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Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee

Oddworld Inhabitants





How odd do you want your world to be? Microsoft wants it to be very odd indeed.

We have journeyed into the Oddworld twice before, with each installment being a memorable one. We have gotten to play only one game out of the beloved Oddworld Quintology (Abe's Exodus doesn't count for some reason), and now we get the highly anticipated second coming. Munch's Oddysee was first scheduled for the PS2 and was going to be one of its premiere titles, until that fateful day that everything changed.

Oddworld was announced at the start of the Xbox campaign (boy was that a long time ago) that it would be an exclusive title. Not only did this make a whole bunch of PS2 owners mad, it also brought a strong following to Microsoft's little black box.

The story goes a little like this… A lonely Gabbit named Munch is searching for more Gabbits like himself, since his species is on the endangered list. He has absolutely no luck until one day when one of the Gabbits sang back. But when he goes to check it out, he gets caught in a trap. Along comes Abe wanting to know about his brothers, and this is where the two paths cross as he finds and rescues Munch from the Lab.

Now the hunt is on. Although the story is not the best one in the world, it passes for this game, and is fairly original. After the introduction, there is an annoying tutorial stage that actually turns out to be very helpful.

The controls are pretty good except for the movement of Abe and Munch. After a while you get used to the controls, but the game doesn't exactly lighten up on you. I know what you may be thinking, and no this problem is not due to the Xbox controller; it is because of the tight areas Abe and Munch have to traverse. They have to go past mountains and right in front of rivers and a lot of tight areas. You will notice this part of the control in the first level when you have to get all of the Spooce shrubs. Running up a narrow area and falling due to control issues can spoil some of the fun.

Oddworld utilizes Game Speak technology, which is how players control the Mudokons. The Xbox button layout seems designed for the Game Speak. Each button represents a different command that ranges from attack to just a simple greeting. After some (but not much) adjustment you get used to the controls the game runs pretty smooth.

As you progress through the game, Abe can get a whole bunch of your friendly Mudokons to follow him, and you need them to get through many places and they help you chant. You can do a lot of things to those poor creatures: make them work, throw them or simply have them wait wherever you want. While seeming like cannon fodder, they are necessary to advance through the game. They run with you and they do what ever you say (with an understandable amount of complaining).

Abe is not the only person that can get things to follow him though the game. Munch has similar abilities as well. Being wheelchair bound, he need help attacking and many other things.

Both Abe and Munch have special abilities that they use to deceive the enemies or kill them. Abe can control the Mudokons and have them attack. Munch has the added ability to electrocute things and control the machinery by using the device implanted on his head (bad lab experience). He can kill enemies or control them; it's your choice.

Gameplay is not the main thing people see when they plop there game into the Xbox. From the opening video onward the graphics are absolutely stunning and show absolutely no lag at all. The characters and sprawling environments are painstakingly rendered to the best caliber.

The character animations are also well done. Aside from the disgusting ass scratching and farting, all characters move very fluidly. The game looks like a graphical showcase.

One of the few factors that hurt the game is the dialog. All of the characters have something to say and if you don't like the way they are saying it, too bad; because you cant turn it off. The bigger issue though is the dialogue is hard to understand. It's possible to miss important information because of this. The game is 100% voiced, but the addition of subtitles would have been welcome.

The music doesn't stand out either. It tends really annoying after a while, and at some points there is missing entirely, leaving you to hear nothing but the sound of the Mudokons and you. Some of the tracks are good, but it doesn't have enough depth to save it.

Adam Westenberger
Has seen one too many Mudokons scratching their butts, thank you.

Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee: The Scores













The Final Word:  After all the hype surrounding this game, I would have expected better. The dialogue and music bring the game down. The controls could use some work around the edges, but is made up for in the Game Speak. The graphics are very good and the story is original. This game is worth a rental (on a long weekend) or a purchase if you like this sort of thing.

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