Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee
It's been a long time since I've played one like this. I think the last time was Out of This World on the 3DO. so it took me a little while to get used to the style of gameplay-one where you more or less guide a character through room after room (and level after level) until you get to the end. Of course, that oversimplifies Abe's Oddysee by leaps and bounds. Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee not only has a weird name, it also is a weird game (which rhymes consequently). But it's not weird in a bad way by any means, it's weird in an ingenious, very original way. The graphics are incredible and look like hours of painstaking detail went into every one. In fact, everything about this game from an aesthetic and gameplay standpoint is flawless. The sound fits the game Perfectly-Abe's voice and sounds he can make not only played a necessary part in the game, it also made me chuckle (how many characters can you make fart?). The story line was an interesting one and drew me into it. All of the characters (friends and foes alike) were imaginative and flawlessly animated. I'd say the one drawback to Abe's Oddysee is that after a while, it becomes a task of memorization. Luckily there are some additions to help the replay value (like saving members of your fellow Mudokans).
A sick, twisted game that deserves exposure! I didn't expect Abe's Oddysee to be this much fun. I also didn't expect it to be this hard. Some of the puzzles are too difficult-you may spend 1/2 hour on one sequence (though you'll enjoy doing it)! It's funny, addictive, beautiful...! could go on but I have to get back to having fun (and tearing my hair out in frustration).
The similarities between this game and Flashback are obvious (both have great animation, cool environments, etc.), but 0: A0's puzzles are' tougher. Luckily, you get unlimited lives, and after each death you usually reappear pretty close to where you died, so the game never gets too frustrating. Be warned: It'll take a lot of replay to earn the good ending.
At first glance. Abe looks to be yet another Blackthorn, but offers so many Al improvements that it stands apart. The game is complex. and the outcome depends on your character's moods and reaction time. For an adventure in realism, dive into Abe. Don't think this ride will be easy though, because the obstacles are tough to overcome.
Download Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee
Don't let the words "2D platform game" turn you off, or you'll miss out on one of the year's most intriguing games. Abe's Oddysee bursts onto the scene with the kind of unique gameplay and killer graphics that will rocket it straight into the PlayStation hall of fame.
Abe's Excellent Adventure
Set on the planet Oddworld, Abe's Oddysee tells the tale of Abe, a blue-collar worker in a meat-processing factory whose upper management suddenly develops a plan to convert Abe and his ilk into a line of tasty treats. Playing as Abe, you must escape the factory and set out on a quest to shut it down and save your race from extinction.
At first glance, Abe may resemble a platform game from the 16-bit era. You run toward the right, figure out how to open doors, rescue friends, battle enemies, and so on.
But Abe's long list of cool features and fresh approach to gameplay swiftly separate it from the pack.
Since the not-so-heroic Abe doesn't stand a chance in combat with enemies, he must devise clever ways to evade them. For instance, instead of gunning down an attack dog, you taunt it until it chases you, then lead it into a mine, leaving scorched furballs behind. Or you can use Abe's power to chant to possess enemies-- and take control of them instead. By possessing a guard, you can use its gun to fill nearby enemies full of lead.
Abe also has an eight-word vocabulary (he talks out loud, not in text balloons), and his "conversations" with other characters earn him special powers, open doors, and so on. With this kind of strategic, creative approach to the gameplay, Abe's does a superb job of making you feel like you're playing a story, not a game, keeping you immersed in the action.
A Beautiful World
Abe's spectacular graphics also snare your attention. Mesmerizing backgrounds breathe life into Oddworld, while the spectacular animations imbue the characters with convincing fluidity. The visuals overflow with riotous humor, too, such as Abe's comical sneak move or the screen-rocking thump when Abe plummets to his death.
Similarly, topnotch sounds and music add to the realism. You'll bust your gut laughting at Abe's goofy voice, but the creepy slither of some enemies will raise your hackles.
Unfortunately, Abe's not without its flaws. The controls respond smoothly, but the overly sensitive jumps lead to too many frustrating deaths. Even worse, as you progress deep into the game, some of the puzzles become extraordinarily difficult to solve, while others regress to the cheesy, repetitive nature of outdated platform games (like a long series of annoying jumps). Thankfully, the game gives you infinite lives and a decent save feature, but even then some gamers may throw down their controller in disgust instead of plowing on.
Despite its flaws, Abe's delivers a combo of innovative, strategy-filled game-play and eye-popping graphics that makes tolerating these problems worthwhile. Not every gamer will have the stamina to beat the game, but no one will regret spending some serious time with Abe.
- Mounted on an Elum, Abe can make jumps that are otherwise too far.
- To pass by Slogs, anger them by throwing rocks or chanting. When they give chase, lure them into mines or other obstacles.
- When you run across your fellow Mudokons, always return their greeting and parrot back the sequence of sounds they give. They'll open up a hidden door, give you special powers like spirit rings, and so on.
- Abe's sneak move and ability to hide in shadows will get you past a lot of obstacles--try them whenever you can.
- When you possess a Slig, roam as far as possible and kill as many Sligs and Slogs as you can before returning to Abe's body.
Abe's lush, stunning levels crackle with unparalleled color and detail, and the character animations erupt with humor and charm. In the age of 3D, this 2D title delivers some of the best visuals ever found on the PlayStation.
From the classy mood music to the utterly hilarious voices, the sounds do a perfect job of keeping you entertained and in the game.
Innovations like possessing enemies make controlling Abe a fresh, fun experience. The lone hitch is the finicky jumping, which causes too many unnecessary deaths.
Abe's packs in so much originality and such killer graphics that every PlayStation gamer will get a huge thrill from spending time with this game. However, the more action-oriented may head for greener pastures when some of the unnecessarily difficult puzzles start undercutting the fun.
With a healthy helping of charm and innovation, Abe's Oddysee already packs the potential to reign as one of the top PlayStation titles coming out this fall.
Sure, platform games have been done to death, but the freshness and humor of Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee will reel in even the most jaded action/adventure pro. As an escaped slave struggling to prevent his race's extermination, Abe carries the day by being stealthy and smart, not by packing big guns. Oddysee serves up plenty of twitch-style jumping and fighting, but the heart of the action lies in steering Abe through traps, defusing mines, sneaking past sleeping guards, and the like. Abe can even possess his enemies, which enables you to assume control of enemy guards and deal out death with abandon.
By the way, if Oddysee looks familiar, you've seen its earlier incarnations in GamePro before (see "Epic 1's Looking Large," December '96, and "E3 Explodes," August '96) under the names "Oddworld Inhabitants: Epic 1 Starring Abe" and "Soul Storm," respectively. Hopefully, "Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee" is what you'll see on the box come September!
Graphics & Sounds
Graphically, Oddysee's dazzling. Abe's unique style of movement is both fluid and humorous--his sneak move, where he delicately tiptoes past foes, is a real side-splitter. Gorgeously rendered backgrounds also breathe life into the game.
On the sound side, Abe's ability to talk out loud adds depth to the gameplay. Our hero can use simple statements like "Hello" and "Follow me"--or even farts--to interact with other characters and solve puzzles and obstacles.
Abe's Exoddus looks like it could top Abe's Oddysee thanks to more abilities for Abe, a longer story, and other surprises.
TRICKS OF THE ABE
Abe has more skills in Ex-oddus than he had in his first Oddysee. In addition, his vocabulary has been expanded and he can slap around unruly fellow Mu-dokons, become invisible, and turn his farts into ticking time bombs. Abe can also possess more creatures, like Paramites and Scrabs. Developer Oddworld Inhabitants has added new enemies, too, and some can't be influenced. Noteworthy newbies include Fleeches, Slurgs (harmless-looking slugs that swallow Abe whole if they lash him enough times with their long tongues), and a new flying Slig that can drop grenades. (For more game info; see special feature, "Spotlight on Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus," September.)
LET MY MUDOKONS GO!
Abe's Exoddus isn't being called a sequel to Abe's Oddysee; it's really more of a "bonus game." Following the destruction of Rupture Farms in Abe's Oddysee, the evil Glukkons have created a new Mudokon-based product: SoulStorm Brew. To halt the drink's manufacture, Abe must infiltrate the SoulStorm Brewery, free his fellow Mudokons, and destroy the place. Exoddus looks and plays like its predecessor did, including the same 2D side-scrolling play engine and similar razor-sharp, beautifully rendered backgrounds. Where Exoddus varies from the previous game is in its scope: It's a two-disc set, so Exoddus is bigger, longer, and has more puzzles and secrets than Abe's Oddysee.
MORE OF A GOOD THING
Abe's Oddysee was one of the best games for the PlayStation last year, and, judging from this preview version, the sequel is just as good. Ex-oddus has lost none of the addictive qualities of the first game. The puzzles will keep you pleasantly perplexed for long periods of time, but there's still enough action to keep the game moving at a brisk pace. Abe's Exoddus has the potential to be a top fall offering that PlayStation gamers should keep an eye open for.
Marvel Comics and Acclaim have teamed up to bring you a side-scrolling beat-em-up featuring the comic book heroes, the Fantastic Four. The evil Dr. Doom has been trying to construct a time machine so he can become the master of all worlds and eliminate the Fantastic Four in the process. It is up to you as one of the members of the Fantastic Four to stop this evil plan and save the day. Sounds pretty exciting, doesn't it? Don't get too excited yet.
Fantastic Four is an old school, side-scrolling, kick the crap out of anything and everything type game. Everyone has played a game like this. Double Dragon and Fighting Force are both perfect examples. The only difference is that your characters happen to be comic book superheroes.
Speaking of our heroes, here is the breakdown on your different characters. First, we have Mr. Fantastic, the leader of the Fantastic Four. Next, we have The Thing. He is as big and strong as he is ugly. Third is the Invisible Woman, Mr. Fantastic's wife, and she has the ability to become invisible. Fourth, we have the Human Torch. He is The Invisible Woman's brother and has the ability to control the fire that covers his body. The fifth (?) member of the Fantastic Four is She-Hulk.
Now I have two questions about the characters. First, I'm not a comic book fan, so I'm not familiar with the characters. Who are they? Acclaim might be limiting their audience by having five main characters who might not be immediately recognizable to the game playing audience out there. Second, is if this group of characters is called Fantastic Four, why are there 5 characters? Did they just throw in one to try and make the game more enjoyable, or is the Fantastic Four actually 5 characters?
In terms of Fantastic Four's gameplay, the game starts out decent enough. You have your enemies attacking you from all different directions. It is up to you to punch, kick, or special-move them to death. Of course the level starts off easy enough. You fight these little munchkin-looking dudes that swarm around you and throw clubs at you. Beat this first wave of little guys, and you move on to face a giant ape. So far so good. After the ape, it is more little dudes. Then more apes. Then more little dudes. Then robot looking guys. More little dudes. More apes. And on and on and on. After playing for about 15 minutes, I just wanted to see a different type of enemy. This lack of variation plagued every level. The same enemy over and over. How hard is it to make up a few different varieties of enemies just to shake things up?
One of the other things that really bothered me about the game was the control. Everything seemed sluggish, like it was moving in slow motion. Not only did it seem slow, but the character animations were very clunky. In no way whatsoever did it actually look like your character was walking. The idea behind video games is to make you feel like you are actually a part of the action. With the terrible animations, there was never a chance of this.
I will say the game did have one cool feature. If you continued to use the same attacks to kill your opponents, a piece of cheese would flash on the screen signifying that you are "cheesing out" and need to vary your attacks. You do not get penalized in any way for cheesing out, but it was still a cool idea, especially when you are playing multi-player, because your buddies are sure to ride you for fighting like a wimp.
Some of the graphics looked pretty good and other things looked awful. Some of the backgrounds and characters were well done. Other backgrounds and characters would make any 16 bit system blush with embarrassment. The character animations were very lame and so choppy and stiff that it would have almost been better to not even animate the movement at all. I will say I liked the look of the apes, but their breath was terrible.
I really enjoy this type of game, so I was very disappointed that Fantastic Four was not done better. The long, monotonous levels will leave you screaming for some variety. I still don't understand why there are 5 characters and they are called the Fantastic Four, but this really does not matter when playing the game. Overall, you will tire quickly of the game, which is a shame.
You are Abe, an ignorant, happy floor-waxer in Rupturefarms, the most dangerous slaughterhouse in Oddworld. You and the rest of the blue guys are Mudokons. You have been a slave all your life for your boss, Mullock the Glukkon. Mullock represents the Magog Cartel, the meanest bunch of corporate weasels you will ever meet.
You start the game chained up in a cell, awaiting interrogation by Mullock the Glukkon. You have done something that has really made him mad. What have you done? Well, you'll have to play the game to answer that. Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee is a flashback. In other words, the events leading to your being captured have already happened, but now you are going to play those events again to see what kind of ending there will be. Confused? You should be.
It all starts with Rupturefarms driving Meeches, Scrabs, and Paramites to extinction. The only way to boost profits is to turn Abe and his pals into lunch. You've got to escape from Rupturefarms and take as many fellow Mudokons with you as possible.
Once you escape from Rupturefarms, your adventure is just beginning. Now you must complete your destiny by saving all the Mudokons and becoming a Shrykull (which is half-Mudokon, half-God). It is your mission to complete the game and to save your race from extinction.
Oddworld is a side-scrolling game that is fast-paced and very addictive, reminiscent of the game Earthworm Jim. Once you start playing, you just can't stop until you see what is on the next board. I found myself staying up late and then losing more sleep dreaming about how I could save that one Mudokon that seemed to be all by himself on a ledge somewhere.
Remember the good old days when the only button you had to worry about was the big red one on the side of the joystick? Those days are long gone, and I wish they could come back. Oddworld's configuration of buttons is kind of a pain, but after the first two to three hours of gameplay you get the hang of it and press on with the game. If you have a gamepad with six buttons, it might be easier to handle, but those of us with the good old four-button pad are out of luck. I found it difficult to try to use the joystick and the keyboard at times and wished I had a third hand more than once during the game.
One of the neat things that really caught my attention is that you have to talk to your fellow Mudokons. They will not follow you unless you coax them into it.
Oddworld also has a multitude of secret levels. If you don't look for them, you will miss about 50 % of the game and will not save enough Mudokons to see the good ending (there are two endings). The makers of the game were very sneaky in where they hid the levels, so make sure that you always look everywhere for them. I'll give you a hint: there is a secret level on the very first board.
This game is wonderful to look at. The different environments in Oddworld look hand-drawn and very realistic; it rivals anything on the market as far as graphics go. I liked the way GT Interactive took the time to put out such a high-quality game. Everything seemed to move smoothly with very little drag. There are times, of course, when things slow down a bit. Whenever you have multiple Slogs (look like little dogs) coming after you, the game would slow down to a crawl. This only occurs a couple of times so it really doesn't affect how I felt about the game as a whole.
Crank it up and let the game take control of your body! The audio is top of the line. If you don't have stereo speakers, this is one game that would help you make the decision to buy some. When the game starts to get intense, the music goes right along with the action. I know of one area where, when you are running from some Scrabs, it seems like every time you jump a big drum would sound at the same time. It made my palms sweaty and the joystick hard to hold. It just doesn't get much better than that.
The only documentation for Oddworld is in the case for the CD-ROM. It is fairly small but it gives you the basic story and the buttons you need to know. Make sure that you definitely read the controls page first. I spent too much time trying to do things that I had no clue about. If I had read the book, I would have been fine. The documentation also has some good screen shots and a small description of each of the different things you will be up against in the game.
Also, you begin the game with an option for walkthrough that gives you a chance to practice your moves before things get too hairy.
Minimum: Pentium 120, SVGA high color (16 bit), 4X CD-ROM drive, 8 MB RAM, 100% SoundBlaster compatible sound card
Recommended: Pentium 166, SVGA high color (16 bit), 4X CD-ROM drive, 16 MB RAM, Wavetable sound card
I thoroughly enjoyed playing Oddworld. It is a refreshing game in a market that too often lacks any true originality. I didn't like the number of buttons that I had to use to get through some of the boards; that was frustrating. But despite the frustration, the game is just plain fun. It's beautifully made and everything comes together nicely. The storyline is great and it gives you a reason to want to keep going. The game is a little short for most people, but I believe that this is the first in a five-part series that GT Interactive is putting out. I'm going to have to start saving my pennies so I can get the rest. Put it on your Christmas list and make sure you're good the rest of the year!