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Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee

From the Database of Home of the Underdogs

GAME DESIGNER:Lorne Lanning

GAME DEVELOPER:Oddworld Inhabitants

GAME PUBLISHER:GT Interactive

Copyright 1997, Oddworld Inhabitants

Abe’s Oddysee and Abe’s Exoddus are two superb first games in Oddworld Inhabitants’ uniquely compelling Oddworld series. Similar to Delphone’s cross-genre classic Out of this World, the Oddworld games offer a superb blend of action, adventure, and puzzle genres. Set on a unique and thoroughly charming planet, you star Abe, a hapless worker-turned-accidental-hero as he stumbles upon one comspiracy after another. CD Mag’s review says it all about Abe’s Oddysee, the very promising start of the series:

“As a member of the Mudokon race of beings, Abe unwittingly discovers a plot by the tyrannical owners of the Rupture Farms meat-processing plant where he is an employee/slave-worker that will make him and his kinfolk the latest thing on the Rupture menu. The game plays out as a really long flashback sequence, giving the player infinite lives. And, more than likely, you’ll need them. The environments go through the grim interior of Rupture Farms and foul prisons to the surrounding industrial wastelands, the forest and jungles where Abe’s more primitive brethren live. Unlike most games, Abe isn’t exactly alone against the Odds. One of Oddworld‘s most distinguishing characteristics is its conversation mechanism.

Abe has a limited vocabulary that he can use to speak to his fellow Mudokons. Indeed, the ultimate goal of the game is not just rescue to himself but all his buddies as well, so proper communication is imperative. Starting off a conversation with the most enduring “Hello” you’ll ever hear, Abe can instruct his partner to “Follow Me” and “Wait.” In addition, he can also whistle back to his jungle mates, growl, laugh and, of course, fart. In addition to talking, chanting plays a huge role in the game. Abe’s chanting opens the escape portals by which his fellow Mudokons can escape, it incites anger in some beasts and actually allows you take control over, and even kill, some monsters. Properly communicating is the key to getting through a large portion of the game, as the other Mudokons are intrinsic elements to many of the puzzles. The problem is that the Mudokons are easily killed if you make the slightest mistake, but then again the same can be said for Abe as well.

Oddworld is an extremely unforgiving game. The “rooms” in the game generally have specific solutions which need to be solved with a particularly rare mixture of logic and action prowess. There’s plenty of jumping, rolling, sneaking and evading to be done, and the fact that Abe is so easily killed doesn’t make it any easier. Then there’s the problem of the game only saving your position in certain locations, which means going over the same ground multiple times if a specific room is causing problems. The lack of a proper save option is made worse by the game’s reliance on hidden areas. Just passing through the locations in a linear fashion will likely cause you to miss about half the game and more importantly, a large portion of the condemned Mudokons. Abe must search high and low for entrances to secret areas, a task fraught with accidental death. In order to see the best ending (or even a favorable one), Abe must rescue the majority of his kin, which makes the game even more challenging than it already is. And yet, it’s so well-designed and the characters are so endearing (even the villains), that Oddworld keeps you playing despite the ensuing frustration.

Those who prefer more traditional adventure games would be well-advised to steer clear of Oddworld. While it’s definitely not for everyone, it’s a thoroughly challenging action-based puzzle game with exceptional design and artistry.”



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