface has been optimized for the DC controller, so you work through a series of scrolling menus, rather than a mouse-based menu system.Once equipped, you're off to the front. The control scheme is, in my opinion, the ideal configuration for a console control pad: The buttons let you move and strafe, while the analog stick alters the direction you're facing. The directional pad controls your stance, allowing you to crouch, stand upright, etc., and it cycles through your inventory. The D-pad also switches between your scopes, provided your weapons have them, and it alters your perspective.

At this point the game moves at a fairly brisk rate. It gets a tad choppier when there's a lot of action onscreen but never to a truly appalling degree. The analog controls seem pretty hyper-responsive, but Ripcord assures us that they'll be toned down before the game is released.

Death seems a bit understated, to say the least, with the only indication that you've bought it being a cold line of text reading something along the lines of "[your name] was killed by a hostile." Admittedly, this is a slight nitpick, but it's an issue that should definitely be addressed before the game ships.

All in all, the console tone-down seems to have done Spec Ops: Omega Squad some good. Look for our full review when the game is released.

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