Ok, so you’re name is Abe. You’re an imprisoned, goofy, flat-footed Mudokon working for the RuptureFarms factory in oddworld. You make foods and snacks out of other species of creatures, to include the Paramites, and the Scrabs. It’s not all bad, really… With the exception of the concentration camp style leadership and heirarchy… And the brutal, ruthless Sligs and their dogs, Slogs, constantly hasstling you to scrub the blood and other questionable substances off of the floors and walls… and the highly unsafe foundation the factory is built off of, what with gigantic ribcages falling at random onto the working platforms, often crushing you or your co-workers. Fine, so it’s not the greatest place in Oddworld. Especially after finding out they’re going to start chopping your kind into a new product called… Mudokon Pops! So, can you escape?
Oddworld Inhabitants studios pits you as Abe; the lanky, goofy Mudokon, against what seems to be the whole Oddworld population as you try to save yourself, as well as your whole race of mudokons from certain extinction from the RuptureFarms meat processing factory factory. There is no health bar. There are no weapons for you to possess to harm your enemies. You only have one hit before certain death. Your only weapons are your ability to chant, walk, sneak, run, roll, jump, speak, whistle, laugh, growl, and of course, fart. This is the game in its entirety, actually… with a few added exceptions. Let’s go over what you can do with each of these features, and then cover the added features that come later in the game.
Let’s begin with the walking. You’re a slow, heavy-flat-footed creature that swings his arms like that 3rd-stage monkey-man hybrid you see in the theorized timeline of human evolution. Walking is audible, so nearby Sligs and such can hear you. Nothing much else with the walk, so let’s move onto running! Running is one of your only 2 methods of escaping from anything chasing you (and there is plenty to run from). Slogs, floating bombs, Scrabs, and Sligs (but only when running from screen to screen, not within the same screen… they’ll just shoot you). Running away from pursuing enemies will usually end in a jump to another platform, or leap over a hole. Moving towards chanting. In addition to opening portals (signified by a circle of birds), chanting allows you to have an out of body experience and possess a Slig on the screen. The Sligs know about this, however, so you must be sure to stay out of their range of fire as you chant. Also, if you are possessing a Slig in the accompaniment of another Slig, the possessed Slig will immediately be shot upon the completing of the chant by his partner. By possessing a Slig, you can then control the Slig as you would your character. Abe will be frozen in his spot, still chanting. Sligs can do virtually everything Abe can do. the only exception is the Slig’s abilities to melee other mudokons and shoot their machine guns at anything in front of them. Useful for infiltrating a large Slig group that may be otherwise impossible for Abe to sneak past. Sneaking is exactly as you would imagine a funky alien dude trying to be stealthy. Exaggerated tip-toeing allows Abe to sneak behind Sligs without them noticing. Abe can also hide in shadows you will occasionally see, and Sligs will walk right past you without regard. Rolling serves little purpose other than passing low obstacles that Abe would smash his head on if he was running (really, he’d smash his head, fall down, stand up, and growl in anger), and providing a slightly more entertaining way of escaping pursuing enemies (maintaining the same speed as running). Speaking, Whistling, Growling, Laughing, and Farting are all methods of communication in this game. They are essential to getting your fellow Mudokons to safety, getting your fellow udokons to avoid danger on the way to safety (“Wait” is the phrase to have a companion stop following you, obviously), or to complete ‘Simon Says’ type of mini games that tribal Mudokons will use before you can pass through their passage they guard. If you try to walk past, they’ll lauch a rock at you from their slingshot and kill you immediately There’s also a Chanting power you can get later on that will transform Abe into the Divine Diety, called the Shrykull, and destroy all enemies and bombs in an area in devastating fashion.That’s the whole game’s basics in a nutshell. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s go on to review the gameplay, and graphics.
For an early Playstation game, the graphics were surprisingly good. Utilizing early 3D rendering for the environment on a 2D side-scroller was something that was thought of in the past, but wasn’t quite as good as this game. Still, there was usually a line or so where you can see the parts placed together, but that’s usually only when the scenes were transitioning in a short motion video. Honestly, the graphics were very well made for a Playstation first generation game, and I feel were ahead of their time. ‘Oddworld Inhabitants’ were an underground development company strictly made for the Oddworld games. Nobody knew who they were when ‘Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee’ was released in 1997, but was later acclaimed as a great company when ‘Abe’s Oddysee’ received multiple awards. ‘GT Interactive’ were the publishers of the game for release in North America, Australia, and Europe for the Playstation console, DOS and Microsoft Windows OS. ‘Softbank’ published the game for Japan under ‘Abe a GoGo’ (エイブ・ア・ゴーゴー Eibu A Gōgō), and for PC in 2001. Smooth control configurations made it a fun game to play, though it would take a little while to remember what button combinations would do what action. Puzzles and trap-ridden levels boosted this game’s replayability exponentially. Comedic stress relief is often found at intervals where many players would stop playing because of increased stress levels, causing the players to continue playing. To top it all off, Abe is a poet! All of his dialogue is a rhyming poem of a dark and twisted story of his fate. To seal the game’s deal, there are 2 endings. Depending on how many Mudokons you rescued determined how your ending would go. Either you would be saved by the Mudokons you fought to help, or you would die by their hand. Sometime’s you would hear them saying how you killed them if any Mudokons died by your hands.
So what’s the verdict? Let’s break it down:
Controls? Based on user interface and difficulty of execution and learning: 7.5
Graphics? Based on attractiveness, innovation, and transition: 8.75
Replayability? Let’s see… 7.75
Difficulty? Based on # of headaches, compare it to games of it’s time, add games of today: 9.25
Extra Features? Based on amount of extra content, secrets, and hidden-in-plain-sight undertones: 5.0
Storyboard? Based on immersiveness: 8.0
Final Verdict? 8 out of 10 shots!
Better pray you don’t work tomorrow, and get that hangover remedy ready!