It’s been a bit of a strange week — and that’s because it’s been a week where Hideo Kojima was prominent. So in honour of things that are autere, strange and full of action, let’s wind back the clock to a game that was equally bizarre.
It’s not every day that you play a game with David Bowie. Or a game with a David Bowie performance. Or a game where David Bowie had some input into the story. But Omikron: The Nomad Soul had all of these things in the one package, a package which also functioned as most people's first introduction into the weird, weird mind of David Cage.
The Nomad Soul was a weird mash-up of genres. Depending on how far you'd progressed, the game could be a first-person shooter, a puzzler, a third-person 3D fighting game or a traditional action adventure. It was absurdly ambitious, and — like every David Cage game, really — it didn't always meet its lofty goals.
Omikron is the name of the city that you're unceremoniously dropped into, a city broken up into several districts where the occupants are forbidden from travelling into neighbouring regions. (You could say they are, ahem, Caged. I'll show myself out now.)
From the off, you're asked to abandon your dimension — stay with me here — to investigate a series of serial killings in Omikron. That investigation soon indicates that the murderer may have certain dealings with the occult, although by that stage my level of comprehension for proceedings had already jumped off a cliff, dived into the Mariana Trench and through the centre of the earth.
Let's return to Bowie for a bit here. He pops up in The Nomad Soul twice, first as the character 'Boz' and secondly as the nameless lead vocalist for 'The Dreamers', who wander around Omikron doing illegal gigs. Some of the tracks from his Hours album were also for the game, which were then re-written for the album's proper release.
There's a video of some of Bowie's contributions as Boz to the game below, which isn't a bad way to blow almost six minutes on a Thursday.
And if you're still confused as all hell, here's some 1080p footage of the first half hour. It's a bit messy, although that's less a David Cage thing and more the fact that most games from 1999 haven't held up spectacularly well. (System Shock 2 aside, obviously.)
God that moment when the demon appears and the music breaks out is hilarious.
If you're intrigued and want to spend a night getting thoroughly confused, you can still buy Omikron: The Nomad Soul from Good Old Games for under $15. It doesn't have a full five-star rating, which in GOG terms is basically equivalent to a middle-of-the-run experience. You know how nostalgia works.
What are your memories of Omikron: The Nomad Soul like?