Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus

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Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus
Oddworld - Abe's Exoddus Coverart.png
Developer(s) Oddworld Inhabitants
Digital Dialect (PC port)
Publisher(s) GT Interactive Software
Riverhillsoft (Japan)
Sony Computer Entertainment (PS One Classics reissue)
Director(s) Lorne Lanning
Producer(s) Frank Simon
Designer(s) Paul O'Connor
Programmer(s) Todd Johnson
Artist(s) Robert Brown
Writer(s) Lorne Lanning
Chris Ulm
Composer(s) Ellen Meijers-Gabriel
Series The Oddworld Quintology
Platform(s) PlayStation, Windows, Game Boy Color
Release
Genre(s) Cinematic platformer
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer (PlayStation version only)

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. It was released in 1998 for the PlayStation video game console and Microsoft Windows for North America, Europe and Australia,[3] and in 1999 for the PlayStation in Japan titled as Abe '99 (エイブ99, Eibu Nainti Nain).[4] It was re-released on the PlayStation Network on October 22, 2009.[5]

The game continues the story of Abe, charting his efforts to save his fellow Mudokons from another plot by the Glukkons to exploit them. Abe discovers that the Glukkons are enslaving Mudokons, this time to produce a drink called Soulstorm Brew, which uses Mudokon bones and tears as its ingredients. The player assumes the role of Abe, embarking on a quest to halt production of SoulStorm Brew.

The game was released to similar critical acclaim as the first title. Reviews praised the game's ability to allow the player to quick save anywhere they liked, a feature that was not present in Abe's Oddysee, while noting that it was very similar to that title.[6] The game won multiple awards upon release.[7]

On March 14, 2016, it was announced that Oddworld Inhabitants are working on a follow-up to Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty! (a 2014 Abe's Oddysee remake) titled Oddworld: Soulstorm. The game page confirms that this title is inspired by Abe's Exoddus and that the new game is going to be a re-tale of the story that was told there.[8]

Gameplay[edit]

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.[9]

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,or simply to wait.

Abe and some Mudokons sneak past a sleeping Slig.

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 and obstacles. 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 passwords 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.[9]

Allies, enemies and wildlife[edit]

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

Story[edit]

Abe's friends retaliating against him, before they get sick.

"His scarred hand branded on moon's odd face, this hero may free the Mudokon race. With skin of blue and spirit guides too, only he can save our bones from brew. But shall he fall to Glukkon yoke, Mudokon nation... BE DOOMED TO CROAK."

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.[10] 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.

Abe explores the mines and is reunited with his friends; but they drink an excess of an Industrial drink called Soulstorm Brew and become sick from doing so. Abe then discovers that Soulstorm Brew contains Mudokon bones. At this, Abe overloads the boilers that power Necrum Mines, only just escaping the resulting explosion. Thereafter Abe navigates the jungles and Mudokon burial vaults of Necrum, liberating trapped Mudokon spirits, until he finds the three Weirdos who told him about Necrum. They ask him to shut down Soulstorm Brewery, which is also exploiting Mudokon slaves, and brand a scar across his chest, which gives Abe the power to heal Mudokons sick from Brew. Having restored his friends, Abe proceeds to the FeeCo Depot, a large railway station and transshipment/storage area, where he learns that the entrance to Soulstorm Brewery has been sealed by three high-ranking Glukkons. To unseal the entrance, Abe infiltrates a bone processing plant named Bonewerkz, the Slig Barracks, and the FeeCo Executive Office. By possessing all three Glukkon owners in turn, Abe orders the Slig guards to open the main gate of Soulstorm Brewery, and uses a train from the FeeCo Depot to get there. As Abe explores Soulstorm Brewery, he learns that the second ingredient of Soulstorm Brew is Mudokon tears, and that the Glukkons obtain the tears by attaching Mudokon slaves to machines that electrocute them repeatedly. Abe also discovers that he can destroy the brewery by overloading its main boiler and causing an explosion. What happens next depends on how many Mudokons Abe has saved throughout the game.

The destruction of Soulstorm Brewery.
  • If 150 or more Mudokons are rescued, Abe succeeds in destroying Soulstorm Brewery, and escapes to be greeted by the Mudokons he saved, who then use their skills to build a rehabilitation center for Brew addicts named "Alf's Rehab & Tea". Abe is called a "terrorist mastermind" by the Magog Cartel, and a hero by his fellow Mudokons who resolve to find other imprisoned Mudokons (this ending is cut short by a "newscaster" Slig who reports in on the rumor of Abe's destruction of Soulstorm Brewery, reminding the viewers to "stay tuned for more on this story as it develops").[11]
  • Should the player save less than 150 Mudokons, they will instead receive the Bad Ending. Abe is ganged up on by his friends for not helping the slaves, and he is knocked unconscious. He is attached to a machine used by the brewery for extracting tears, and is killed by an overload of electricity from the machine.[12]

In addition to the endings, if the player saves all 300 Mudokons, they are rewarded with a screen that says "Coming in 2000, Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee". This screen is followed by another that gives supposed hints to the upcoming release including Abe's long lost mother. This information, however, is presumed to be a part of the original story that was cut since there is no mention of Abe's mother in Munch's Oddysee at all. Finally an art gallery showing concept and production art for Abe's Exoddus will begin playing.[citation needed]

If the player kills every Mudokon, except those that cannot be reached or must be rescued to proceed through the game, they will be returned to the FeeCo Depot with permanent invincibility. This was prevented by a bug in the PC version of the game.[citation needed]

Development[edit]

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."[9]

Reception[edit]

Review scores
Publication Score
GameSpot 9.4 of 10
IGN 7.8 of 10
PC Zone 7.0 of 10
Compilations of multiple reviews
GameRankings 90.42% (based on 12 reviews)
Metacritic 88/100 (based on 13 reviews)

Abe's Exoddus, like Abe's Oddysee, received mostly positive reviews upon its release. GameSpot commented on the game's similarity to the previous title, stating "though the Exoddus gameplay is essentially more of the same, it's more of a good thing".[6] PC Zone praised the game's cut-scenes, stating that "the cut-scenes are brilliantly created (especially in the sound department)".[13] IGN gave particular praise to the game's graphics: "The 3D characters are better looking than the previous iteration, and more animated backgrounds and moving parts liven up the slightly old formula".[14]

Criticism varied between reviews. GameSpot's sole criticism was of the game's two-player mode, stating that "the waiting game just doesn't parallel the egocentric fun of keeping this title to yourself".[6] PC Zone focused on the game's difficulty, stating that "it's too f**king hard...You sometimes start to dread moving into a (obviously harder) new area of the game".[13] IGN criticised trial and error gameplay, stating that "the same trial-and-error scheme is frustrating as a thorn in your heel. Several areas simply leave you stranded, and you have to start over."[14]

Despite these criticisms, the game won many awards, including the E3 Showstopper award from GamePro in 1998, the E3 Best of Show Winners List, the Best Action/Adventure PSX Game award from Next Level Holiday Guide in 1999, and the 1998 Best PSX Adventure Game award from Game Revolution in 1999.[7]

In order to further market the game Developer Oddworld Inhabitants submitted a 15-minute short film of looped cinematics for the 'Best Animated Short Film' category of the 71st Academy Awards. The game's cinematics reportedly cost around $2 million to develop, about half of the game's total development budget.[15] Though the film failed to meet the shortlist CEO of Oddworld Sherry McKenna stated the pioneering move was done in order to increase the video game industry's reputation in the animation field:

Game Boy Color version[edit]

The Game Boy Color port was released as Oddworld Adventures 2; it was developed by Saffire Corporation and published by GT Interactive in November 1999. The game is a significantly cut-down version of Abe's Exoddus, with only a few similar levels and an absence of plot.[16]

Remake[edit]

On March 14, 2016 it was announced via a press-release that a new game titled Oddworld: Soulstorm is in development in conjunction with Frima Studio and is slated to be released later in 2017.[17] The game has been described by Oddworld Inhabitants as "a complete story retake [of Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus] inspired by our original tale."[18]

Before the announcement, it was announced in April 2015 that a remake of Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus was in the planning stages. Lanning said that Exoddus's success would contribute significantly to future Oddworld titles, and would be marketed more broadly than Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty!.[19] During the development of Oddworld: Soulstorm, Oddworld Inhabitants have started an alternate reality game in which they encourage fans to look for clues within files and websites they upload.[18]

In September 2016 at the EGX Expo, Oddworld Inhabitants game designer Matt Glanville said that Oddworld: Soulstorm is going to be a bigger version of Abe's Exoddus; featuring both areas and game mechanics from Exoddus as well as entirely new areas. The Quarma system from Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee will return and the path that the player takes will depend on the storyline. He also stated that Oddworld: Soulstorm is a sequel to Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty and will be what Abe's Exoddus should have been.[20]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Game Guide". Computer Trade Weekly. No. 715. United Kingdom. 23 November 1998. p. 26. 
  2. ^ Mike Kebby (June 2, 2010). "‘Heads-Up’ PlayStation Store Update (2 June 2010)". PlayStation Network. Retrieved June 3, 2010. 
  3. ^ "Oddworld Fact Sheet". Oddworld Inhabitants. 2006. Retrieved October 6, 2008. 
  4. ^ "Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus - Related Games". GameSpot UK. Retrieved 2009-10-22. 
  5. ^ Lorne Lanning (October 22, 2009). "Coming to PSN this Week: Oddworld PSone Classics". PlayStation.blog. Retrieved October 22, 2009. 
  6. ^ a b c Lauren Fielder (November 25, 1998). "GameSpot review of Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus". GameSpot UK. Retrieved August 4, 2008. 
  7. ^ a b "Awards List for Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus". Oddworld Inhabitants. Retrieved September 5, 2008. 
  8. ^ http://www.oddworld.com/soulstorm/
  9. ^ a b c David Craddock (December 29, 2008). "GOG.com Editorial of Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus". GOG.com. Archived from the original on January 22, 2014. Retrieved November 17, 2016. 
  10. ^ "Overview of Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee". Oddworld Inhabitants. Retrieved September 5, 2008. 
  11. ^ Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus "Good Ending" FMV movie.
  12. ^ Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus "Bad Ending" FMV movie.
  13. ^ a b "PC Zone review of Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus on PC". CVG. August 13, 2001. Retrieved August 6, 2008. 
  14. ^ a b "IGN review of Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus". IGN. November 30, 1998. Retrieved August 6, 2008. 
  15. ^ a b Kushner, David (May 1999). "Land of the Loops". SPIN. 15 (5): 73. ISSN 0886-3032. 
  16. ^ Jason White. "Oddworld Adventures 2". Allgame. Retrieved October 29, 2006. 
  17. ^ Kamen, Matt (March 14, 2016). "Oddworld returns in 2017 with mysterious 'Soulstorm'". Wired. Retrieved 15 January 2017. 
  18. ^ a b Devore, Jordan (January 27, 2017). "First Oddworld: Soulstorm image surfaces". Destructoid. Retrieved January 30, 2017. 
  19. ^ Brenna Hillier (April 14, 2015). "Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus remake in the works". VG247. Retrieved April 14, 2015. 
  20. ^ "The Past and Future of Oddworld". EGX via YouTube. September 23, 2016. Retrieved September 24, 2016. 

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