Reviews: Oddworld

Munch's Oddysee: a huge disappointment

I loved the first two Oddworld games, so when Munch's Oddysee came out exclusively on X-Box I was very disappointed. No other X-Box games really appealed to me and I wasn't going to buy one just to play this game. When I recently learned of the PC port that was made a few years ago, I was overjoyed. But now that I have actually played it...

The first two games had fantastic platformer gameplay in huge, exotic environments crawling with bizzarre creatures. Munch replaces these with... small hills covered with some trees and bushes, and bland industrial factories. Scarbs and paramites both make an appearance because they're expected, but it feels like just an afterthought. The Vykkers and Interns look suitably weird and creepy, but the meep are just plain lazy - one-legged, one-eyed sheep? Lame. The section involving meep herding is also rather tedious.

Tedious - that is the word I'd use to describe a lot of the puzzles in this game. Mudokons can now be carried and thrown by Abe, so why not have a section that requires the player to go back and forth through a minefield NINE TIMES to get all mudokons across? Munch moves sluggishly on land, so most of the time he's a pain to play with - not the impression you want the new star of the series to make. Possessing a slig used to be a real power trip, a skilled player could kill hordes of enemy sligs in the first two games. Here, the other sligs have so much hit points that you'll be murdered long before you ever kill an enemy, so you have to possess hordes of sligs one by one to finish them off. The same goes for attacking snoozers if you're playing as Munch, which can't even kill enemies, just stun them for a limited time!

The Oddworld games have never had a particularly complex storyline, but they did have nice cinematics. This game has very few, and it doesn't even bother explaining what the Almighty Raisin is or where it comes from. I guess it's All There In The Manual?

Most damning of all: I am currently about 85% through the game and I have no desire to actually finish it. I kept waiting for the real game to begin and got upset when I realized: this is it. These boring locations and tedious puzzles, this is all I'm going to ever get. This is how you ruin a great series.