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Review: Abe's Oddysee

Lewis Dunn | 30 Jul 2009 21:00
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The following review was written by a member of The Escapist community. For more information on community reviews, please see this forum thread.

There are few games that can get a person like me misty eyed, but Abe's Oddysee is one of them. To say I have a strong fondness of this game is an understatement; to say I love it still falls short of the entire truth; in fact, any attempt to compose a sentence from the English language expressing how much I admire this game would still miss the mark entirely. When I think about the amazing land of Oddworld filled with Mudokons and Scrabs and... what's that? What's a Mudokon? Oh ho ho, sit down dear child, and listen, listen well, for I have a tale to tell...

Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee (and that is spelled correctly, by the way, it's 'odd'ysee - get it?) is set in the surreal Oddworld, a dystopia where industrial giants destroy the land and enslave the hapless race of Mudokons in order to inflate profit margins; all the while driving races to extinction and marring the pristine surroundings. Sound familiar? Well, that's where the similarity ends, because Mudokons are green alien-looking dudes with sewn lips and the ability to possess certain animals. The industrialists are Glukkons; tall, armless, cigar smokers who wear smart sleeveless suits and have sinister glowing red eyes. The foreboding atmosphere is buttressed by an even more disturbing and darkly comical plot.

Abe, Mudokon 'employee' of the month, is busy waxing the floor of the meat processing giant Rupture Farms when he overhears a board meeting being held by the meanest, most ruthless Glukkon in Oddworld: Molluck. Profits are down because of the steadily declining wildlife they use to create their foodstuffs and the shareholders are going nuts. Molluck calmly divulges his nefarious plan to the wary board members: to save his meat packing empire, he plans on processing Abe and all of his Mudokon pals into delicious meat snacks! Suddenly, Abe is spotted, and considers finding the fastest escape route out of Rupture Farms, but hesitates. He can't just save his own hide; there are 99 other Mudokons who need a savior too!

Abe's Oddysee is a 2D platformer, and a tough one at that. It's similar to the original Prince of Persia with arched jumps, fiendish traps and a duck-n-roll gameplay style; the difference is that Abe has no attacks of his own, and is in fact, completely unarmed. Well, he has one special move, which allows him to posses the Slig guards, hideous slug-like creatures armed with machine guns. This means that Abe relies primarily on stealth, slinking silently in the shadows, occasionally possessing a guard or two in order to solve devilishly hard and ingenious puzzles. A great example of this can be found early in the game; in order for Abe to proceed, he must navigate a series of corridors guarded by patrolling Sligs. How do you deal with such a conundrum? Easy, hide out of the line of machine gun fire, posses a single Slig guard and mow down all the other guards before running the possessed puppet into a meat grinder. Puzzle solved and hilarity ensured. Of course, the puzzles get increasingly more complex, and trying to complete levels can be harder than first perceived, especially when security eventually steps in and prevents you from possessing Sligs.

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