Review by Skinny Minnie
The planet of Phaenon is going through a horrible glacial era.
Its only sun extinguished and life on its surface no longer possible,
its inhabitants have survived the perpetual, frozen blackness
by calling five cities ensconced in crystal domes their new homelands.
Omikron, one of these cities, is controlled by a gigantic master
computer named Ix, which was originally created to manage the
interests of the humans residing within Omikron. The populace
has become apathetic and lazy, happy to relegate all authority
and control to Ix and rather concentrate on living solely for
their own pleasures.
All is not heaven in the Garden of Eden, however. When the palace
that would finally house Ix was first created in Omikron, some
unlucky workers drilled down for its foundation and accidentally
disturbed an imprisoned demon, Astaroth, and his minions, who
were banished to Phaenon's core hundreds of generations before
for their evil deeds. Astaroth was liberated from his cage, and
he immediately released his demon troops and sent them out to
possess the souls of the workers who had unknowingly freed him.
These demons in their new bodies dispersed themselves amongst
the people of Omikron, stealthily garnering ever more souls to
strengthen Astaroth and ultimately bring him back to his former
That's gratitude for you, huh?
Such is the current state of affairs in a parallel world to Earth,
unbeknownst to you, as you begin to install Omikron: The Nomad
Soul. Should you choose the full install, as I originally
did, you will load three CDs worth of an alternate reality onto
your hard drive. I first bought and played this game shortly after
its release in August 1999. In comparison to its contemporaries,
the mind-blowing vividness of Omikron's 3D graphics with
its whole living, breathing world full of detail just blew me
Are you are solely an adventure gaming fan? Do you occasionally
wonder if the grass of action/adventuring might be a deeper shade
of emerald graphics-wise, freedom of movement-wise, and story-wise?
You may want to take a barefoot stroll over the velvet lawn to
the other side of the fence with this flawed but rare gem ...
Upon firing up the game for the first time, I was suddenly interrupted
by an urgent plea from an azure-clad police officer from Omikron
who appeared on the screen. "My name is Kay'l, and I come
from a universe parallel to yours. My world needs your help; you're
the only one who can save us. I succeeded in opening a breach
between my world and yours. Through your computer, you can enter
our world and help us, but in order to do this, you must transfer
your soul into my body ... Do you accept? Press any key to say
yes, but hurry; there isn't much time ..." Kay'l claimed
that he would only take over his body again once I left the game,
holding my place for me until I could return.
Maybe I've just got a weakness for redheads in futuristic garb;
who knows? My little soul now occupying the toned, young male
body of one of Omikron's finest, I found myself on my own in the
Phaenon world. The cyberpunk, richly detailed atmosphere mingles
with the congested traffic on the busy streets of Omikron. A number
of gleaming hovercrafts zoom through the darkened, foreboding
skies. Searing motorcycles and whirring vehicular "sliders"
dart around your character, and you can get hit by them too if
you're not careful as you make your way through the industrial,
vandalized streets and numerous futuristic buildings. Be forewarned:
You will be covering tons of ground here, either on foot or via
your own "slider." This is a huge, sprawling planet
of a game!
Pick up any inventory items that are there for the taking as
you make your way through Omikron. You may find things if you
search cabinets, hidden places, and the offices of othersjust
beware of getting caught! The multitudes of basic puzzles in Omikron
usually involve the predictable usage of this inventory, although
these puzzles do show some originality and are challenging at
You will need to gather as much information as you can about
your new home as you go along. In your travels you should talk
to the people on the streets and in the strip joints, shops, and
bars. You only learn about the tangled mystery of Kay'l's life
and world through your continued interaction with his friends,
his coworkers, his wife, and his home and office. Hundreds of
quite animated and startlingly rendered nonplayable characters
inhabit Omikron. Many of them will give you important advice and
information through conversation trees. Thirty to forty other
unique characters can also become potential reincarnates for you
should you so desire or the need arise. Yes, you can choose to
abandon your current body and inhabit other playable characters
as the game goes on; Kay'l usually lets you know discreetly who
these others are. You may also spontaneously reincarnate into
someone else upon your current character's unforeseen death; the
first new playable character that touches you will become your
It is really the intricacy of the tale itself and its stunning
graphical presentation that will keep you coming back to finish
this game, although the subsequent bodies you may inhabit as the
story progresses have not the depth of character that Kay'l manages.
This story combines the demonic history of Omikron with its socialistic
government and its bevy of capitalistic corporations. The ulterior
motives of these powerful groups are slowly uncovered by a small,
rebellious faction of the population and by you. Your enemies
rely upon the continued ignorance of the city's inhabitants for
their successes, and so you must reveal reality to all as you
find it. You need to cut through the deceit to discover who among
your cohabitants are friends or foes, humans or demons. You must
also unveil the horrid truth about said government and corporations,
and Astaroth's soul-gathering. Even Kay'l may not be quite who
you think he is ...
The controls are player's choice of either keyboard and mouse
or gamepad. Control modes change for armed or unarmed fighting,
and adventuring or swimming. It is a nice feeling to be able to
roam freely throughout a three-dimensional world instead of being
subjected to the feeling of tunnel vision that some first-person
point-and-click games can invoke. I found exciting the third-person
hand-to-hand combat, for which Kay'l can and must improve his
stats to stay alive as the game progresses, either by using his
own "virtual fighting simulator" or via demonic combat.
Although these scenes do feel tightly scripted, the details will
alter somewhat upon replay. The opportunities for unarmed battle
accelerate as the game progresses, and there are many complex
combo moves that can only be performed after building up sufficient
experience points for your character.
The first-person shooter sequences, on the other hand, were sparsely
available but difficult and drawn out when I did come upon them.
Often they took place in maze-like environments and against small
droves of unrelenting enemies. I did find a "virtual shooting
gallery" to hone my targeting skills in. However, regarding
actual armed combat, I was not free to draw and fire my weapon
at will in any scene I chose, but rather only in certain predetermined
areas. This game does not afford the fighting freedom of your
average RPG, first-person shooter, or even your standard third-person
action/adventure game for that matter. Lara Croft has never been
forced to abandon her perfectly good body and seek out another
home for her soul, also losing all of her weapons and fight experience,
because the gaming fates would not allow her to whip out those
Uzis any time she desired and take care of business. Riddle me
this: Why am I forced to blaze my way alone as Kay'l through 40
charging psychos during every first-person shooter scene but then
later not allowed to attempt pulling off even a single shot against
a sole crooked mechanical cop, resulting in Kay'l's untimely demise?
Hey, I can deal with a challenge; make it hard! I'll even be sporting
and sell my machine gun first. How about making a slingshot available,
At any rate, save your game and count on replays with careful
planning involved or you too may unwittingly reincarnate as an
unsuspecting nurse at Kay'l's murder scene, waving bye-bye to
your precious arsenal of guns and watching your fight stats plummet
faster than a demon back to hell ... which brings me to the issue
of the game's title. Being a literate female, I fully realize
that its name is Omikron: The Nomad Soul and not Omikron:
Mine! Mine! Mine! My Body for All Eternity! Still, the game's
creators could have at least allowed me to transfer my fight stats
and weapons to the next character upon Kay'l's unavoidable death,
if not allowing me the option of fighting to keep him alive, no?
As it was, I chose to replay the earlier scenes and angrily abandon
the police officer's body before the scripted death scene, still
surrendering my weapons and fight stats but at least having more
choice as to what new character I would inhabit. Now, I have always
avoided mech and he man-type games because I'm a petite female,
not a 300-pound clomp-clomping bruiser. However, after the nurse
fiasco (she can't scare a spider off of a wall, but gee, she totes
along a medikit; that will surely get me through the last 20 fight
scenes of the game) ... well, there I was, clomp clomping along
dejectedly as 300-pound Jorg the Cyborg with one fake eye.
This third-person action/adventure does have some "RPG-lite"
elements to it and requires the buildup of basic character stats,
health, and fight experience. The stats screen, accessed via a
"SNEAK" computer terminal grafted to your character's
arm, gives a report of all characteristics and adjusts to note
any changes in energy, mana, attack, dodge, fight experience,
body resistance, and speed. You must, as any given character,
eat, drink, rest, and build up your fight experience, or you can
and will be killed during this game. The "SNEAK," besides
being the stats display, features the latest in "molecular
disassembly," so it is also where you access your inventory
items. You can only carry a limited amount of inventory, both
in your "SNEAK" and in lockers sprinkled throughout
Omikron. Inventory management here is not as intense as in your
average RPG, but it is tedious at times nonetheless. You can only
save the game with a save ring if you have one available at the
time in inventory, and then only at certain predetermined points.
All right; unless you were born under a rock, you will surely
have heard of singer David Bowie and guitarist Reeves Gabrels.
Not only do they provide a constant if not stripped-down "techno"
soundtrack to add to the already good ambient audio and sound
effects, but their 3D-rendered likenesses perform three virtual
concerts you may happen upon in your clomp clomping, oops, I mean
Bowie's 3D likeness also appears as the virtual character Boz.
Boz is actually an almost complete former victim of a soul-sucking
demon, but upon his death, as his soul floated above his dead
body, he had the wherewithal to dive into a computer terminal
located in the room he was in. As such he became a virtual "Rider"
over Omikron's complex computer network and now spends his time
foiling Ix and the demons, cracking codes, and helping the rebellious
underground movement that you will ultimately join. You won't
really contact Boz too much, so take that "Lunch with Bowie
and Gabrels" off of your PDA's schedule, okay? You will,
however, meet up with some other rebels in the latter parts of
the game. They will help retrain you in your various body incarnations,
as well as get you to aid them in their own plans for Astaroth's
I really am a story-driven gamer, so I truly enjoyed the various
mind bends of this jewel despite its inherent flaws. I do give
Omikron: The Nomad Soul a hearty thumb-up, all things considered.
I can also honestly say that I did not totally understand the
deepest layer of this game's underlying story for quite a while
... Hey! Hey! Wasn't that a demon who tried to suck out my soul
back there in the very first scene, right after I took over Kay'l's
body? Oh, Kay'l ... Where are you when I need you?
Release Date: 1999
Four Fat Chicks Links
PII 233 (PII 300 recommended)
32 MB RAM
4 MB video card (8 MB recommended)
350 MB free HD space (1.2 GB recommended)
Where to Find It
Links provided for informational purposes only.
FFC makes no warranty with regard to any transaction entered into
by any party(ies).