|Genre(s)||Racing, Vehicular Combat, third-person|
|Mode(s)||Single-player, Two player|
|This article may contain material discouraged by the guidelines for video game subjects. (January 2013)|
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 for the Sega Saturn and PlayStation consoles, named Off-World Interceptor Extreme. 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.
The game was developed under the title "Orion Off-Road".
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.
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.
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.
In all stages of Off-World Interceptor, there are numerous items to be collected. Some items can be purchased within the game's shop. The player also has numerous special weapons at their disposal to aid them in surviving the various levels of the game. Like pickups, special weapons can also be acquired on the battlefield.
There are a total of six cars in Off-World Interceptor, each with its own unique attributes and abilities. Each one has five attributes, 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.
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 too long in any stage, the criminal that is being pursued escapes from the area and an air-strike is called in. 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.
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.)
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 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.
Reviewing the 3DO version, GamePro criticized the music and "slightly hokey" sound effects, but praised the graphics and cutscenes, and concluded "Once any early frustration wears off, OWI's great graphics and game play will drive you wild."
Reviewing the Saturn version, Sega Saturn Magazine commented that the game's premise is interesting but the actual gameplay is poor, especially the "unrealistic" movements of the player's vehicle. They gave the game a 65%.
- Off-World Interceptor for 3DO - Off-World Interceptor 3DO - Off-World Interceptor 3DO Game
- Release Information for Off-World Interceptor Extreme
- "Orion Off-Road". Electronic Gaming Monthly (57) (EGM Media, LLC). April 1994. p. 114.
- "ProReview: Off-World Interceptor". GamePro (67) (IDG). February 1995. p. 96.
- Bright, Rob (January 1996). "Review: Off-World Interceptor Extreme". Sega Saturn Magazine (3) (Emap International Limited). pp. 90–91.