Abe’s Oddysee is an old platformer that provides better gaming experience than most of today’s titles. Abe was released in the golden era of platformer games, and it is still one of the best games in the genre.
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Developed by Oddworld Inhabitants, Abe’s Oddysee was not an ordinary platform game. Abe is waxing floors, he was voted Mudokon employee of the month and seems to be quite happy with his job. Until one day when this poor slave overheard his boss who plans to make Tasty Treats out of Abe and other Mudokons, 99 of them to be precise. There was no other way but to try and escape the RuptureFarms and that is how the adventure begins. While escaping his life of a slave, Abe had a vision about having to save all of Oddworld’s creatures from nasty Magog Cartel.
You take control of Abe, an ugly Mudokon that is somehow cute at the same time, and lead him through the meat-processing factory. He is rather unusual platform hero, with orange eyes and green skin, stitches over his mouth and sad voice that had to be used carefully. Abe possesses a limited number of words that you will have to use in order to save as many Mudokons while you’re trying to escape the fate of becoming a Tasty Treat. Hello, Follow Me and Wait have to be said at a precise time.
Say it too soon and you will get them all killed, tell them to follow you too late and they will get killed. The game arrived in that glorious age where we did not have any Achievements and Trophies to collect. Although saving Mudokons could be seen as an achievement, just completing the game was difficult enough. There is a certain number of Mudokons that can get killed, and you did not have an option to save at any time you want. No, Abe’s Oddysee was painfully challenging and added achievements were not needed.
Controlling Abe with keyboard was, and still is, almost impossible. You have to run then duck at the exact moment to roll under an obstacle, or you will get shot by heavy armed guard. Along with Glukons, you will encounter worse enemies such as Scrabs and Paramites. Good news is that some of these species hate each other and that will make your task easier. For instance, you can lure Fleeches to Scrabs and get rid of them easier.
Paramites were the worst for me, if cornered or found in a group, these predators get quite nasty. To avoid being eaten by Paramites you have to throw them chunks of meat, which you can find in hanging sacks and have to pick up. Of course, there is a limited amount of chunks and each has to throw at beasts at the precise timing. Then there are the Sligs, vicious guards of Oddworld’s industry. These can talk to a point and can be controlled by Abe’s psychic ability called Chanting. Quite useful when you have to get rid of multiple predators, but be careful as your possessed Slig will become a target as soon as he starts shooting at other evil ones.
Abe is also unique in its puzzles and challenging that I’ve never seen in any other platformer at the time. Instead of a straightforward gameplay, this title introduced puzzles that required tinkering and good coordination skills. Sneak, duck and run through screen, and if you get distracted for a single second you’re dead. Progressing through game has been done well, each new screen has slightly more difficult challenge then the previous one. Sarcasm and brutal jokes can be found throughout the journey, something I found amusing since this is a video game set in a surreal world where brutality follows you since the beginning.
Visually, Abe’s Oddysee features unique world and creatures. It was the first platformer that actually gave you a feeling of interacting with the world that surrounds you. Mudokons and their enemies all have interesting and distinct features, and you will fear predators from the moment they come into your sight. The world is blurry in some places and you will have to look at entire screen before making the first move. Animated sequences are shown after each level to reveal more of the plot and almost never you will get a hope after seeing them.
Sad voices of poor Mudokons will have you keep going on and retrying screens in an attempt to save them all. They’re ugly but appealing, helpless and need you to lead them to safety. You are their hero, don’t let them down.
Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee was an innovative platformer with elements of an adventure game that I played several times and never got bored of it. The game that changed my opinion on platformers by introducing an innovative Gamespeak and puzzles that were challenging to master. Just by playing Abe’s Oddysee for the first time, you will experience at least 25 hours of entertaining gameplay and that is certainly worth a try.
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