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Bad Omen aka Devilish

version: jp - year: 1992 - developer: hot-b - publisher: sega - format: mega drive, 4 mbit cartridge - condition: near mint - rarity: hard to find


(1) Destroy the gate by hitting it several times with the blue ball


(2) the 1st boss can be a problem. Watch his arms because he will try to steal the ball from you. To hit him without risking much, make sure the ball gets trapped between his head and the top of the screen


(3) Levels are varied and provide unique challenges


(4) To destroy the wall on the left, toggle your top paddle so that it faces it. Your task will become much easier!


(5) In this parallax-blessed level, cannons make their apperance. Hit them with your ball for handy shortcuts. You will be shot out in the distance and will avoid lots of time-consuming obstacles!


(6) The End - Upon finishing the game, you will rejoin with your princess.

Review - Bad Omen, also know as Devilish is a very original game.

It could be defined as a fusion between the seminal 16 bit MD and PCE classic pinball game Devil Crash and Arkanoid. Unlike Arkanoid though, here you will have control over 2 paddles instead of just 1, and you will be able to toggle the top one left or right, depending on where you want the ball to go. This might sound a bit confusing but the idea is very simple.

On the default position, you have the 2 paddles facing up (check out screenshot #1) whereas for example, you can decide to have the top paddle face left (screenshot #4) if you need to go left or if you need to hit an otherwise hard to reach enemy.

Again, unlike Arkanoid the levels will scroll (generally upwards) and what you will need to do is to reach the end of level boss and defeat him before time runs out. A sandglass will remind you of how much time is left to finish a level. If time runs out, you will lose a ball and you will be sent to the beginning of the level whereas if you lose a ball while playing, you will be allowed to continue from where you lost.

So basically, you worst enemy in this game will be the sandglass but luckily, if you open the bonus chests scattered around the levels and collect the yellow orb, you will be granted a very needed time extension!

Graphically, Bad Omen is well done. The gothic style of the graphics is very reminiscent of Devil Crash. Enemies are cool and varied (some will attack you while others will just try to slow you down by holding the ball) while backgrounds are very cool looking as you progress from a graveyard to a clock-tower, to underwater levels etc...

There are 7 stages to be completed before seeing the ending screen and all levels have their specificities and are very fun to play.

The only complaint I have about the graphics are the way waterfalls are drawn. When your ball is behind them, it becomes very hard to see it but I guess this is more of a MD hardware limitation than the programmers' fault. Transparencies have never been the MD forte!

The music is very appropriate and sounds eerie enough, considering the gloomy setting of the game. Sound effects are also convincing while sampled speech is atrocious and is luckily present only when you turn on the game and a rustling voice garbles something that I later understood was the name of the game :)

Gameplay is the strong point of Bad Omen. This game has intelligent mechanics, and gameplay is really addictive. The fast-paced action will almost feel like you are playing some kind of weird- pinball-shooter hybrid. As a result, the gaming experience feels fresh and unique. The only slight complaint I have is that sometimes, the ball will bounce in an awkward way, and this could be a source of frustration when the clock is ticking and the ball bounces almost randomly around. This doesn't happen often though so it doesn't detract much from the game.

To conclude, Bad Omen is an under-rated little gem that not many people have heard of. Try it and you won't regret it! On a side note, Bad Omen uses a weird but cool looking intermission effect. A zipper with a skull on it will make the transition between one screen and the next. The only annoying thing is that you can't skip it so it could get on your nerves after a while :)

Bottom line: an excellent cross between arkanoid, a pinball game and a shooter. 8/10










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