I swear this was not planned. On this exact date one year ago, I reviewed Fireball Island. A classic and fun board game of yesteryear. At the end of that review I mentioned that the next time I would review a board game it would be, Milton Bradley’s Omega Virus. Out of the blue I decided to do a review of Omega Virus today, remembering that I never did review the game. Well, as it turns out it’s been one year to the date. Better late than never, eh?

I never owned this board game as a child, but my cousin had it. I played it over at his house all the time and I loved it. Years later I bought it off Ebay, even though nobody will play it with me now, since at heart, it’s a kid’s game. But what is the Omega Virus? Well according to the comic book/instruction manual, sometime in the future a huge space station named “Battle Sat 1” protects the Earth from meteors and such. Suddenly an evil nano-robotic virus takes over and threatens to use the space stations weapons to blow up not meteors, but Earth itself! One crewman from each of Earth’s four factions take to the space station to shut it down before the world is doomed!

One part space adventure, one part Clue. This game really set the standard for future games like Atmosfear. Instead of a VHS tape though, it used an electronic piece in the middle. Not only was this game fun to play, but just look at it… It’s freaking cool to look at.

This game is HUGE! The box alone is 23 inches long, 15 inches wide and 3 inches deep. The board inside is just as mammoth, with attachable panel quadrants that make it even bigger. Each sector of the board has a color coded yellow, green, red, or blue representing the theme of each faction on Earth. You pick one of the four colors, naturally, and begin to adventure around the rooms to find the virus.

In the middle of the board is the game’s real hook, the electronic command center (batteries not included) where the computer asks you for help and the virus taunts you. And boy does he ever taunt you. The game is timed, so as you move around the board and enter rooms you must punch in codes to open the rooms. Inside the rooms are access cards which allow you to go into other rooms, as well as Negatron, Decoder, and Disrupters which you must collect one of each to defeat the virus, and finally probes (little robot counterparts which you can use to also check other rooms, essentially cutting your time in half) and assuming you can collect all the pieces and then find the room that the virus is hidden in, you can defeat it to win the game.

But like I said, the Omega Virus taunts you the whole time. Since the game is timed, every second he wastes taunting you is valuable time that you can’t search the rooms. Of course sometimes you’ll enter a room and the virus will destroy some of the stuff you’ve collected! There are also key codes for you to memorize and you have a sheet of paper that helps you keep track of where stuff is at. Sounds easy enough, though, right?

Well the best part of the game is that you can attack each other! After all, why wouldn’t Earth’s four factions try to steal equipment from one another? Need a Negatron to complete your battle with the virus? Then steal it off the player in red! All the player pieces look like Master Chief too, an added bonus. As time goes on, certain quadrants of the game board can actually be SHUT DOWN! Meaning you can’t enter those rooms anymore, perhaps forcing you to fight your fellow players for the final pieces you need.

Even if you get everything and head off to fight the virus, you have to defeat it in a chance game. This means it could take several turns to defeat the virus, assuming you can do all this in the time remaining. When playing with four players, it can get very intense. The annoying maniacal digitized laughter will no doubt make you hate the virus, which is definitely what the game was going for.

This was a really fun game and it can be played time and time again with different results. Playing with four players is the best, but it does include a slightly less fun solo option as well. Always a bonus, as most board games require at least two players.

The instruction manual/comic is only about 20 pages long, but reads more like a RPG manual than instructions to Monopoly. I imagine a board game like this was a big introduction to RPGs for a lot of kids. In fact if more RPGs were this simple I think they could catch on a bit better.

The fact that you can lose this game to the virus also makes it fun. Sometimes nobody is a winner, Earth is destroyed. Talk about giving a kid a complex.

Because of the short play time, it can be a fast paced game for kids and teens. Though I would totally sit down and play this game today. I could see it being a lot of fun for college parties and drunken nights of boredom. Just make sure to keep some AA batteries handy!

Included below is some game footage, mind you, without actually playing the game. Just some taunts and such to give you an idea of how much of a pest the virus could be.

Hopefully it’ll be less than a year before my next classic board game spotlight!

2 Responses to Focus On: The Omega Virus

  • Rick says:

    Best. Game. Ever

  • DaSh says:

    Right..i cam from Germany and i Love this Game…i played last time i was nine…15 years ago…i buy it from Ebay…and i love it to play!!!!!
    But the Voice are in english very very scare…i love it..the german virus-voice are stupid and bad!!

Leave a Reply