Head to Head

Off World Interceptor Extreme

In this edition of Head to Head I will be comparing Off World Interceptor Extreme for the Sega Saturn and the Sony PlayStation. I will not be including the original 3DO version of Off World Interceptor in this comparison as the changes in the Extreme revision are significant. The updated Extreme edition of Off World Interceptor includes much longer levels with beefed-up sound, graphics and gameplay.

[Image 1-Saturn] [Image 1-PlayStation]
[Saturn (left), PlayStation (right)]
[Image 2-Saturn] [Image 2-PlayStation]
[Saturn (left), PlayStation (right)]

Comparing these two versions of Off World Interceptor is challenging because both the Saturn and the PlayStation versions are remarkably similar. Graphically the PlayStation version is unquestionably superior. The graphics are far more crisp and less grainy, both in gameplay and during cinemas. The Saturn makes some nice use of fog/fading effects, but does not seem to perform nearly as well in scenes with "height field" skies - an effect which is among the most spectacular in the game.

[Image 3-Saturn] [Image 3-PlayStation]
[Saturn (left), PlayStation (right)]
[Image 4-Saturn] [Image 4-PlayStation]
[Saturn (left), PlayStation (right)]

With both versions powered by CD audio, sound is a much more difficult comparison than graphics. The Saturn has voice for each button press, a nice added feature. This feature quickly became somewhat annoying, however, because it seemed to only sometimes work -- this persistently threw off my gameplay as I found myself repeatedly pushing missiles/turbo boost/whatever thinking I hadn't actually hit the button, only to look at my vehicle and see that I had. This is a minor difference between the two versions, however, so I will have to declare the sound category a tie.

[Image 5-Saturn] [Image 5-PlayStation]
[Saturn (left), PlayStation (right)]
[Image 6-Saturn] [Image 6-PlayStation]
[Saturn (left), PlayStation (right)]

Gameplay is the most clear difference. The enemies on the Saturn appear to be more aggressive than the PlayStation, which adds to the challenge. The control on the PlayStation seems generally more refined, however. The most significant difference becomes apparent in the later levels and larger vehicles; the Saturn suffers from horrible slowdown, making several of the otherwise more desirable vehicles virtually unplayable. When firing large numbers of weapons, the game slows to an absolute crawl. This serious flaw makes the PlayStation clearly the winner here.

[Image 7-Saturn] [Image 7-PlayStation]
[Saturn (left), PlayStation (right)]
[Image 8-Saturn] [Image 8-PlayStation]
[Saturn (left), PlayStation (right)]

Overall, I believe the PlayStation version is the better of the two. The PlayStation graphics are fast and smooth, and the vehicle handles smoother as well. Most other differences between the two versions are very minor - the PlayStation version has some censorship in the cinemas, etc. The serious slowdown on the Saturn is a real problem, however, and this was the determining factor for me.

-The Salamander


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