GamePro: Oddworld Stranger [2005]

Date: January 2005

Author: Vicious Sid

Source: GamePro, Issue 196, p. 58

SNEAK PREVIEWS

Oddworld Stranger

Compared to its predecessors, Oddworld Stranger is shaping up to be, well, an oddity. First off, it’s an action game with a unique Western slant—a far cry from the mix of puzzle solving and adventure found in previous entries. Second, unlike its disappointing predecessor, Munch’s Oddysee, Stranger looks like it will make a serious splash on the Xbox.

Odd Job

You’ll star as the Stranger, a mysterious bounty hunter in the “Man With No Name” tradition. Judging by the preview version, the series hasn’t lost its quirky sense of humor—it was possible to nudge and pester the townsfolk, triggering a barrage of hilarious insults. The GameSpeak button, a staple of Oddworld games, should allow for even more interaction with the game’s eccentric cast.

The most noticeable feature of Stranger is that it’s played from both first- and third-person viewpoints. Though the preview version wasn’t playable, the first-person controls look to follow closely in the footsteps of genre favorites like Halo, an awesome bit of news for FPS freaks. The third-person mode, on the other hand, grants the Stranger incredible speed—he can literally smash through enemy ranks like a battering ram.

Stranger with Candy

Stranger’s other notable feature is its use of so-called Live Ammo, collected throughout the game in the form of small roaming critters. In the demo, the designers demonstrated some particularly unique uses for Live Ammo: The smack-talking Chippunk lures guards away from their posts, while the Skunk Bomb makes enemies helplessly blow chunks. For FPS traditionalists, there are Live Ammo types that mimic standard machine guns, rockets, and mines. Better yet, all ammo types are upgradeable—the souped up Skunk Bomb, for instance, triggers a massive vacuum implosion that can suck enemies into booby traps. The Stranger’s dual-crossbow lets players mix and match ammo types for additional mayhem.

Because Stranger was designed solely with the Xbox in mind, the developers didn’t have to cut any graphical corners. The preview’s animation boasted some particularly fabulous detail, such as when the Stranger let loose with his distinctive, loping sprint. There were gorgeous environmental effects, too, like lush 3D foliage and shimmering, reflective water. If the game plays half as good as it looks, action fans will be no stranger to this Stranger.

. First look

. Developed by Oddworld Inhabitants

. Published by EA Games

. Target release date: January