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Oids Review

  • Vintage: 1989
  • Developer: FTL Games
  • Publisher: FTL Games
  • Genre: Shoot ’em up

Premise

Rescue the Oids from the fiendish Biocretes who are turning them into vending machines and household appliances! Fuel your Ship, charge your shields, and blast off to adventure!

At least that’s what it says on the box, but it’s just another Thrust clone, innit? I mean, rotate left, rotate right, thrust, shoot stuff, watch out for the rocks. Blah blah so much blah. But wait a minute, Thrust was bloody marvellous! And so was Gravitar before that. And so was Asteroids before that. Oids does for Thrust exactly what Gravitar does for Asteroids: Adds depth. Buckets of it. It’s evolution not revolution here, and boy, what an evolution!

Gameplay

Each level starts with your Mother ship dropping down into the field of play. Your V-wing fighter is deployed, fully fuelled, armed and ready to go. Using the Joystick to rotate and thrust and the button to shoot, it’s up to you to bring home the androids safe and sound.

This is not going to be as simple as picking up the kids from school in your Chelsea tractor, though. The Biocretes are quite happy with the cushy, affluent life they’ve carved out for themselves at the expense of the Oids’ freedom and dignity and they’re not about to let it slip through their wallets. So, instead of rolling out the red carpet and reserving you a prime parking space at the Convoid Inc. Robot Conversion Plant, they’ve equipped their planets with all manner of defenses. Gun turrets and missile silos fire volley after destructive volley of missiles at you, and if you manage to survive that, enemy craft will persue you to the ends of the universe. 

The Biocretes are not the only foe you will face. There is something much more unyielding between you and your goal: Gravity. Your flight skills will be tested to the absolute limit as even the slightest touch of the surrounding rock will kill you. Unfortunately for you, the Biocretes have mastered the art of gravity manipulation and have erected buildings that can either push you away or pull you closer, which can seriously scupper your rescue plans in tight areas.
But fear not! You are not left defenseless against this onslaught, far from it. A deft tap downwards on your flight stick encases you in a protective shield that will sustain even the toughest of blows. Be careful though, it runs out of energy quickly, and can only be recharged with the spacebar, which depletes your fuel. Rely on this too much and your demise will be a quick one.

On offense, you will find the novabomb very handy when in a tight spot. Just double-tap the fire button, holding the button down on the second tap. When the bomb reaches your target, let go of fire and BLA-DOW! Instant carnage. 

So when you locate a factory (see the table below) destroy it and free your little android buddies. I’d heartily recommend single shots for each factory, it’s very easy to accidently mow down the very people you’re trying to save. If the surrounding area has been tamed, it’s time to land and pick them up. Find a piece of flat land not too far away, make sure you are not descending too quickly and have your ship the right way up, touchdown and wait for them to crawl on board. Once your ship is full, or all the Oids are saved, back to the Mothership!

Factories: These are the places where the androids are held captive and forced to work for the biocretes, the swines!
Android: Quick! Land and pick the poor git up before they lock him up again and force him to stitch together trainers for 5p an hour!
Trees: Greenpeace will be pleased that you don’t get any points for shooting these. Sometimes they do get in the way though.
Buildings: Shoot these for points. What do points make everyone?… No, just points actually.
Turret: Just dying to make you go boom.
Silo: These look fairly innocuous until they open up and chuck one of NASA’s finest at you.
Repulsor: These will dash you against the rocks, if you’re not careful.
Rock: It’s hard… Don’t fly into it.
Fuel: You’ll have to land next to these from time to time. Can be fiddly.
Teleport: Will zap you to another part of the level… Just don’t share one with a fly.

Sound

There is no music at all in this game, which you might think is a shame, but the sparsity of sound actually adds to the desolate, ‘no-one-can-hear-you-scream’ feel of the game. Sound effects are limited, mostly just white noise, but they do serve a purpose of warning you when a world of pain awaits you around the next corner.

The shield will protect you - momentarily.

Graphics 

At the time of release, this game was criticised for its graphics, being very sparse or ‘minimalistic’ shall we say. When playing classic games today, however, I rarely hope for a visual treat of a million multi-textured polygons per second or whatever it is the kids enjoy nowadays. Instead, I like to see a game well designed and pleasing to the eye, and not necessarily crammed to the hilt with huge sprites, and this game just looks, well, nice. The little buildings, ships, and people have all been drawn with care, and everything is easily distinguished.

The level editor is very comprehensive. Everything you see in game can be recreated.

Conclusion 

In this style of game, precision is key. Oids has it in spades… Very precise spades. Its physics engine (yes, old games have physics too) is perfectly balanced, as is the difficulty curve. Whenever I die, I know it was my fault and my fault alone, compelling me to try and try again until the V-wing is perfectly under my control.

Oids is a great game and distinguishes itself well from similar titles in the same genre. It will satisfy the urge for a quick blast and if you want it, there is depth and a great challenge too.

Review written by: StickHead

Score: 

Magazine Scan

Further Reading

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One comment

  1. I think it was only this year I discovered this game and I agree with you entirely – it’s terrific and probably the best “Thrust”-based game I’ve played.



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