Released in 1997, at a time when most games were moving towards bullet ridden, explosion plastered action, Abe’s Odyssey instead presented itself as the thinking gamer’s game. I was first introduced to Abe the loveable Mudoken around this time at the age of about 10 or 11 after borrowing Abe’s Odyssey from a friend of my brother. As was so often the case in those days, games were hard to come by and I would play literally anything that you put in front of me. There was however a quality to Abe and his aptly named Oddworld that stuck with me and after finishing the game twice over in quick succession (more on that later), Abe I parted ways as I gave the borrowed game back and abandoned him to the trove of pleasant memories.
However our paths would realign about a month ago when I stumbled across both Abe’s Odyssey and its sequel Abe’s Exodus for a R45 (45 rand) steal as part of PSN’s May Madness deal. And so it was with childhood glee I downloaded Abe and dived once more into his awesome and ridiculous tale. My initial reaction to the game was one of frustration. Abe’s movements are slow to react and every button push has to be carefully thought out lest you send him careening into landmines, swinging traps or plummeting to his doom.
Playing as the titular Abe, it’s your goal to traverse the various lands of Oddworld in your quest to save your Mudoken kin from being turned into food at the hands of their greedy Glukken overlords. Abe is armed with very little and must mostly rely on his very limited physical abilities to run, jump and roll his way through the game’s various puzzles. He also has at his disposal a spiritual Mudoken chant that allows Abe to possess his enemies and play them against each other.
Be warned when playing Abe’s Odyssey you are likely to die, a lot. The game doesn’t provide the same level of hand holding as most modern games but it does become easier as you progress and begin to understand the ways in which Abe’s narrow skillset combines to solve the game’s obstacles and puzzles. The game also likes to throw an extra curveball at you by having Abe fail his mission in the games closing sequence if you don’t manage to save enough of his Mudoken on your play through. The only real way to overcome this is to play again from the beginning and make more of an effort at getting the Mudokens to safety.
For those completionists and masochistic players out there, the game also presents a number of hidden areas with more Mudokens to be rescued through even more brain snappingly difficult puzzles. The only reward for doing so however is a rather useless cinematic viewer, but having slaved through the game at least twice to unlock this achievement, you’re probably familiar enough with the cinematics. The game is however getting a next gen re-release with Oddworld New ‘n’ Tasty, which I was rather put out to learn after slaving to complete it. This means that those trophy fiends out there will be able get some silverware to show for their troubles after its release.
Abe’s Odysee is a household name for any avid gamer. If you haven’t heard of Abe before, then you probably haven’t been paying attention. Comment and let us know you’re own fond memories of the charming green goon.