Thursday, June 9, 2011

ODDWORLD ABE'S EXODDUS



Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus
Developer - Oddworld Inhabitants
Publisher - GT Interactive
Release date - November 1998

Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus is a platform video game developed by Oddworld Inhabitants and published by GT Interactive. It is a sequel to the video game Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee. It is considered a spin-off title in the Oddworld series, and not part of the main Oddworld Quintology.

Story

The events of Abe's Exoddus follow on immediately from the events of Abe's Oddysee, beginning with the protagonist standing in front of a cheering crowd having saved 99 of his brethren from RuptureFarms. Abe falls from the stage, and loses consciousness; whereupon three Mudokon spirits known as the Weirdos inform Abe that the Glukkons are using Mudokon slaves to exhume Mudokon bones at Necrum, the burial grounds of the ancient Mudokons. Abe and five friends (including an individual named Alf) cross the deserts of Oddworld, and infiltrate Necrum Mines, where Abe is separated from his friends.

Gameplay

Abe's Exoddus is a two-dimensional platform game, with many of its elements taken from the previous title, Abe's Oddysee. The game is split into screens; when the player moves into the edge of the screen, the environment is replaced, just like in the previous title. Most screens include various puzzles that must be solved through the use of Abe's unique abilities: "GameSpeak", possession, controlling mine cars, activation or deactivation of mines or levers, and rocks, grenades, or bones that can be picked up and used for different purposes. Normal abilities include creeping, walking, running, rolling, hoisting, jumping, and crouching, all of which have specific application and make up a necessary arsenal of moves.

The game features no user interface or heads-up display. Information is conveyed to the player through instructive screens that can be activated by the player character, or through scrolling messages in the background. Characters do not have hit points; instead, being attacked (such as being shot or mauled) generally causes instant death. However, the player has unlimited lives, and upon death will re-spawn at the last checkpoint they reached. Abe's Exoddus includes an option to quick save which allows the player to designate their own checkpoints, a feature which was not present in Abe's Oddysee due to programming conflicts and which attracted criticism of that title.

While the focus of the gameplay is surmounting screens, there is a secondary focus on rescuing enslaved Mudokons. GameSpeak is a pivotal ability in this respect; by pressing combinations of buttons, the player character will utter short phrases that can be used to control allied non-player characters—to pull extra levers, to follow the player character, to attack enemy characters in the current screen, or simply to wait.

Unlike the first game, Mudokons have emotional states and status ailments that affect how they respond to Abe. Mudokons may be angry, wired, depressed, sick, or blind, and each state must be dealt with differently by the player. Angry, wired or depressed characters can be consoled through specific GameSpeak commands. An "angry" Mudokon (red) will either repeatedly slap nearby Mudokons or work dangerous traps and can be told to "stop it" though Abe must tell them he is "sorry" to calm them down. If a "depressed" Mudokon (blue) witnesses too many deaths of other Mudokons or if he is slapped, he will start to hit himself in the head and eventually commit suicide. Abe again can prevent this by saying "stop it" and remove the ailment by telling them he's "sorry". Both angry and depressed Mudokons will not follow Abe if he tells them to. Clouds of laughing gas will turn Mudokons "wired" (lime), causing them to hyperactively run in Abe's direction and in some cases make it harder to get past enemies. They will only calm down when slapped but the slap will have no effect if done within the gas cloud. "Sick" Mudokons will not respond to any GameSpeak command whatsoever (aside from being slapped) and can only be cured with a special chant, obtained when Abe finds a helper character. Blind Mudokons (distinguished by pale skin and with their eyes sewn shut) will keep walking in the direction of Abe's voice, and must be told to "wait" before they walk into a hazard.

Possession is the player character's ability to take control of certain characters in the same screen by chanting. When a character is possessed, the player can use their abilities and weapons to find otherwise unreachable areas or levers, kill enemies, or as part of solving puzzles. However, when possessing a character, the player character remains immobile and vulnerable to attack. Possessing a slig in particular sometimes has to use voice commands to solve puzzles. This is done with an "Ackack!" which the game refers to as 'BS' "Ay!" which is referred to in the game as 'S'BS' and a laugh. The whistling passwods have been removed from the previous game.

The player can abandon possession of a creature at any time. Scrabs or Paramites will be released without harm when abandoned, while Industrialists (Sligs and Glukkons) will burst into pieces. If the player character has drunk Soulstorm Brew, they will be able to possess their own fart, which can then be used as a flying explosive and will detonate either when control is abandoned, or after a period of time.

Slave Mudokons (including blind ones) are rescued through Bird Portals. If the player character chants when in the same screen as a Bird Portal, the portal will activate, and any nearby Mudokon slaves will run through it, disappearing. Rescuing Mudokons is not usually crucial to progressing through the game; however, rescuing at least 150 is necessary to get the good ending, and many secret areas revolve around rescuing a few Mudokons in particularly complex situations. There is an alternative ending known as the 'Maximum Casualties' ending. If the player kills all 278 Mudokons, the player is awarded with invincibility.

The player can also gain the ability to turn into the Shrykull, a Mudokon supernatural demigod. Abe acquired this power at a late stage in Abe's Oddysee. The ability is earned by sending a certain number of Mudokons through a bird portal at once, denoted by a number circulating with the birds. With the ability, the player can enter a screen with enemies or explosives, chant to transform into the Shrykull, and vaporize all enemies and hazards on the screen. Afterward, the player character turns back into Mudokon form. Achieving the ability and doing such is necessary to get past certain points in the game. The player can only turn into the Shrykull once each time they earn the ability, so where and when they choose to use it is important.

Allies, enemies and wildlife

Allies in the game include Mudokons, humanoid species encountered as rescuable slaves and helpers. Normally, they will follow any GameSpeak-given order, but as described above, some Mudokons will be emotional and must be consoled by the player character first. The player character can also possess other creatures, in order to gain help with a task. For example, when possessing a Paramite, the player character can use GameSpeak to communicate with other Paramites, in much the same way as Mudokons. Scrabs also have minor abilities of GameSpeak, but are limited to shrilling, which activates the ability to attack.

Enemies in the game primarily consist of Sligs, semi-robotic creatures who will attempt to kill the player character on sight. Although most have mechanical legs and carry machine guns, some Sligs wear helicopter flight packs and launch grenades. Some Sligs choose to sleep without wearing mechanical legs, in which case they are vulnerable until they can obtain a set. Sligs can be possessed by the player character, who can then control the Slig and utilize its weapon. Sligs cannot see in dark shadows, which create natural hiding places for the player character. Sligs are often accompanied by Slogs, bipedal dog-like creatures that chase and attack the player character on sight. Slogs can be commanded if the player possesses a Slig, and can be ordered to attack and kill enemies. Sloggies are the puppy form of Slogs, and are slower but just as deadly if the player character encounters them. Slogs and Sloggies can be distracted with bones.

Other enemies include Greeters, robotic security guards originally designed for public speaking and advertising, until they began to attack their customers. Greeters have motion detectors, and if the player character or another Mudokon triggers a Greeter's detector, the Greeter will give chase and attempt to kill the victim with an electric charge.

Glukkons feature as the game's primary antagonists. Glukkons are tall-foreheaded, humanoid creatures who are ruthless, malevolent businessmen. They walk on their arms as their feet are located upon their chest, and as a result they are physically defenseless and rely on Sligs to protect and serve them. They are the owners and bosses of the industries Abe visits throughout the game, and the masters of the Mudokon and Slig slaves. Glukkons can be possessed by the player, and can be made to command Sligs through GameSpeak, either to kill other characters, or to pull levers and move platforms.

Animals and wildlife consist of the Scrabs and aforementioned Paramites, both carnivorous predators that are encountered in the burial vaults of Necrum. Scrabs are highly territorial and chase any other life form on sight. Should they encounter another Scrab, a short fight ensues in which one is killed. Paramites are pack hunters, and when the player encounters a single Paramite, the Paramite will flee and not attack the player unless they are cornered. When encountered in groups of two or more, Paramites will pursue and attack the player. Paramites can be distracted with chunks of meat.

Other wildlife include the Fleeches, worm-like creatures that live in the Oddworld underworld. When woken from sleep, they will chase the player character and any other Mudokons, attacking with their long tongues before swallowing the victim whole. Fleeches fear Scrabs and Paramites and try to avoid them whenever possible. Fleeches are the only enemy that cannot kill Abe in one hit and it is possible to run away from Fleeches while they are attacking before they hit Abe enough to kill him, They are also the only enemies that can navigate up platform edges. Slurgs, the lowest form of life on Oddworld, are often found alongside Fleeches, as when stepped on by the player character, Slurgs emit a noise that wakes Fleeches from sleep. They can also be eaten by possessed Paramites without disturbing any nearby sleeping Fleeches.

Development

Following the success of Abe's Oddysee, GT Interactive, the publishers of Abe's Oddysee and Abe's Exoddus, pushed for a sequel to be made by Christmas 1998. In order to meet this deadline, Abe's Exoddus was made to run on the same game engine as Abe's Oddysee, and was completed in nine months. Lorne Lanning, the director of both games, stated that "we killed ourselves getting Abe's Exoddus done in nine months. It was brutal.

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