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Video Game / Omikron: The Nomad Soul

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An Adventure Video Game created by French studio Quantic Dream, released for Microsoft Windows in 1999, and a Sega Dreamcast port the year following. In case you're wondering, yes, that is the very same Quantic Dream that'd later go on to release Fahrenheit and Heavy Rain, and, owing to it being their debut release, is a game often forgotten when mentioned in previews, reviews and discussions concerning the studio's greater catalogue.

The plot concerns you, or more specifically, your soul. You buy a video game that allows your soul to enter another world; the eponymous city of Omikron.

Said city is a terrifying Dystopia where all human activity is planned by a monolithic super computer named Ix. Ultimately, the player finds out that the reason they are in the city is... well... not what they initially expected. The plot has players go from working for the government to working with a terrorist group to ultimately working their way though a Government Conspiracy that shows The Man Behind the Man is quite horrifying.

A Genre-Busting game that incorporates fighting, FPS and RPG elements alongside its adventure, Quantic Dream calls the game a "Soul Playing Game."

Is now available DRM-free on

Also notable for featuring a soundtrack by David Bowie and regular Bowie collaborator and former Tin Machine guitarist Reeves Gabrels. Bowie's contribution to the soundtrack would eventually be included in his 22nd studio album, 'hours...'. Bowie also voices two characters in the game: the revolutionary philosopher Boz, and the lead singer for the subversive rock band, the Dreamers. As a result, following David Bowie's death, Square-Enix made the game available for free for a week in tribute. Details available here.

Not to be confused with Soul Nomad.

This Game Contains Examples Of...

  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Ix, Omikron city's Master Computer, is literally controlled by the Big Bad, Astaroth, ruler of Hell.
  • Another Dimension
  • Bare Midriffs Are Feminine: Several female characters wear midriff baring outfits, notably Kay'l's wife, Telis and Syao 471.
  • Beneath the Earth: You eventually find your way down to Omikron's spacious catacombs.
  • Big Bad / Man Behind the Man: Astaroth.
  • Bladder of Steel: There is no pause function. Consulting your computer may look like you're pausing, but time continues ticking (and pedestrians and cars continue moving) while it's pulled up. And you can't even consult your computer during the fighting or FPS segments, or while you're swimming. (Granted, you could take a break by saving and shutting the game off—but if you don't have any magic rings, then you're completely out of luck.)
  • Body Surf: A key aspect of the game. The player character is a soul from "our" universe who is only able to interact with the alien world of Omikron by taking over the bodies of Omikron's citizens. He/she hops from body to body quite frequently; the process seems to displace the original soul, so that the body's left an empty shell when the player leaves it for another. The morality of this is never even superficially addressed, especially considering the bad guys are essentially doing the same thing, only on a much more massive scale. The player even evaluates potential hosts like new cars when you examine them, and towards the end the game even requires you to poison a guy who just saved your life so you can jack his body.
  • Body Uploading: Your inventory takes the form of a wrist-mounted personal computer (called a "sneak" for some reason). All your weapons, items, and power-ups are digitized and stored inside it until needed.
  • Brain Uploading: Boz, the philosophical leader of The Awakened, exists as a consciousness hiding in the master computer. In the final cutscene, he plans to research how to get his body back.
  • Bureaucratically Arranged Marriage: Select Omikronian citizens, as explained by in-game documents, are paired together and wed by the government. Choices for would-be couples are based upon their physical and mental compatibility with one another to produce the best offspring.
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": The ubiquitous wrist-mounted personal computers are called "sneaks", and taxi cabs are called "sliders".
  • City of Canals: Lahoreh, one of the districts of Omikron.
  • Cool Sword: Barkaya'l, which is empowered by the souls of all the ancient sorcerers of Omikron (minus one), and as such is the only weapon powerful enough to kill the Big Bad.
  • Cutscene Incompetence: At the beginning, Kay'l asks you to take care of his body, but this is ultimately impossible. If you keep him alive all the way through the fight against Chief Gandhar, a random Meca will shoot him dead in a cutscene immediately after.
  • Cyberpunk: Omikron.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Kay'l. He's played up in promotional material as the main character, with the intro showing him involved in sequences that come long after his death.
  • Desert Punk: The ambientation, especially the clothes and buildings.
  • Dialogue Tree
  • Domed Hometown: Omikron, to protect it from an ice age that has engulfed the planet.
  • Dug Too Deep: While digging the foundations of Ix's palace, the construction workers accidentally unearthed the cage where the Big Bad was imprisoned, thus allowing it to extend its influence upon the world once again.
  • Dystopia: Omikron.
  • Everything Is Online: An odd usage where almost any physical object can be digitized and stored on a hard drive, so that your personal computer serves as your inventory.
  • Fight Unscene: While the Nomad Soul fights Astaroth, the Awakened incite a revolution and successfully overthrow the whole Omikron government. You don't see any of that battle, and only get to hear about it after the fact.
  • First-Person Shooter: Some segments of the game are played as an FPS.
  • Fission Mailed: The first two times you lose a fist-fight against a demon, you'll body-hop into a random passer-by, then the game will continue as normal. On the other hand, all of those fights are winnable—and oddly enough, after those two times, getting killed by a demon results in a regular Game Over instead.
  • Government Conspiracy: Omikron and every organization within it (apart from the terrorist group) are controlled by malevolent demons; the king of whom wants to torture your soul for eternity in order to fuel his attempt at multiverse conquest. The trusts, Ix and Legatee Reshev are all their puppets.
  • Grand Theft Me: A core game mechanic. Your "nomad soul" can inhabit and control the bodies of certain special people.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: While imprisoned, you use this method to escape. When the jailer attacks with an electric torture beam, you reflect it back at him with a metal bowl. Your character even lampshades it in the dialogue immediately after.
  • Inventory Management Puzzle: You only have 18 total inventory slots on your person, which is often barely enough to carry all your weapons, mandatory quest items, and powerups. However, you do have access to dozens of stationary computer terminals throughout the world with limitless storage space; you'll be detouring a bunch to unload all those badges and keys you don't need anymore.
  • I Shall Taunt You: When you get captured, you escape your jailer by taunting him until he electrocutes you.
  • Irrelevant Importance
  • Justified Save Point: Saving is accomplished by preserving your soul at in-universe save points, using magic rings left behind by the Renegade Sorcerer.
  • La RĂ©sistance: The Awakened are the only ones who know the truth about Omikron's government and fight back against its tyranny.
  • Last Fertile Region: Jahangir Park.
  • MegaCorp: The government-linked trusts, Khonsu and Tetra. Fitting for the Cyberpunk setting of Omikron.
  • Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: Kay'l and his partner were investigating a serial killer who mauled their victims, only to begin to suspect that this murderer was no mere human... In fact, once it's figured out that it is actually a demon, this leads your character to uncover that Omikron is actually ruled by a shadow government controlled by evil demons.
  • The Mole: You and Jenna get captured after the Tetra factory mission because one of the other Awakened sold you out. When you escape, you have to snoop around to find the mole. It's Namtar. Not only is he secretly a member of the Omikron government, but he's a demon himself.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The Attract Mode is styled like a movie trailer, but features some aliens that never appear in the game itself. And to better hide that Kay'l is just the Decoy Protagonist, the trailer features him in scenes that come long after his mandatory death in the actual story.
  • No Fourth Wall: One of the earliest examples of this trope in video games. The game begins with a police officer from another world asking you to transfer your soul into his body. It only gets more demented from there.
  • No-Gear Level: When you get captured by the government, they don't take away your computerized inventory—but they do lock it down, so you can't access any of your weapons or gear. A trip to the nearest computer terminal is enough to unlock your inventory and get everything back.
  • Optional Sexual Encounter: Once near the start of the game. Kay'l's wife climbs into bed, and you can climb in with her.
  • Pamphlet Shelf
  • Peace & Love Incorporated: The Omikron government, which uses thought modifiers.
  • Permanently Missable Content: After Kay'l dies, you lose his ability to access most parts of the Security Headquarters. Everything necessary for the main quest is still open, but the optional missions and side content can be lost forever if you don't complete them before his death.
  • The Place: The game is named for Omikron, the great city where the majority of the plot happens.
  • Place Beyond Time: The original wielder of Barkaya'l remains in a realm of suspended time. He can't fight Astaroth himself, saying he would crumble to dust if he ever left.
  • Player Headquarters: They get changed a couple of times.
  • Point of No Return: Be sure to stock up before going on the path to confront the Big Bad.
  • Population Control: According to in-game documents, the Omikron government employs this to manage limited space and resources within the dome. Couples in Omikron are encouraged to have two children, then sterilized after the birth of the second. The punishment for having more than two children is never spelled out, but considering how oppressive the government is, it can't be pleasant.
  • Red Light District: Qalisar.
  • RPG Elements: The game includes fighting, First-Person Shooter and Adventure segments, with skill at all these segments being determined by the stats of the body you are currently inhabiting.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: Poor poor Telis.
  • Save Both Worlds: Both Omikron and the real world!
  • Save-Game Limits: Saving your game uses up magic rings. If you run out of rings, you can't save again until you find more.
  • Save Token: The game has special rings you have to find. You can use them either to save or to get a suggestion.
  • Sdrawkcab Name: Namtar is just "Ratman" backwards, foreshadowing that he's not to be trusted.
  • Soul Jar: The player's soul may inhabit the body of several characters. Also, the sword Barkaya'l contains the souls of many powerful magicians.
  • Take Up My Sword: How you obtain the Cool Sword.
  • Tome of Eldritch Lore: The Book of Nout.
  • Urban Segregation: The city of Omikron is divided into four districts, each with its own style of architecture and fashion. People aren't allowed to move freely between them, but instead need special passes to do so.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: One of the powers necessary to get through the game is the Reincarnation spell, which basically lets you abandon your current body and take over a new one, without getting the old body killed. When you do this, the old body mysteriously vanishes. Where does it go? Did it die? Does anyone notice or care that you're possessing and then losing these people? Who knows?
  • Wide-Open Sandbox: An early 3D example, you can explore the city of Omikron freely between (and often also during) missions: buy some stuff, read books, listen to music...