July 20, 2018

Dreamcast20 #20: Omikron: The Nomad Soul

2018 marks the 20th anniversary of the Dreamcast, Sega's final - and in my opinion the finest - home videogame console. Despite a range of excellent games, it simply failed to compete against Sony's PlayStation 2. To celebrate, The Angriest counts down its 20 best games.

In the alien city of Omikron, the player assumes the role of a police detective investigating a string of serial killings. When that detective is killed, however, the player begins a string of reincarnations from body to body while uncovering a supernatural war running out of sight for thousands of years.

Released in 2000 to decidedly mixed reviews, Omikron: The Nomad Soul was an adventure game with varied gameplay - some action, some puzzle-solving - with the original wrinkle of reincarnating the player's character as a different person each time they die. The universe created for the game is imaginative, and for 2000 it seemed like a pretty imaginative one.

The game's real asset, however, is David Bowie. Omikron's director David Cage had a list of musicians whose songs he wanted to include in his game. When David Bowie, fascinating by the possibilities of virtuality and videogaming, volunteering to provide more than a song.

The game boasts exclusive remixes of several songs from Bowie's album Hours. It also features a couple of tracks that were largely exclusive to the game - unless you were buying limited edition Japanese CDs. Even better, Bowie appeared in the game in two separate roles - one of them as the lead in an Omikron rock group alongside a virtual version of regular musical collaborator Reeves Gabrels. You could even buy a CD in-game from the band and play it on the CD player in your virtual apartment.

Omikron: The Nomad Soul is an imperfect game, but it's also a fascinating and innovative one. With the Bowie connection I simply couldn't resist picking it up.

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