|Developer(s)||Sega Technical Institute|
The Ooze (ジ・ウーズ?) is a video game developed by Sega Technical Institute and released in 1995 for the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis console. In the game, players take the role of a slimy puddle of liquid and face off against various enemies and obstacles.
The game starts at a chemical plant known as "The Corporation," with scientist Dr. Daniel Caine sneaking into the research lab where he worked, in order to find evidence that crimes were being committed using a toxic gas he created. Caine discovers that his colleagues are planning "Operation: Omega": a plan to release a plague upon the populace, and make a fortune because they hold the only cure. However, the Director of The Corporation discovers Caine in the lab. Caine is disposed of by means of chemical waste, but the chemicals do not kill him; instead, they alter him into the angry, sentient, formless creature known as "The Ooze". Swearing revenge, the doctor seeks two things: his former colleagues, and to assume his human form once again. He must now find the DNA helices scattered throughout the wasteland or else end up imprisoned in the Director's lava lamp.
Players control Dr. Caine as a puddle of ooze with a head, who can move around and use two attacks. One is stretching out a maneuverable sliver of ooze whose length is only limited by how much ooze he currently has to attack. Players can also spit gobs of ooze, which reduces the size of the ooze. Enemy attacks deplete the size of the ooze puddle as well, and the Ooze will die either if he becomes very small or if his head is attacked directly. He can also die by dropping off the edges of certain areas, or staying on a drain for too long. Numerous puzzles must be completed in order to progress from one level to another. An optional goal of the game is finding and collecting all 50 helices, in order to see the game's good ending.
Development and releases
Dave Sanner of Sega Technical Institute, who was also behind the game Sonic Spinball, came up with the concept for The Ooze and was its lead programmer. The Ooze was originally intended to be bundled with the Sega Nomad, a handheld Mega Drive/Genesis. Instead, the game was released near the end of the Genesis's lifecycle. The game was later included as a built-in game for the Arcade Legends Sega Genesis 2 and in the compilation game Sonic Mega Collection Plus. It is also unlockable in the Japanese version of Sonic Mega Collection.
The Ooze received mostly negative reviews. The four reviewers of Electronic Gaming Monthly gave the game a 3.875 out of 10, commenting that while The Ooze is highly original, the graphics are choppy and the increasing difficulty as the ooze grows makes the game frustrating, slow-paced, and generally not fun. Johnny Ballgame of GamePro gave faint praise to the music and sound effects, but slammed the controls and graphics and concluded, "Oozing with mediocrity, this game never delivers anything worthwhile or worth buying."