Thursday, June 9, 2011

ODDWORLD ABE'S ODDYSEE



Oddworld Abe's Oddysee
Developer - Oddworld Inhabitants
Publisher - GT Interactive
Release date - September 19, 1997

Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee is a platform video game developed by Oddworld Inhabitants and published by GT Interactive. It was released in 1997 for the PlayStation video game console, DOS and Microsoft Windows in North America, Australia and Europe. The game was released under the title Abe a GoGo in Japan for the PlayStation by publisher SoftBank, with a PC version following in 2001. The Game Boy version of Abe's Oddysee, retitled as Oddworld Adventures, was developed by Saffire Corporation and published by GT Interactive in 1998.

Story

Abe's Oddysee begins with the eponymous protagonist as a prisoner in RuptureFarms, from which he narrates his story. He and many other Mudokons are slaves to Molluck the Glukkon, the owner of RuptureFarms: "the biggest meat-processing plant on Oddworld". Abe is a contented floor-waxer First Class and currently Employee of the Year.

At the time of the story, the ingredients of the corporation's three major "Tasty Treats" (Scrab Cakes, Paramite Pies, and Meech Munchies) are quickly running out, with the Meeches already extinct. While working late, Abe overhears Molluck's plan to use the Mudokon slaves as meat products called "Mudokon Pops!", which frightens Abe into escaping from the factory.

Characters

Abe's Oddysee includes only four named characters, and many anonymous slaves and guards. The protagonist of the game is Abe, a Mudokon slave worker born into captivity and ignorant of his people's rich history and culture. Abe is often described as a "klutz"; and his mouth is sewn shut, possibly to prevent his outcry.

During his adventure, Abe is joined by the Elum ("Mule" spelled backwards): a stubborn, loyal assistant. Abe and Elum were originally envisioned as beginning Abe's Oddysee together, living off the land until thrust into an industrial factory; but the developers determined that the story was stronger should Abe come from a factory existence to self-sustenance.

A mentor enters the story in Big Face, the shaman of the Mudokon people, who wears a large wooden mask from which his name is derived. He saves Abe from death and sets him to rescue his compatriots and face the trials of the Monsaic Lines, before freeing the eventual dozens of freed slaves.

The primary antagonist of the game is Molluck the Glukkon, the ruthless chief executive officer of the meat-packing factory titled RuptureFarms. Because Molluck's business empire is failing in decline of the wildlife whose meat he sells, Molluck decides to use his Mudokon slave population in his food products.

Gameplay

Abe's Oddysee is a two-dimensional platform game in which players take control of the character Abe, to travel across separate screens: solving puzzles, navigating obstacles, and avoiding enemies. Abe will die if attacked by an enemy, touched by an obstacle, dropped from too great a height, or even holding a grenade for too long, respawning at the last checkpoint. As well as jumping to navigate areas and crouching to roll under obstacles, Abe can break into a run to jump over large gaps or escape enemies, or tiptoe to avoid disturbing enemies, adding a limited stealth element to the game. Abe can also use throwable objects such as meat, rocks or grenades to bypass enemies or destroy obstacles, though grenades have a timer and, as explained, will blow up Abe if he holds one for too long.

Abe has the ability to telepathically control Sligs (a type of non-player character), but can only use this in safe areas. Flying orbs in certain areas also prevent Abe's telepathy by zapping him. Once Abe successfully possesses a Slig, Abe can use them to attack other enemies and activate mechanisms dangerous to himself, and can then destroy them. Abe's body is immobile and vulnerable whilst possessing someone else, whereas if his host is killed, control will return to Abe's body.

Along the way, the player will encounter other Mudokons that he can rescue. By holding down the GameSpeak button and pressing various commands, Abe can command them to follow him, stay put, and activate mechanisms, as well as praise or scold them. Sometimes Abe will have to go through certain procedures to persuade a certain Mudokon, such as responding to whistles. Mudokons can be rescued by safely leading them past traps and enemies to bird portals, which can be activated by chanting. If the player rescues at least 50 Mudokons during the course of the game, Abe survives the ending.

Throughout the game, Abe is attacked by Sligs, Scrabs, and Paramites. Sligs will shoot on sight, but cannot see through dark areas; Scrabs will attack anyone in their territory; whilst Paramites will attack in packs and become shy alone. Elums are bipedal creatures that Abe can ride and communicate with by GameSpeak, although they will be distracted by dripping honey. Late in the game, Abe gains the ability to transform into a demigod 'Shrykull', which can eviscerate all on-screen enemies. Abe can use this ability once after rescuing a certain amount of Mudokons at the same time.

Development

Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee began production in January 1995 under the working title of Soul Storm. After GT Interactive acquired publishing rights on September 12, 1996, the title was changed, first to Epic and eventually to Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee. The game had a private showing at E3 '96, but it was not until E3 '97 that journalists took note of the game and it was generally well received. The version of the game shown at E3 '97 was remarkably similar to the release version, and Abe's Oddysee had a reportedly smooth development cycle with few late changes.

The first footage creator Lorne Lanning saw of Abe's Oddysee involved a pack of meeches chasing Abe. He said he was happy with the animation at the time but when development was nearing completion, the studio discovered that there was not enough disk space to include all of the species featured in the game. The meeches were removed from the final game and identified in the story as extinct. Another sequence under time and budget constraints concerned the moon that Abe witnesses after his escape from the Stockyards. Lanning explained that the CG sequence that occurs between Abe escaping RuptureFarms and entering the Stockyards was originally accompanied by footage of a meteor shower creating the shape of Abe's handprint, in order to imply "greater forces that are really behind it, that are trying to send him symbols".  The budget for the game was $4 million.

Abe's Oddysee was the first major GT title that the UK development team, that had been taken in by GT following the acquisition of Warner Interactive, became involved with. The testing process of the game was unusual for GT Interactive as the British team did game play testing whilst normally American games were only tested in Europe for language and other compatibility issues. The soundtrack features mostly ambient music composed by Ellen Meijers. Because of the lack of testing, the final version of the game left behind a ledge clipping through the floor glitch, a glitch which allows Abe to jump backwards behind screens (which is also known as a 'Stop Turn'), and an invincibility glitch. All of these glitches can result in skipping of Paramonia and Scrabania, which was first discovered in June 2014 on the Microsoft Windows version of the game. Similar glitches are also found in Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus, but the invincibility death delay glitch could only work using a hidden cheat in the game. There are several other glitches that can cause Abe's Mudokons not to follow Abe and some glitches related to levers and riding platformers. Another type of invincibility glitch was found in the re-make. The ledge glitch and the stop turn glitches were fixed.

When Abe's Oddysee was in production, the developers found that a male executive at publisher GT Interactive tried to sabotage production because he didn't like the game being made. He took footage of the game to his boss, who loved the direction the game had, and chose to provide more funding at the expense of the executive that wanted to shut it down. Lanning later explained that in 1997 during Oddysee's production, men in the video game industry were seen as making toys, and not taken seriously. Men were "happy to make a living, but they weren’t necessarily going out and bragging about it Games began to be more about shooting and violence and blood, but Oddworld Inhabitants was "the antithesis to that" and said "we can make people feel better rather than just feel like they won.

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