Gordo’s Gaming Blog

My adventures in the many worlds of gaming.

Posts Tagged ‘Oddworld Inhabitants

The Classics: Abe’s Exoddus

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AbeAs promised, this is the next installment in my ‘The Classics’ series. Abe’s Exoddus. It’s a game I spoke about briefly before, when talking about the revival of Oddworld Inhabitants (though it seems that they’re not, in fact working on an Oddworld game – Boo, hiss!). Anyway, I recently replayed through Abe’s Exoddus, with the intention of reviewing it.

I’ll start with the gameplay. Gameplay in this game is amazing. I’ve never played such a responsive, inventive and all-round fun platformer. It brings brilliant additions to the genre, combining the great elements of Abe’s Oddysee (the predecessor) and at the same time bringing in additions. Some of the great features I liked about the game were…

  • As I said before, the responsive gameplay.
  • Possession – it allowed you to play the game as all sorts of different characters and creatures.
  • GameSpeak, and saving Mudokons.
  • Secret levels!
  • Semi-related – the level design.
  • The introduction of Quicksave.
  • … to name but a few. It really is the most fun I’ve had playing a platformer. I guess the original 2D Mario Games were before my time, and I’ve never like 3D platformers, they always feel strange to me.

    Next up is graphics. Now, they say that things you enjoyed as a kid you will invariably enjoy as you grow older. Maybe that’s the case, because I still look at Oddworld in the Abe games and go ‘Wow!’. It truly looks amazing. It’s both desolate and industrial, and at the same time, satirical and funny (a difficult feat to pull off – many games that attempt satire come off as ‘preachy’, and many that try to be funny are, but only on a shallow and superficial level). Oddworld Inhabitants created a freaky and edgy world of greed and corruption, but underneath that horrible layer lies true heroism and good. Wait a minute, that’s not graphics! I know, but I truly believe that all that is represented through the graphics, and brililantly so. For a game 10 years old, it has aged beautifully. Note though that I played it on a CRT monitor, as I think it runs as 640×480. At that resolution on a CRT it does look great, but when that’s only like a quarter of your screen on an LCD it mighn’t look so good. If you do want to play on an LCD, it might be possible to get mods that allow higher resolution, if not, get yourself a pair of reading glasses!

    Sound – Oddworld sounds great! The atmospheric bird calls, voices, and most of all music – it’s probably the best dynamic music I’ve experienced. As the action intensifies, so does the music. It’s so slick it’s as though you’ve got a composer sitting inside your PC, causing the music to escalate as the excitement does. I guess the best testament to the quality of the sound in this game is that it passes through most of the game virtually unnoticed. By that I mean, it fits so seamlessly in with the graphics, gameplay and the whole rest of the game, it doesn’t stick out at all. It’s perfectly smooth. And voice acting, while a tad over-done in some places, is hilarious. And what game about greed isn’t complete without some good ol’ French-Canadian stereotypes?

    But I guess theAbe true genius of Exoddus is the atmosphere. Whilst the graphics and the sound represent it, it truly is the vision of the designers that make it. It is amazing, from the first time Abe says ‘Hey-low’ when you start up the game, to the mad cackling of ‘But… We had twize zee flaver!!!’ as you finish it, Oddworld is immersive, hilarious, serious and gritty throughout. And for that reason I trust that whatever Oddworld Inhabitants do next, I think it’ll succeed. The jump to 3D just doesn’t work for Oddworld, but maybe a totally new project will. This game, however, provokes serious thought about the state of our world at the moment, and I guess the themes will be relevent for hundreds of years. The themes of exploitation, capitalism, greed, heroism and valour ring true through every era of civilisation, and yet you can laugh at this game, really laugh out loud. It’s a game that’s one of a kind. When you see screenshots you see a 2D side-scroller, but when you play you find yourself in this amazing, crazy, illogical world that just makes sense. Lorne Lanning, I salute you.

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    Written by Gordo

    June 26, 2008 at 9:23 pm