Previews – Oddworld: Munch’s Oddysee [2000]

Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee [Hosted by]

Date: 31/10/2000

Author: Nate


Oddworld Inhabitants defied all logic with the first two installments in the Oddworld series, by releasing games in which depressing scenes of creatures being herded and slaughtered like cattle reign supreme. The first two games, Abe’s Odyssey and Abe’s Exodus, were both surrounded by depression and sympathy for a pathetic looking race of creatures called Mudokons, and had a hero that was attempting to save his own skin rather then his Mudokon pals from destruction. And now, after a bit of system hopping, Munch’s Odyssey has wound up on Microsoft’s Xbox., thanks in part to Microsoft’s sweet talking and in part to Sony’s blunders. The new Odyssey looks to bring all the fun of the first two games and much much more by expanding the environments, adding new characters, improving control features, and increasing the genre spectrum.

In the world of Odd there has been a new addition to the family, albeit a crippled addition, but an addition nonetheless. The newest member of the Oddworld family goes by the name of Munch. Munch is a Gabbit, which is an amphibious race, and the last remaining Gabbit on the planet. The Gabbit’s have come to the most unfortunate demise of having their lungs (which are perfectly suited to the needs of the cigar smoking and cancer ridden Glukkons) removed and transplanted with the Glukkons’. As if Abe were not a character that looked pathetic enough for the Oddworld Inhabitants team, Abe will wheel Munch (through a portion of the game) in his trusty wheelchair thanks to a broken leg, which was undoubtedly delivered by the evil Glukkons. Munch now spends his days undergoing vigorous tests in a pharmaceutical laboratory, where Abe stumbles upon him rescues him, and forces him to aid in Abe’s quest to free the Mudokon mom, from the evil Sligs. Munch will not be without his own special abilities however, thanks to a group of Vykker scientists Munch is equipped with an interface port that allows him to control mechanical objects that can be found through out the game, basically the same way that Abe can control the minds of his adversaries.

The first two Oddworld games were more focused on Abe’s (the star character) stupidity and heroic inadequacy then anything else. In Exodus and Odyssey Abe was confined to a 2D world that would change every so often as the game progressed, in Munch’s Odyssey the player will have a free range of motion and the ability to move about in a lush 3D world “It will be more like visiting Oddworld than playing Oddworld,” says Lanning (the co-founder of Oddworld Inhabitants). Despite all of these changes in the game Abe and Munch will still stick to their roots, as the majority of the game will be spent sneaking around and tricking enemies into either killing themselves or unwittingly helping you through your quest. Throughout the game the player will take on the role of both Abe and Munch, (once the player has progressed far enough in through the game he/she will be able to choose between either Abe or Munch) both at different times and also at the same time, as Abe will be forced to wheel his crippled little buddy around in his wheelchair. Munch will not be contained to his wheelchair for the entire game however; he will also be able to swim around at mind-boggling speeds in different water locations. Abe will still be able to use his refined mind control skills to control sligs, and other various creatures in the game. Abe will also have a few added powers in the game, which he can attain from strategically placed vending machines, such as speed potions that will help him scoot around the map faster then a speeding bullet, jumping potions that allow him to jump tall buildings in a single bound, and, the weirdest of all, a potion that allows Abe to walk up walls and/or steep surfaces.

Not only will there be a new character and numerous new super-powers for our insignificant little friends, but there will also be many additions that will improve your overall gaming experience. A new camera that will have a full range of motion and will be completely controlled by the computer rather then the traditional camera, which is typically controlled by the player, and will regularly move about, while still keeping the player completely in focus. The camera is said to be comparable to that of Metal Gear Solid, as it gives exquisite details to important objects while still keeping the focus on the player.

Oddworld Inhabitants has also added a few new control features for the player to toy around with while playing the game as one of the two playable characters. One of the problems that seems to plague many of today’s action and adventure games which involve a 3D environment, much like that of Munch’s Odyssey, is that players consistently run into walls, as stupid as it sounds I’m sure we have all done it repeatedly throughout our gaming careers. The Oddworld team has now implemented a new control scheme that will reportedly help out with this problem by steering Abe and Munch clear of any walls automatically i.e. if the player is running along and is unable to change course the computer will turn the player so as not to be detained by the wall. Another new control feature is aimed to decrease the frustration of the player while searching for a switch or button while in the game. Instead of having to physically touch the button or switch, all you will have to do is approach it and it will automatically perform its function. Gamespeak, the language that is used by Abe and Munch to communicate with various NPC’s (None Playable Characters), is also receiving the once over by the developing team. Oddworld Inhabitants won’t divulge many secrets as to what the new gamespeak will entail, but it will give Abe and Munch a variety of different speech techniques, and flat-out different ways of communicating with the characters in the game.

However, if you are the rarest of gamers who doesn’t enjoy Munch’s Odyssey, do not fret, Oddworld Inhabitants has got many more worlds of odd games coming exclusively to the Xbox. One of these upcoming games is Squeeks Odyssey, which is the third title in what looks to be a long line of awesome if not fairly odd, Xbox games.