Spec Ops: Omega Squad Review

Spec Ops: Omega Squad for the Dreamcast continues the substandard tradition of the series, and it is perhaps more flawed than any previous Spec Ops title.

In the realm of PC first-person military simulations, the Spec Ops series is considered to be slightly subpar. When compared with more polished titles such as Rainbow Six, the Spec Ops games don't offer the same level of depth in strategy or realism, which are the genre's bread and butter. Spec Ops: Omega Squad for the Dreamcast, which is based on Spec Ops II: Green Berets for the PC, continues the substandard tradition of the series, and it is perhaps more flawed than any previous Spec Ops title.

In Spec Ops II: Green Berets, you controlled a squad of special operations soldiers charged with carrying out a string of loosely related tactical missions across the globe. Due to the developers' troubles grappling with the AI, Spec Ops: Omega Squad does away with the squad-based elements entirely, instead putting you in control of a single soldier. This could be viewed as a turn for the better, as Spec Ops II: Green Berets was plagued with shoddy AI to begin with. Unfortunately, this decision also strips away a great deal of tactical depth, which is more readily present in other Dreamcast squad-based tactical titles such as Rainbow Six or Hidden and Dangerous. Your missions all consist of the standard tactical military fare - destroying enemy compounds, recovering military hardware, rescuing hostages, and the like. Your missions take place in five different locales: Antarctica, Korea, Pakistan, Thailand, and Germany. Each location has four to six missions, and these missions can be chosen at any time during the progression of the game, which creates a rather nonlinear experience.

Omega Squad continues its theme of simplification with the control scheme. As with all PC-to-console conversions in the genre, Omega Squad suffers from translating complex keyboard-based control schemes to a console controller, though with no squad-based worries to deal with, the controls are relatively simple when compared with the competition's. The analog stick is used for free looking, the face buttons for forward, back, and strafe movements, and the shoulder buttons for weapon firing. The D-pad is used for stance and weapon changes, as well as various camera functions. The gameplay should all work well in theory, but regrettably, the flawed execution doesn't reflect this ideal. For some baffling reason, picking up and dropping weapons or items requires the navigation of an unintuitive multipurpose menu system. Another inexplicable control issue is the inability to use multiple directional buttons at the same time, eliminating the ability to circle-strafe enemies. You can move forward and back and strafe left or right, but pressing multiple buttons at the same time proves to be entirely fruitless. A more minor gripe concerns weapon firing. When running forward, your weapon sights dip down offscreen, keeping you from rushing enemies while firing.

The graphics in Omega Squad stick with the game's overall subpar theme. Most noticeable is the game's draw-in distance. Instead of being masked by the usual pea soup fog, the draw-in is exposed for all to see, and more often than not, it is an eyesore. More distressing than the visual problems the draw-in creates is the fact that enemies that have yet to be drawn in - and are therefore invisible to you - can still attack you. This proves to be incredibly frustrating, as an unseen sniper can quickly snub a 30-minute-plus mission. The game also has fairly repetitive textures, though they do change up from location to location. To its credit, there isn't a hint of slowdown through the length of the game. Omega Squad's sound is minimalistic, consisting almost entirely of gunfire, which is very nice, and the occasional enemy cry.

Spec Ops: Omega Squad has stripped away many of the aspects that define a strategic military simulation. Unfortunately, Omega Squad still has the ammunition limitations and other trappings of the genre, keeping it from being a fast-paced FPS, and it subsequently ends up somewhere in between - too simplistic for fans of the strategic military genre, and too slow and complex for anyone looking for a high intensity shooter.

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Spec Ops II: Omega Squad More Info

  • First Released Oct 24, 2000
    • Dreamcast
    Spec Ops: Omega Squad for the Dreamcast continues the substandard tradition of the series, and it is perhaps more flawed than any previous Spec Ops title.
    Average Rating28 Rating(s)
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    Developed by:
    Published by:
    Ripcord Games
    Shooter, Tactical, Third-Person, Action
    Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
    Animated Blood, Animated Violence