Electronic Gaming Monthly: Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee [1997]

Date: Fall 1997

Source: 1998 Video Game Buyer's Guide, p. 106

PREVIEWS

Publisher/Developer
GT Interactive
Oddworld Inhabitants

Players/Genre
1
Action/Puzzle

Release
Now

Web Address: http://www.gtgames.com

Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee

It’s An Oddworld After All

It’s quite possible that there has never been a more aptly named game in all of video game history than Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee. Why? You have Abe, the hero, in a very odd world on a very odd odyssey.

Apt name or not, Abe’s Oddysee has all the makings of a classic title: weel-developed, great-looking main character, an interesting story line with history and depth, and finally a cast of cool enemies and allies.

The gameplay is similar to Flashback, but those similarities are only skin deep. Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee is the first in what GT Interactive calls a new genre of game, the A.L.I.V.E. system. A.L.I.V.E. stands for Aware Lifeforms In Virtual Entertainment. The game, GT says, plays like a movie. There are climactic points and calm points and the music, character moods and overall feelings match these moments, all in realtime.

For instance, if Abe’s just walking along minding his own business, the mood is low key. But if an enemy pops out, a short burst of music and a growl announces the beginning of what’s sure to be an action-packed sequence. Remember that Abe’s Oddysee is a puzzle game first and foremost, so your brains are what’ll be having a workout, not your trigger finger (although there’s a fair amount of blood spilling on the ground at times).

There are plenty of levels, each progressively more difficult than the next. But that’s OK. Offworld Entertainment encourages dying in the game, since you have unlimited lives. Try it, and if you die, try again until you solve that particular puzzle. The first few levels even provide a tutorial for first-time Oddworld residents.

To add to the interactiveness of the title, players can even make Abe talk to friends and enemies, and they respond in one way or another. Not only is talking an option, so is whistling, growling and farting (yes, farting).

Abe’s Oddysee’s graphics are fully rendered and highly stylized. Sure, the industrial-looking zones certainly look industrial and the forests look like forests, but everything in the game has an Oddworld feel. Once you see this, you’ll understand what we mean.

Offworld Entertainment’s founders, Sherry McKenna and Lorne Lanning, both have backgrounds in computer-generated imagery and animation and have worked with feature films and TV productions (among many other things). It’s easy to see (after playing the game) that neither of them, nor the entire Abe’s team, are running short on imagination and vision.