Electronic Theatre In-depth Review: Munch’s Odyssey

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Rating: 5.0/5 (2 votes cast)

munch.JPG (1587 bytes)Having been a big fan of the Oddworld series from the very beginning, I felt a little dismayed upon discovering that my beloved Abe had abandoned his PlayStation roots and by the might of Microsoft the third title in the series had become an Xbox exclusive. Obviously, my collection would never be complete without Munch’s Odyssey and so, two years after the original release, I have finally been granted with the resources need to acquire the much needed title, and see if my rather high expectations were to be satisfied.

            Immediately the fans of the series will feel at home, just like a comfy blanket the Title Screen remains intact, and the background story covers both the familiar territory and the passage of time since, which is obviously quite useful in determining what is actually happening! However, the cut-scenes representing the early stages of the story had been ripped straight from the titles predecessors and, although these were of a good quality originally, they seemed to stand-out too far from the mighty Xbox’s renditions which could cause some slight confusion to those new to the series. To put it another way, the FMV explains the story… but not very well, and that in itself, is the title’s biggest downfall.

            Upon entering the title’s first gameplay sequence, the most notable difference between this and the series’ previous titles is obviously the move into 3D. It is a given these days that next generation updates will follow the third-dimension route, however being a game with such a heavy reliance on puzzles I wondered exactly how this would affect the dynamic of the game. The biggest shock came as the extra dimension has actually been used to add depth to the original style of play as opposed to hindering it, hinting at a nice and long pre-production determining exactly how the game should be played out.

            Once again remaining faithful to the ideals of the original titles, you exist in the Oddworld with both enemies (the Glukkons) and native inhabitants. Being the first title to allow you to play as both Munch and Abe, you now have two species to help survive, the Mudokons and the Fuzzles – each with their own strengths, weaknesses and abilities. You can switch between Abe and Munch at will, and so the puzzles have been arranged in such a way as to demand the player to determine which character is necessary for the specific task, if not both. When it comes to working out how to cross that ravine or pack of wild-eyed-looking Glukkons, not only do you have to worry about saving your own behind, but also that group of mindless zombies that are following behind you in a “freedom frenzy”.

            The title’s graphics sparkle and the original humour remains – prepare yourself for fart gags aplenty. The puzzles revolve around similar themes so the title remains fairly intuitive from the offset, but of course the “flying controller of rage” hissy-fit moments remain in full glory.

            For both those of you who’ve played any of the previous titles in the series the new episode is a must, and for those new to the adventures of Abe and his cohorts, a brilliant puzzle based platformer awaits. An Xbox exclusive and an Xbox must.











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