PLATFORM: Xbox Live Arcade
DEVELOPER: Hudson Soft

Ahh, the good old days, when men were men and men played shooting games. There’s nothing quite like a shooter… it’s the most difficult type of game there is. I grew up on a steady stream of side-scrollers (Gradius, R-Type, 1942) and they’ve always been perfect for the ADD gamer. You can get have fun for a few minutes with them here or there, or spend hours trying to perfect it and memorize every moment to get to the end unscathed. Omega Five continues this trend on Xbox Live Arcade.


Well, there isn’t really a story here. You’re shooting enemies along a 2D plane. Don’t let anything survive.


Seriously, blast everything that moves. Simple enough?

Like every other shooter since Geometry Wars (yes, I know Robotron started it, but I’m talking about the current gen) you use the left analog stick to move your character and the right one to shoot in that direction. There are three different weapons for each character that you can pick up and power-up. There’s a couple of other little tricks, like a little dodge move you can do by hitting either bumper that gets you out of danger but takes off some life. You’ve got a screen-clearing bomb that you can set off with the left trigger, and a character-specific attack on the right trigger. So you’ve got plenty of ways to blow apart all manner of enemies, from small little robots that explode in one hit to massive bosses that take up the whole screen.

The worst part about the game is that it doesn’t
tell you anything about how to play. It will take you a while to even figure out how to
use each character’s unique attack. Here’s some hints for each character for those of you
who try it out- I figured this stuff out after a lot of

Ruby- Use Weapon B. The laser will cut through anything, and on the
third powerup level it will bounce off walls. Bosses go down easy when that’s
powered up all the way. The right trigger will send out your grappling
hook thing, it’ll latch onto bigger enemies and slowly electrocute
them. You aim it the same way you do your gun, but take into account that it floats farther out from you and will shoot out at a different angle. Also be wary becaues you’ll be locked onto the
target for a while and unable to shoot down other enemies.

Tempest- The best gun is again B, which is basically a water cannon.
Hit the right trigger and it’ll spray at a bigger radius. Besides being
able to switch what each gun does, Tempest is able to repel bullets. It
only works for the small yellow ones, but when you see them get close
to you (and you’re firing your weapon) they’ll turn green. Let go of
the analog stick and you’ll shoot them out at your enemies.

RAD – Pretty much the same character as Ruby, just a little faster.

Sensei- Easy character to use. Just slash away at anything- most
enemies only take one hit to go down. Hit the Right trigger for your
little yappy dog to fly out and take enemies out at long range.


Everything adds to the feel of an old shooter, including the magnificent return of Engrish! Yes, there’s even misspelled words in the menu (You character’s life.) And just try not to giggle at the voice guy saying the level titles, like "The Glacial Fortress" (it comes out "Da Gwateshall Fowtwess".)

The sound effects do the job, but the music gets a little tiresome. It’s typical "futuristic" Japanese sound, and doesn’t always fit the bill. Rip a few cds to your hard drive and you’ll be fine, though… I did well with a nice mix of God Forbid, Bleeding Through, ODB and Jeru the Damaja. Pick someting that keeps things pumping and you’ll enjoy it better.

As for the graphics, you’ve never seen a prettier game on Xbox Live Arcade before. Everything is stunning, with great particle and explosion effects. There’s tons of little details you’ll appreciate, like how your weapons melt the snow on the first level, or the way the water gun splashes realistically. Top notch stuff.


This is the kind of game you’ll need to replay to get anywhere. I doubt you’ll get past the first stage until you get the hang of things. There are only 4 levels but try getting through them all on one life with each character to unlock the last 100 achievement points.

But there are also a ton of extras you can unlock, like new characters, challenge modes, and a super hard version of the Arcade mode where you get killed if you get hit once.

Also, if you play the game for a while you’ll start unlocking more credits, which you’ll definitely need. 3 ain’t gonna get you far.

So yeah, it may be short, but this is one that’s made for shooter fans. People who are used to the old games will be in familiar territory here, where getting hit is unthinkable, and getting to the end of the game takes some real skill. I have the feeling I’m going to keep coming back to this one until I get to the end on one life.


Pure shmup goodness. Old school shooter fans can’t go wrong here. I can see people not liking this game, but that’s just because they’re not hardcore enough for it. It might be too short for a retail game, but for a 10 buck Arcade game it’s perfect.

9.5 out of 10