Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus

Posted by Catalin Muresan.
First posted on 12 December 2007. Last updated on 10 August 2009.
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Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus
Abe can bypass a Slig using stealth.
Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus
Fleeches are both annoying and deadly.
Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus
Glukkons can order Sligs.
Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus
Greeters are easy to dispatch once Abe controls a Slig.
Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus
Saving blind Mudokons is a tedious job.

Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus is the second game in the Oddworld Quintology. Considered as an unofficial sequel by some fans, but described rather as a bonus game (thus not truly part of the series) by its developer, Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus is undoubtedly better than its predecessor in both depth and execution.

The story begins some time after the events of Oddworld: Abe's Odyssey. After finally destroying RuptureFarms and being saved from execution by his Mudokon friends whom he has managed to rescue, Abe is visited by 3 Mudokon spirits who inform him of a very sinister plan. Abe's former villains, the Glukkons, have discovered a new way to exploit those poor Mudokons: forcing them to dig up their ancestors bones in order to make a new type of drink called SoulStorm Brew. Abe must once again save the day, not only by shutting down the SoulStorm Brewery, but also by saving his Mudokon friends and even the spirits of his ancestors, who have been trapped by the Sligs in some kind of magic locks.

Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus uses the same engine as Oddworld: Abe's Odyssey. While this game incorporates essentially the same gameplay (which is still flawless and fun), its brings numerous improvements over its predecessor, especially in the gameplay element. The first visible improvement is the inclusion of a better save game system: it lets you save anywhere and it even has a Quiksave feature. The engine, while renders gorgeous 2D backgrounds over 3D characters, now supports a new emotion feature. With it, Mudokons are no longer as friendly as cooperative as in the previous game: if they are sad, you need to cheer them up; if they are angry, you need to apologize to them. Sometimes, Mudokons will inhale some sort of laughing gas, so you need to slap them out of it. You must also not forget about the blind Mudokons, which are hard to order around. All these commands and actions are carried out using the trademark Gamespeak feature.

Trying to stop you on your quest are numerous foes: Sligs (and flying Sligs!), Slogs (which now come in a couple of sizes), Scrabs, Paramites, Fleeches, and Greeters (which are some sort of security robots). While there are not many new enemies, the game compensates by letting you possess Paramites and Scrabs (which you cannot do in Oddworld: Abe's Odyssey). It also lets your possessed "pets" speak with other members of its species. Of special note are the Glukkons: they cannot attack Abe, since they have no hands. Possession of a Glukkon is crucial to solving some of the game's puzzles because the Glukkons can give orders to Sligs which Abe cannot do.

Gameplay, which is the strongest element of this game, involves a combination of action, adventure, stealth, and a lot of arcade sequences. The action sequence starts whenever you possess a Slig (since Abe cannot just shoot or jump on an enemy). It mostly involves shooting around other Sligs (or, sometimes, a wave of Slogs). The adventure sequence is all about knowing how to use the environment and Abe's neat abilities. Stealth comes handy when walking through shadows or passing by a sleeping Slig. The way Abe sneaks behind the enemy is truly fun. It is too bad that stealth is not used much in this game. Finally, the arcade sequence is the most intense and diverse: the skinny Abe must jump 'n' run, while he avoids from being eaten, slashed, crushed, and other ways of dying. It is remarkable how this game can be so diverse and long at the same time. I have never got bored once, even when this game is considerably longer than its predecessor. In short, Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus has some of the most well crafted gameplay I have ever seen.

Wait, there is more! The game also shines in its production value. The music is great. It enhances the mood and changes accordingly to what is on screen. If Abe gets chased by a hungry Scrab, for instance, the music changes to some kind of tribal theme. If Abe gets killed, the music ends with a drum roll, after which the game restarts from your last Quiksave. The sound is also a joy to the ear. Lorne Lanning, producer and director of all the games in the Oddworld series, has done a great job in voicing most of the games characters, including Abe and the Mudokons.

As a reward, you will be treated with great cut scenes if you manage to bypass the many obstacles in the game. These obstacles blend well with the gameplay and serve to advance the storyline, even when the plot is admittedly thin.

Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus is not the typical platform game. It plays more like Prince of Persia and Flashback: The Quest for Identity rather than Earthworm Jim. Because of that, this game is very hard. There are numerous ways that Abe can die. In some sequences, such as the timed sequences where you have to escape the area before it fills with poisonous gas, can seem nearly impossible. Timed puzzles have always been a nightmare for any adventure gamer. You also must pay attention to how many Mudokons you save along the way. The game ends differently depending on how many Mudokons you manage to save over the entire game. If you do not save at least 151 out of all 300 Mudokons in the game, you will not rewarded with the good ending. If you save less than 150 Mudokons, not only will you be treated to a bad ending, you will also be sent back to restart from Feeco Depot. Saving the Mudokons is not too difficult, but it is challenging. Saving all 300 Mudokons takes patience and skill, but it is worth it.

All in all, Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus is a superb game with superb gameplay. If you are looking for a game that has length, diversity, and tons of challenge, or if you are a avid fan of side-scrollers, then look no further and do not miss this gem of a game.

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