Date: November, 2000 Author: Daniel Morris Source: PC Gamer, Issue 78, p. 22
Hel-lo! Are you ready for the first fully 3D Oddworld sequel?
At first glance, a hardcore PC gamer such as yourself might suspect Oddworld: Munch’s Oddysee to be just a little bit beneath his radar. After all, it is a platform-style adventure game about little cute yelping creatures. But if you dismissed this game right off hand, you’d be missing out on some good fun, and definitely missing some of the best graphics seen on the PC.
Most of the buzz around Munch’s Oddysee has centered around the PlayStation 2 version of the game, but it’s also in simultaneous co-development for the PC. The 3D world of Munch’s Oddysee is a playground for the retina. After you get a few eyefuls of the new and improved Oddworld, you might just swear off FPS environments for a while.
The game picks up the saga of Abe’s Oddysee and Abe’s Exoddus, in which the weird-looking Abe saved his species by leading them out of the clutches of an evil sorcerer who was harvesting them for their tears. This time around, it’s a different species of Oddworld inhabitant that faces extinction: the one-legged, aquatic Gabbits. An epidemic of “webs” has been reducing their numbers; we can glean from the brilliant cinematics that the webs are fishing nets belonging to humanoid fisherman, and the Gabbits are being hunted to extinction. Finally, one sole Gabbit remains, the adorably plucky Munch. It’s a safe bet that he’s going to have to bring his kind back from the brink.
Munch begins the game in the clutches of a nefarious pharmaceuticals company, and has to figure out the way to freedom. His compatriot in this quest is the irrepressible Abe, the Mudokon hero of the first two games. You play as either Munch or Abe through various stages of the game.
Munch’s Oddysee looks to be a smugly sarcastic satire on the current consumerism rage, and involves Abe and Munch’s effort to launch a consumer-goods factory. The sequence in which they open their factory is a hilarious update on the Oddworld system of Gamespeak, in which you can command non-player characters with simple and hilarious bits of dialogue like “Hel-lo!,” “Follow me,” and “Work.” Abe directs a posse of his faithful Mudokon brethren to fill different positions around the factory, churning huge pieces of machinery that produce the individual components of a song. Once the song is up and running, the factory will be profitable. Abe doesn’t steal the show, however. Munch opens up a whole new avenue of Oddworld exploration. A fish quite literally out of water, Munch makes use of a motorized scooter to get around, since he has to hop on one foot (tail?) otherwise. But when he gets back into water, he’s a whole different creature. Get ready to zip at monster speeds.
The best new feature is an innovative new camera system that seems to use pre-determined spline paths to provide a cinematic roving eye that never loses the action and always provides the most dramatic vantage point. Designer Lorne Lanning says, “We paid top dollar for it, but it makes all the difference,” and in demonstrating a tour of the factory, it was obvious that Munch’s Oddysee is going to be teaching third-person game developers a thing or two about presentation. Each camera move seems to be scripted, no matter where you take the character on-screen.
If you’ve been missing out on this series, now’s the time to get excited about the surreal and sumptuous Oddworld saga.
DEVELOPER: Oddworld Inhabitants
PERCENTAGE COMPLETE: 70%
RELEASE DATE: Fall 2001
IN A NUTSHELL: Abe and a new buddy, the aquatic Munch, take a full 3D spin around the beloved land of Oddworld. This updated Oddysee will feature top-line graphics and an innovative camera system that follows the action with a cinematographer’s keen eye.
WHAT’S SO SPECIAL?: Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee was one of the most highly-acclaimed games of recent years, and the graphics being brought to the sequel ensure that it will satisfy a whole new crop of gamers. Plus, its development team, the exciting Oddworld Inhabitants, are returning in full force to make sure the sequel is up to snuff.