Saturn Power: Oddworld [1997]

Date: June 1997

Author: James Price

Source: Saturn Power, Issue 1, p. 33

Developer  Oddworld Inhabitants    Release Date  August

Players  One     Sega ☎ (0181) 995 3399



An updated version of the classic Flashback? Possibly, and no bad thing if it was.

Oddworld: Epic 1 — Abe’s Oddssey (to name it in full) is, superficially, a platform game with adventuring overtones. It would be forgivable were people to make an inevitable connection with Delphine’s aging Flashback — still one of the best 2D platform adventures on any format — but Oddssey is set to offer far more.

Although viewed from a 2D perspective, Oddworld: Epic 1 — there are to be four Epics in all, apparently — dips its toes in the cool waters of artificial intelligence. It attempts to create environments, where cause and effect mean if you shoot an unsilenced gun, individuals investigate. Similarly, character interaction can throw up a number of surprises, such as a seemingly friendly fellow leading you into a life-threatening trap. To complement such occurrence, FMV should slip you from stage left at times, creating atmosphere and that supposedly all-important feel that games developers crave.

As far as the SP team can remember, Abe — the star attraction; this is his oddssey, see? — might just be the first video game character able to ‘possess’ others. He’s also capable of learning a wealth of talents, with these allowing progression into previously ‘locked’ areas (á la Zelda, Story of Thor and so on). Oh, he farts too. No, really.

is currently down for an August release. That Sega went to the trouble of acquiring the Saturn rights from GT goes some way towards revealing their enthusiasm about the project. And hell, they know, don’t they?

The birth of a game

Sherry McKenna and long-time partner Lorne lanning were involved in the development of the Universal Studios Theme Park’s incredible Back To The Future ride. To move off such high-profile projects and into the murky world of PC and console development, one must have a few definite ideas and, dare I say, thoughts on innovative game development. It is, after all, a crowded market that you and I, the punter, donate so much cash towards. Oddworld‘s coders and designers think they have something special. Even at this early stage, it’s not hard to see why.