O.D.T.

a game by Psygnosis
Platforms: PC Playstation PSX
Genre: Action
Editor Rating: 6.8/10, based on 6 reviews
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I don't suppose anyone remembers an old Bitmap Brothers game on the Amiga by the name of Chaos Engine do they? It was a rather fab top downy shooty-shooty game with adventure game aspirations and jules Verne/Bruce Sterling inspired Steam Punk style imagery. No? Oh well, believe me it was very good...so good tn fact that the guys at Psygnosis' Paris Studio have felt suitably inspired by it for O.D.T.--a 3D shooty-shooty game with adventure game and RPG aspirations and Jule Ver.,.oh, you get the idea.

A recent visit to the Paris studio revealed a significantly more impressive game than we had been originally led to believe. Superficially appearing to be another one of those "brown" 3D games that EGM has recently been ranting about, we were pleased to see that behind the Tomb Raider-esque look this is actually a bit different.

Unlike your usual action games of this type, O.D.T. is very much a character-based adventure. The underlying quest of retrieving the "green pearl" from the Forbidden Zone can be tackled in different ways depending on which character you choose to play (from a choice of your usual hero type, a thug, a chick and a wizard) and how you manage the resources within the game. Magic plays an important rote throughout and can be manipulated to different degrees by the different character types. Some characters are pretty handy with a bit of the old magic, while others are more suited to either hitting things very hard, or repeatedly shooting at them.

Technology-wise the Parisian team has been trying to stretch a few boundaries with the now de rigueur inclusion of motion-captured animation taking something of a back seat to the clever use of colored lighting, the destructible environments and the innovative A! system which has been amusingly (sic) dubbed artificial stupidity (characters mimic the dumb mistakes made by people).

  • MANUFACTURER - Psygnosis
  • THEME - ACTION
  • NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1

Game Reviews

Set in a fantastical faraway land, ODT drops you into the shoes of a crew member aboard a blimp-like airship charged with delivering a magical pearl to halt a terrible epidemic. But en route, the airship crashes into a mysterious tower. Now you must play as one of four crew members, each with their own set of missions. As you make your way through the eight huge levels of the tower, you learn that a horde of mutants brought you down.. .because they want that pearl.

ODT's fluid, well-detailed 3D world and third-person view will remind many gamers of Tomb Raider, but ODT's more about action than exploration. Along with blasting through enemies using some seriously impressive firepower, ODT will also contain some RPG-like elements as you must solve puzzles, manage an inventory, and gain experience points.

O.D.T. (Or Die Trying) is a dark 3D adventure game in which you must stop a deadly epidemic before it wipes out the city of oalli. A magical green pearl with legendary healing powers is the only thing that can counteract the disease. Unfortunately, your ship crashes before you can grab the pearl--and now you're surrounded by bunch of ugly mutants. You play as one of four characters, each with their own attributes, weapons, moves, and magic. As you journey through the game, your character gains experience and improves his skills much like in an RPG.

The character control in this unfinished preview version still needed a lot of work: Jumps were difficult to navigate, while reaction times for special moves and simple turning were too slow to be effective. If Psyg-nosis manages to fix these problems, the game has promise--but if Psygnosis drops the ball. O.D.T. will likely be D.O.A. when it hits stores this October.

The name O.D.T isn't an acronym; it's the developers' take on the word "oddity," which they use to describe bad guys in this game. In fact, ODT is a accurate description of the entire product: man's third-person shooter that manages to nail all the drawbacks of the genre's top gun, Tomb Raider, while cleverly missing all of the genre's high points.

Take, for example, the controls: Distance and jumping are hard to judge, and you're never quite sure exactly how much ammo you have. Then there's the ladder interface that's nearly impossible to grab. Let's not even talk about the combo needed to crawl.

In addition, ODT's environments consist mostly of murky platforms and rooms with a visibility of about 10 feet. Never fear: There's so little detail and such bland textures that blindness is welcome. Unfortunately, the sound, which features repetitive generic effects and music, is inescapable. Even the game's highlights, its magic spells and plants that shrivel as they burn, serve only to illuminate ODTs.

Overview

With the success of numerous action/role-playing games on the market, Psygnosis has decided to throw its hat into the ring with Escape...Or Die Trying (O.D.T.). Your mission is to deliver a special green pearl to the city of Calli. The pearl will release a magical spell to save the citizens from an evil plague that is decimating the population. The story takes place on an old-style blimp which is on its way to deliver the magic pearl and save the city. As it flies along, it gets caught up in a magnetic storm and crashes. You find yourself with the crew at the crash site, where you must repair the ship, find enough gas to reinflate the balloon and continue the journey. There are many different levels to get through in order to accomplish your mission, with plenty of hazards and enemies as well. The playing fields can be described as being similar to Doom and Tomb Raider.

Gameplay

You have the choice of playing the game as one of four different characters, with four different weapons. You have the ability to punch and kick, and can even cast magic spells. I really liked the storyline and concept of the game, which was put together quite well. Each level has a short video scene, showing what has happened along the way. They spent a lot of time on the video sequences and really did a good job on them. The maze of dungeons and castles that you must search through to find hidden keys unlocking the next level are well-hidden and challenging.

This is the first Playstation game I've ever played that is actually more difficult to control when you use the analog joystick controls versus the digital keypad. I found myself constantly falling off the ledges as I tried to maneuver through the game, which was very frustrating. The controller seemed to have a mind of its own and would not really go where I pointed it. If I used the digital keypad, it still wasn't easy to control because you really need a joystick to maneuver this type of game effectively. Four directions with separate buttons just won't cut it. This aspect really hurts the quality of the game.

I also found that the weapon controls were difficult to manipulate. When aiming my gun, I found it very hard to get it pointed where I wanted it. The fact that the game is played in the first person makes it even harder to shoot at something directly in front of you at eye level or below, because you can't see exactly how high you're aiming, since the gun is blocked from your line of sight by the player's head and body. You have to guess at how high or low you're aiming through practice, but it is still difficult at best. I was really disappointed with the overall gameplay; I kept getting killed due to the inadequacies of the controller setup and had to continually start over. This is one game that really had a lot of potential and could be really fun to play if it was put together properly. I had a lot of high hopes for this game, but unfortunately they were dashed rather quickly.

Graphics

The graphics in the game are pretty good, but really aren't anything special. I did like the video sequences and thought that they were well done. The game takes place mostly in the castle-type setting, so there really isn't much to the scenery other than the stone floors and walls that have a few various colors and textures. One thing that I found annoying was the way in which the walls blocked my view when I turned around close to a wall. They should have changed it so that the wall would not be drawn in because it makes it hard to see what's going on. This would also contribute to falling off a ledge if I happened to be near one, as the combination of a touchy controller and not being able to see is very difficult to overcome.

I think that if Psygnosis had tried to add more detail to the graphics in the game, it would have been too much for the Playstation to accommodate. This is a 32-bit system and I think that it is starting to show. The bats and other enemies that try to attack you don't have much in the way of detail, but are rather unpredictable and sometimes difficult to defeat.

Bottom Line

If you like role-playing games, I would strongly recommend that you rent this game before you take a chance at buying it. Some people may be able to overcome the inadequacies of the controller's setup and really enjoy the game. If you are one of those people, more power to you. I just think that this game is missing a lot and could have been done much better. It is unfortunate, because the concept of the game is good and Psygnosis obviously spent a lot of time developing it. Too bad they didn't spend an equal amount of time on the mechanics. It could have also been a lot more fun with the option of a two-player mode, which would have added a lot more depth. This game has excellent potential, but falls well short of the mark.

Overview

Your mission is to deliver a special green pearl to the city of Calli. The pearl will release a magical spell to save the citizens from an evil plague that is decimating the population. The story takes place on an old-style blimp which is on its way to deliver the magic pearl and save the city. As it flies along, it gets caught up in a magnetic storm and crashes. You find yourself with the crew at the crash site, where you must repair the ship, find enough gas to reinflate the balloon and continue the journey. There are many different levels to get through in order to accomplish your mission, with plenty of hazards and enemies as well.

Gameplay, Controls, Interface

You have the choice of playing the game as one of four different characters, with four different weapons. You have the ability to punch and kick, and can even cast magic spells. However, I found myself constantly falling off the ledges as I tried to maneuver through the game, which was very frustrating. The controller seemed to have a mind of its own and would not really go where I pointed it.

Each level has a short video scene, showing what has happened along the way. The developers spent a lot of time on the video sequences and really did a good job on them. The maze of dungeons and castles that you must search through to find hidden keys unlocking the next level are well-hidden and challenging. I was really disappointed with the overall gameplay, though; I kept getting killed due to the inadequacies of the controller setup and continually had to start over. I liked the storyline and concept of the game, but in execution it just didn't quite pull together.

System Requirements

Minimum: P120, Win95, 16 MB RAM, 4X CD-ROM drive, SoundBlaster-compatible sound card, keyboard and any joystick with DirectX drivers.

Recommended: P200, 3D accelerator card, 24 MB RAM, 8X CD-ROM drive, and a SoundBlaster AWE32 or better.

Bottom Line

A game that tries hard to convert Tomb Raider fiends by utilizing the same gameplay style, but with a futuristic setting. Although this game tries hard to be first class with its graphics and gameplay, it instead annoys gamers more than giving them enjoyment. It’s extremely hard to control your character and you find yourself falling off ledges again and again. The graphics aren’t the worst out there, although you will see plenty of glitches when you’re going through the levels. The audio is decent and is one of the stronger points in this game. I recommend renting this game or borrowing it from a friend before dishing out any dough.

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