PSU Champions - Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee
- Posted November 11th, 2009 at 09:27 EDT by Michael Harradence
After a lengthy hiatus, PSU Champions makes a triumphant return to the scene as we scrutinize Oddworld Inhabitants classic late 90s platformer, Abe’s Oddysee. Having recently been pushed through the digital distribution door on PSN, this quirky Psone outing remains one of the most innovative and rewarding titles from the distant day’s of Sony’s grey box, and one we’d pay good money for to see receive a next-generation makeover.
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Game: Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee
Developer: Oddworld Inhabitants
Platform: Sony PlayStation (also available on PC and Gameboy Color)
Release date: September 19, 1997
Synopsis of original:
Opening up on a meat processing plant on Oddworld named RuptureFarms, Abe’s Oddysee focuses on the exploits of the heroic, albeit slightly clumsy titular protagonist as he attempts to liberate his fellow slaved Mudokon’s from the clutches of unscrupulous RuptureFarms bigwig, Molluck the Glukkon. Turns out that profits haven’t been so rosy for Molluck’s company as of late, and, in a desperate move to stimulate his fledging business, decides to introduce a brand new tasty treat on the menu – Mudokon Pops. Faced with meeting his maker at the hands of meat grinder alongside his fellow companions, Abe embarks on a quest to rescue his blissfully ignorant buddies and subvert Molluck’s dastardly doings once and for all.
What makes the original so great?
While at its core a 2D platformer, Abe’s Oddysee set itself apart from its contemporaries thanks to its innovative gameplay mechanics and eye-popping aesthetics. Chief among the unique touches at player’s disposal includes the ability to have Abe perform a bizarre chant, allowing him to possess enemies (known as Sligs) and utilize them in order to circumvent various obstacles, as well using chunks of meat to distract ravenous Slugs. Abe can also rack up allies by appeasing to native Mudokons by mimicking whistle patterns using the GameSpeak functionality. As such, the game maintains a decidedly strategic approach to traditional platforming, deviating considerably from the traditional platform hopping and enemy stomping seen in other entries in the genre. It’s a far more slower paced, methodical experience, which ultimately yields a great sense of satisfaction upon accomplishing each segment, especially as the game itself is one tough nut to crack. Elsewhere, Abe’s Oddysee boasts a stunning, evocative soundtrack comprised of mostly ambient works by esteemed composer Ellen Meijers, a quirky, compelling narrative and ample replay value. Credit must also be directed at Abe himself, who remains unequivocally one of the most memorable videogame protagonists to grace our screens.
What would a PS3 remake add?
One of the most emphatic changes that a PlayStation 3 makeover could conceivably offer is the transition to 3D, following in the footsteps of previous Oddworld entries such as Munch’s Oddysee for Xbox. By transporting Abe and chums in to a sprawling, fully interactive environment, gameplay inherently becomes far less restricted, affording a greater sense of exploration. This combined with Abe’s already diverse, unique range of abilities should give developer Oddworld Inhabitants a wealth of options for how players must traverse through RuptureFarms and its surrounding environment. Visually we could expect some sumptuous locales, with Oddworld’s moody, downtrodden landscapes accentuated by some the application of next-generation staples such as HDR lightning, jaw-dropping particle effects and eye watering draw distance. Elsewhere, we'd also like to see some areas expanded upon, fresh locations to explore, plus some form of online functionality, such as the introduction of a co-op mode where our hero is aided in his quest by a partner character (a fellow Mudokon perhaps?)
So PSU readers, did you enjoy Abe's Oddysee? If you haven't tried it yet, we seriously recommend downloading the PSN re-release asap. For those of you who have played the game, what would you personally want to see from a PS3 remake? Be sure to let us know in the comments section below.