Seemingly inspired by 1950s B movies such as The Blob and developed by the Sega Technical Institute development studio in the US, The Ooze was the brain child of Dave Sanner. Dave was the lead programmer of The Ooze and was also the man behind the game Sonic Spinball. First released in September 1995 the game was an unusual concept in which the hero is basically a pool of slime controlled by the player.
“So where did this puddle of slime come from?” I hear you ask. Well it turns out that a research scientist call Dr Cain, working at “The Corporation”, was becoming a little suspicious of some shady research being conducted behind closed doors and decided that he would wait until the plant closed one night and sneak in to have a look through the computer files. After hacking into file after file Dr Cain finally discovered the terrifying truth! Having developed a hybrid plague that had the potential to wipe out humanity and having the only cure for the disease, The Corporation were planning to infect the entire planet by contaminating the world’s water supplies before extorting billions of dollars from the governments around the world to supply them with the antidote to the plague. Just as he discovers this information the director of the facility bursts in the door with a couple of big nasties by his side and catches Dr Cain red-handed, snooping through the computer files.
Realising that the good doctor was on to their diabolical plan the director barks an order at the two bruisers accompanying him and they swiftly jump on the poor doctor, restraining him while the director injects him with a huge syringe of glowing green chemicals. After passing out Dr Cain awakens to discover that his body has transformed into the toxic green goop that was in the syringe. Sure that the director and his henchmen had meant to kill him and that something had gone wrong, the doctor vows to destroy The Corporation and stop the plague whilst somehow gaining back his humanity in the process.
You begin each level of The Ooze as an average sized pool of green slime with a little pea like head in the middle. As you progress through the level and are attacked by enemies or, run in to obstacles like fire, you lose some of your slime. Some enemies drink you and fire and lasers burn away the slime when they hit you. Each time you kill an enemy however they turn into a small blob of the green stuff and if you touch it you absorb it back into your puddle which makes you grow again. If you lose all of your oozy puddle you lose a life. You might think then it is better to not get hit and to grow your puddle as much as possible, right? Well yes probably but the larger the puddle of ooze becomes the more difficult it can be to control the ooze puddle and to move around the level without being hit. Also you have to protect your head as you move through the level as one hit to the head generally kills you straight away. It can be pretty frustrating to get most of the way through a level, adding slime to your puddle of ooze as you go, ending up like a massive slimy lake and thinking you’re the dogs bollocks, only to get one hit in your little round green pea head from some joker with a laser killing you instantly. Yes, pretty frustrating indeed.
Dr Cain has two basic attacks as the titular Ooze, one is basically hocking a big spit ball at your enemy, which reduces your slime puddle each time you do it. The other being a punch that stretches out of you and can be directed mid punch using the d-pad on the controller. The more ooze you have in your puddle the farther the punch can reach. This is an interesting attack and is fun when you punch an enemy around a corner for example but it can also be pretty unwieldy and difficult to control at times which can get quite annoying. The best way to attack with the punch attack is, to punch horizontally or vertically from the centre of the character or diagonally in straight lines. The control of the oozey character, although a little more difficult as he grows is actually not too bad once you get used to it though and the way he moves around the levels looks very much like you would expect a pool of liquid to move.
Scattered around the levels of the game there are warp areas that take you to other areas or to various mini games. Good luck finding them though as they can be anywhere in the level and there are no clues as to where you can find them. To find them you have to go to an area of the level and stop for a few seconds to see if you warp. If not, move on and try another spot. You will also need to find the warp area in the mini game or separate area to get back to where you started too. It’s a bit tedious if you are actually looking for these warp areas but you will probably just stumble across some of them during the course of the game. We did.