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Oddworld Inhabitants
Microsoft
Adventure
1
11.15.01

Oddworld
Munch's Oddysee


The latest in the twisted Oddworld series comes to XBOX, oddity intact. What is Oddworld? The easiest way to describe it would be Rayman 2 on acid. You control both Abe and Munch in this multi-faceted quest, which includes conquering Vykker Labs, saving fuzzles, and saving Munch's species. Like the glowing yellow spheres you collected in Rayman to progress past checkpoints, you collect Spooce in Oddworld to progress. And, like the caged creatures you must save in Rayman, you must save the caged fuzzles in Oddworld. The main difference is, Oddworld has attitude and is a much deeper game. In Rayman, once you freed a creature, it was saved. In Oddworld, you free the creature, and then you are given a choice. You can either try to protect them from enemies, or use them as a virtual army against enemies. Trying to protect them usually doesn't work, as there are often more enemies than you can handle, but if you over use the fuzzles, your Quarma goes down. Yes, it's complicated, but really a deep and fun game once you get into it. If you thought the Rayman series required some thought and well placed moves, you get all that in Oddworld, plus the added strategy of saving yourself versus saving others. Bad quarma and a healthy Munch, or good quarma and a near-dead Munch? The choice is yours, and you will be making many choices such as these with different creatures throughout Oddworld.

Graphics

The models in Oddworld are about Dreamcast quality. However, the lighting, special effects, and sheer number of creatures onscreen could not be handled by the Dreamcast. In addition, the main menu and loading screens are very bland, and could have been much nicer. This isn't really a game to show off the XBOX's graphics, but it is a great one to show off its gameplay.

Sound

Oddworld supports Dolby Digital 5.1 sound. The sound effects and voices are all perfect for the game. However, the game uses the surround effect the least out of all of the launch titles, with only minor ambience coming from the surrounds most of the time - surround action is saved for major events. Also, it's notable that the center channel seems to be under-used, especially in the game's cinematics. On another note, you cannot use your own custom ripped soundtracks with Oddworld.

Gameplay

Excellent, responsive gameplay. I was right at home with Abe and Munch in about 30 seconds. I found the game to have even better control than Rayman 2, which is saying a lot. One oddity (couldn't resist) I found is that often when a 2nd controller is plugged in, if another player hits the buttons on the 2nd controller the game gives control over to the 2nd controller, but it seems impossible to switch back to the first controller without unplugging controllers or restarting the game.

Bottom Line:

If you like Adventure games, or Platformers, you should take a look at Oddworld. If you like Rayman, I'd go out and buy Oddworld right now. However, if you want to buy something just to impress your friends with, steer clear of Oddworld, as the in-game graphics and sound aren't revolutionary.

-Pete Calderwood




7.5
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