Oids (Atari ST)

by PaulEMoz in , , , , , ,

Oids is a rubbish name for a game. What kind of Oids? Androids? Humanoids? Haemorrhoids? You need to be more specific with these things.

Still, despite that obvious flaw, Oids has gained a reputation as one of the ST's finest games. That being the case, it's always been high on my list of games to play for the blog, despite not having a clue about what kind of game it is.

It's actually a bit of a mixture of games. There's a fair bit of Thrust there, a little bit of Lunar Lander and some Choplifter. I would actually say, having played this, that Gravitron 2 (and probably the original) was as much inspired by this as Thrust.

That's the way. Clear a nice little landing space.

The Oids of the title, so say the instructions, are android slaves (see? Why didn't it say this in the title?) that you need to free from their prisons and rescue. They're held across many different planetoids (oh... more than one type of Oids... now I see), and you must fly in in your V-wing ship to rescue them. As you would expect, it's not as easy as it sounds...

Having said that, at first, it appears as though it is as easy as it sounds. I was quite disappointed as I was able to fly around at leisure and at no great speed, picking off ground installations as I pleased and rescuing Oids with the greatest of ease. The pace was extremely slow and the game was very easy... I couldn't see why this was so highly regarded.

I flew into one of those little sun things once. Don't know where I ended up.

But once I'd got a few levels into the game, it all kicked off. Reverse gravity has a massive effect as you're trying to negotiate the landscape, ensuring you have to take things carefully. Installations will fire at you, as you would expect. They're more devious than that, though... some will launch homing missiles, whereas other, hidden installations will appear and launch a barrage of firepower at you.

Luckily, as you would expect of any game where you control a V-shaped spaceship, you have a limited shield. And of course, you can fire back. You've got your normal peashooter bullets... effective enough to take care of most ground installations. For those things where you need a bigger bang, you've got a mushroom-cloud-laying mofo of a bomb. Satisfying.

Argh! Erm... alright, I get the message!

Once you fill up with rescuees (eight) or clear the planetoid of captives, you can dock with your mothership and deposit the Oids to safety. It's a simple and tried-and-tested gameplay mechanic, but it usually works, and when it's particularly well done as it is with Oids, it's a joy.

When Oids first started, I was expecting a fast-paced blast. It's not like that at all, it's far more measured and a little bland to start with. But a few levels in, it becomes a real challenge and a real test of your gaming skills. Although it's not really a shoot 'em up, it certainly becomes frantic as you try to fend off the planets' defences and rescue the poor, downtrodden Oids. I've had a lot of fun with this game... I can see myself playing it for a long time to come.