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Off-World Interceptor

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Off-World Interceptor is a third-person vehicular car combat game, released only for the 3DO. An alternate version of the game was later released, named Off-World Interceptor Extreme for the Sega Saturn, and PlayStation. Ultimately, the two versions of the game have identical core gameplay elements, though the Extreme version is tweaked to feel more like the arcade mode in the original Off-World Interceptor.

Plot

The player takes the role of a "trashman", a bounty hunter who chases after fugitives in order to earn money. The story begins with the player meeting two characters; the derogatorily named Colonel Fancy (who assigns the player missions) and Helga, who provides intel on fugitives and banters back and forth with Colonol Fancy. The player and his fellow trashmen are initially warned that civilians (which the trashmen technically are) have never survived a mission, and that pursuing a fugitive is guaranteed suicide. The player is first assigned to chase after a criminal by the name of Ferro Lupus on the planet Scorch 7.

After chasing and eliminating Lupus, the player returns to the briefing room to discover that the three other trashmen who initially accompanied the player are now dead, and the player is the sole survivor of the first mission in the game. The player is then informed that Ferro Lupus was supplying military grade weapons to a mercenary called Rae Groosha. The player is ordered to proceed to Atlantia Point, eliminate Groosha, and retrieve her data banks.

Afterwards, Helga decodes the data banks held by Rae Groosha. It is discovered that Groosha had ties with Igor Rancid—a criminal wanted for everything ranging from drug trafficking to money laundering. It is also suspected, by Colonel Fancy and Helga, that there might be a possible connection with Dr. Hans Kleeg, though the two are skeptical of such a thing at the time. Naturally, the player is assigned the task of eliminating Igor Rancid, who is currently hiding out on the planet Bastion. After his elimination, the player is then sent to track down Kreeps Sangini, on Las Lunas.

Upon the return of the player to the briefing room, and eliminating Fangini, Helga and Colonol Fancy discover that a criminal by the name of Zipper Falco is delivering a deadly corrosive poison called "droxin" to Dr. Hans Kleeg. Colonol Fancy informs the player that such large quantities of the poison in the hands of a mad man could hold all civilized space hostage. The player is assigned the task of intercepting Falco before he can deliver the droxin to Dr. Kleeg. Also, at this point in the game, Fancy begins expressing a distinct likeness towards the player—more or less, using the player and his effective combat skills as a tool.

When Falco is destroyed, the player returns—once again—to Helga and Colonol Fancy. Fancy informs the player part of the droxin was delivered Dr. Kleeg. Helga promptly orders a search and destroy team to go hunt down Kleeg, though Colonol Fancy stops and orders the player to go instead. Fancy's reasoning is that if Dr. Kleeg were to see and attack team coming, he could escape and release the droxin anywhere, while the player has a chance to sneak in eliminate him more covertly. To make matters worse, the ecosystem of the planet that Dr. Kleeg is currently hiding on—Morphaus Moors—is currently decimated, making the environment alarmingly dangerous. Due to the extreme aspects of the mission, Helga is skeptical that the player will return.

After managing to kill Dr. Kleeg, the player returns to a warm welcome. Colonol Fancy intends to give the player a commission—making the player an official "agent" under Fancy, and Colonol Fancy is expected to be promoted to General. However, the player seems reluctant to accept the uniform given to him for him to his commissioning ceremony—indicating that the player may be aware of Colonol Fancy trying to use him. Helga then enters the briefing room and is very impressed with the player. Instead of accompanying Fancy in the limosuine that is waiting for the player and Helga, the player throws his uniform away and leaves with Helga.

Gameplay

Off-World Interceptor is a rail-based off-road vehicular combat game, giving the player to drive (and in some cases, fly) anywhere he so chooses. A core element of the game is that the player's car can navigate unrealistically steep slopes, and can move infinitely to the left or right of the environment. The car itself is not explicitly locked to a rail, though the player cannot turn around or back up. Two other unusual features of the game, is that every car is armed with jump jets, devices that allow the car to both jump and fly, and all cars can pitch up or down for aiming purposes.

Story Mode

The game is divided into 6 levels, with each level being broken down into multiple stages. The objective in each stage is simply to get from the beginning of level to the finish line, similar to that of reaching the "exit" in the game Doom. Each stage is populated by various objects and enemies that are relative to the environment, the most common of these enemies are the cash cops; mercenary-like enemies similar to that of the player. Throughout each stage, the player is given the opportunity to pick up items within the level, such as missiles, nitros, air-strikes, fuel cans, and money to purchase upgrades for their car. After so many stages, the player then fights an end level boss. Another element of each stage, including boss fights, is the chase timer. The premise behind the timer is that should the player take to long in any stage, the criminal that is being pursued escapes from the area and an air-strike is called in (dubbed as "Purge Over Kill".) The air-strike obliterates everything in the level, including the player.

Before each level, the player visits the repair shop, where he or she can purchase the fore mentioned items (except for fuel) and clones for extra lives. The player can also use his money to purchase new a vehicle, or upgrade his current one.

Arcade Mode

In arcade mode, the player is given the ability to play on any level he or she desires, except for the final level. All vehicles in arcade mode all equal in price and attributes, giving the player the ability to purchase the car he desires rather than needs (unlike in story mode.) The VV Sector car cannot be purchased in arcade mode.

Battle Mode

Battle mode is simply a two player deathmatch mode. A level is selected and the players choose their cars. Upon entering the level, the goal is to eliminate the other player on the track.

Training

Training mode is only found in the alternate version of Off-World Interceptor, Off-World Interceptor Extreme. In this mode, a random level is chosen, and the player is given the ability to drive through the stage without interference from enemies. There are no pickups and no chase timer, as well.

Levels

  • Scorch 7 - Scorch 7 is a desert styled planet, and is the first level visited in the game. Each track is populated by mesa like hills and mountains, cacti, and boulders.
  • Atlantia - Atlantia is similar to that of a tropical rain forest, with each track being populated with rivers and palm trees. Native objects in the level include bizarre statue-like objects that rise or fall to the ground, blocking the player.
  • Bastion - The third level in the game, Bastion presents itself as a deCimated highway planet. Unlike the previous two planets, Bastion focuses less on off-road terrain and leans more in favor paved roads.
  • Las Lunas - The fourth level encountered in the game, graphically the planet presents itself similar to the moon, in that there is no visible atmosphere and it always night. Native objects in the level include trees encased in glass tubes and moving walls.
  • Silt Sorrow - Silt Sorrow is the fifth visited planet in the game. Silt Sorrow's environment consists of very sudden, sharp, height changes, and contains virtually no organic hills or mountains.
  • Morphaus Moors - The final level and planet in the game. This level has the most challenging environment and enemies of all, featuring bizarre alien creatures and monsters that appear to be the result of the poisonous chemical, droxin. This is the only level in the game to actually contain a lethal environment; many areas within the level are covered in acid, which slowly eat away at the player's health should he or she drive through it.

Enemies

Most enemies in Off-World Interceptor are generally the same and range from stationary gun turrets to attack planes. The most common enemy in the game is the "Cash Cop", and Stronger variations of each general enemy are encountered within each passing level. Each level also includes native objects to the environment, usually in the form of trees and boulders—while posing as a driving hazard to the player, they do not do any actual damage.

Pickups

In all stages of Off-World Interceptor, there are numerous items to be collected. Some items can be purchased within the game's shop.

  • Small Wrench - Repairs a small amount of damage.
  • Large Wrench - Repairs all damage to the car. The pickup is actually an image of a wrench and a screwdriver.
  • Cannon - Increases the firepower of the car's basic weapon. All cars in the game have an "upgraded" form of their basic weapon, which usually combines two different attacks into one.
  • Silver Coin - Gives the player a small amount of money. This pickup is close to being polluted through the tracks in the Extreme version of the game.
  • Gold Coin - Gives the player a large amount of money. Usually hidden in remote areas of the track, difficult to come by.
  • Fuel Can - Gives the player's car a small increase in fuel. The fuel can is a very common sight in all tracks, however the fuel can is not seen in the Extreme version of the game.
  • Clones - Gives the player an extra life. Very rare. Clones can also be purchased at the repair shop.
  • Invulnerability - Makes the player invincible for a brief period of time. In the original 3DO version of the game, this powerup is characterized by making the player's car flash red. In the Extreme version, the player's car pulses black.

Special Weapons

Aside from the previously mentioned pickups, the player also numerous special weapons at his or her disposal to aid them in surviving the various levels of the game. Like pickups, special weapons can also be acquired on the battlefield.

  • Missiles - Long range weapon. All cars come equipped with their own type of missile. In the original version of the game, a missile pickup gives the player three missiles, while in the Extreme version, a missile pickup is only worth one missile.
  • Nitro - Grants the player a small boost in speed, handy for outrunning enemies or when the player comes under time issues.
  • Plasma Mine - A highly destructive mine that can be dropped behind the player's car. The player carries an unlimited supply of plasma mines, though they have to slowly regenerate over time.
  • Air Strike - Calls in a bomber to obliterate all enemies in the general vicinity of the player, useful for desperate situations.
  • Emergency - Calls in the emergency jet. The emergency jet is used to help lift the player out of chasms or off walls in which the player has gotten stuck on. The emergency jet is only seen in the original version, since the original Interceptor game is the only version where the player can get stuck on the terrain.

Vehicles and Upgrades

There are a total of six cars in Off-World Interceptor, each with its own unique attributes and abilities. There are five attributes to each car, all of which can be upgraded. When initially purchased, each car has a base limit for how many times a certain attribute can be increased—picking up upgrade parts while in-game can break the default base limit of the car (for instance, the Vindicator has a base limit of upgrading its shields three times. However, if the player already has three upgrades in shield and picks up a shield upgrade, the player will effectively have four shield upgrades, breaking the car's initial base limit.)

Upgrades

The following is a brief list and explanation of the attributes that can be upgraded.

  • Engine - Determines the car's overall rate of acceleration.
  • Shield - Determines the amount of damage a car can take.
  • Jump Jets - Determines how high the car can jump, and how long the car can hover.
  • Gyros - Keeps the car upright on steep slopes or when in the air. The player's car is most likely to roll over while attempting to turn when in the air.
  • Tires - Improves the car's overall handling and traction.

Vehicles

  • Vindicator 32,000 - The default car.
  • Orion Interceptor
  • Roadkill 409
  • The Violator
  • Abductor
  • VV Sector

Version Differences

There are several notable differences between the original Off-World Interceptor, and the later Off-World Interceptor Extreme.

  • In the Saturn version of Off-World Interceptor Extreme, certain levels contain fog effects.
  • Levels in the Extreme version are generally much longer.
  • In the original version, the chase timer can be stopped.
  • The sound quality in the Extreme version is much higher than that of the original game.
  • The Abductor's primary weapon is changed in the Extreme version of the game.
  • The final boss behaves differently in the two versions. The final boss in the original version can be beaten via two different methods, due to its difficulty. In the Extreme version, the final boss must physically be destroyed and is subsequently easier to kill.
  • During the final boss of the original game, the sky vanishes.
  • The bad language during the full motion video cut-scenes are beeped out in the Extreme version.

References

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