The year is 2097. Nations as we know them have dissolved and the world is governed by multinational corporations. World Aeronautics and Robotics (WAR) has expanded into space through their use of Human Assisted Robots, a line of giant robots that are remote controlled through direct neural input. WAR's next major project is the colonization of Ganymede. Who should be in charge of the colony? Twelve candidates, all equally qualified, must decide the issue by firing up their HARs and duking it out in the arena.
This is a fight game with everything you expect from a fight game. First you must choose a pilot, then a robot. The shareware version offers a choice of five pilots and three robots, but the registered version gives you a choice of ten each. Once you've made your choices, you head into the arena to kick some robotic butt.
Each robot has special abilities and weapons which range from long-range weapons (the Jaguar's Concussion Cannon) to unblockable moves (the Thorn's Spike Charge). The fights take place in an assortment of arenas with nasty hazards like electrified fences and strafing jet fighters. The player must fight his way through twelve opponents, each with varying abilities, to become the new leader of the Ganymede colony.
But wait! There's more. Three years later the HAR fights have become so popular they have replaced all other sporting events. The player takes the role of a hotshot new pilot on the tournament circuit. With nothing but a basic Jaguar and some guts, you must defeat your opponents to win more money. As you get richer you can upgrade the speed and power of your robot, and eventually trade it for a more advanced HAR. Move up through the ranks of four different tournaments, facing steadily more powerful opponents, and eventually become the world champion.
OMF:2097 features smoothly animated 3D rendered robots. I got around eight frames per second on my 386SX-16 (which is the lowest of the low for this game), but on a 486DX2-66 I have seen it do up to 55 fps. It requires a 386SX with 4M of RAM, VGA, and 4M of hard drive space. All standard sound cards are supported (including the GUS) and a digital joystick (such as the Gravis Gamepad) is recommended.
I have never played a fight game before (never even dropped a quarter into Mortal Kombat) but this game sucked me right in and has taken over my life for the last month or so. After playing it constantly I'm still finding new moves and combinations. Just the other night I saw something I've never seen before (it had to do with the Electra robot's final moments-- look for it!)
This is a game for die-hard fighters and the novices alike. It's very easy to learn, but if you apply yourself you'll be finding new moves and secrets for months to come.This preview copyright 1994 by Dean O'Donnell for Game Bytes Magazine. All rights reserved.