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Something strange is brewing in 'Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus'

Abe sneaks around with fellow Mudokons in tow   

February 4, 1999
Web posted at: 10:00 AM EST

By CNN Interactive Associate Editor John Robinson

(CNN) -- Platform games have come a long way since the days of Mario Brothers for the old 8-bit Nintendo system. While most new games are moving toward more 3D action, "Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus" for the Sony PlayStation takes another crack at the two-dimensional, side-scrolling games of the past. The hero of this endearing game is Abe, a bluish-green creature who has taken it upon himself to rescue his people, the Mudokons, from being enslaved and slaughtered by the evil Glukkons. Sounds easy enough but as you may have guessed, there is a catch -- Abe doesn't have any weapons.

The only thing that Abe has in his arsenal is the ability to communicate with other characters in the game. This feature is called Gamespeak, which Abe uses to rescue the enslaved Mudokons. If you approach a working Mudokon, you can convince him to follow you to safety by saying things such as "hello" and then "follow me".

As the second game in the "Oddworld" series, "Abe's Exoddus" picks up where the first game ,"Abe's Oddysee", left off. More interactive elements have been added to the Gamespeak feature in the latest version so you may find that the Mudokons don't immediately respond to Abe's voice. Mudokons are now likely to be in a bad mood or angry or even hopped up on laughing gas. Luckily, there are ways to get them to respond to you with actions like a little sympathy or even a slap in the face.

The Soul Storm Brewery   

The object of "Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus" is to find and rescue as many Mudokons as possible and destroy the mines where they are being forced to dig up the bones of their dead ancestors. The bones are being mined by the slaves from the ancient Mudokon city of Necrum and used to make Soul Storm Brew, a highly addictive beverage. In addition to rescuing his fellow Mudokons, Abe must find and destroy the boilers that power the Soul Storm Brewery.

Despite it's two-dimensional approach, "Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus" is a graphical gem. The character and level design is unique and extremely clean and detailed. The artistic backgrounds really give the game a feeling of depth that will make you forget that you are playing a side-scroller. It is a huge, two-disc game with diverse environments, countless puzzles and enemies to keep you occupied for a very long time. The introductory movies and the cut-scenes are especially entertaining and some of the best ever seen on a PlayStation.

"Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus" has the usual running, jumping and ducking controls found in most platform games and when you combine that with the Gamespeak, you have a game with a fairly high learning curve. Aside from the occasional frustration, the Gamespeak feature is just plain cool. It is also worth mentioning that in addition to the ability to speak, Abe can pass gas at will. The flatulence is not just for giggles either. It is used to repel enemies and yes, it is simply hilarious.

Abe and his friends search for the ancient city of Necrum in the opening movie   

A two-player and a two-player co-op mode are available if you want a human opponent or ally in your quest to save the Mudokon race. A really cool feature worth noting is the Quicksave option which allows you to save your progress to the PlayStation's RAM and continue from just about any point in the game. A memory card option is also used for saving your game to play later because the Quicksave information will erase when the console is turned off.

Even though "Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus" is an admittedly cute game, it is definitely not a game meant for young children due to the animated violence and the difficulty of the Gamespeak. If you're not a youngster and you are looking for a platform game that will challenge, amuse and occasionally frustrate you along the way, you may want to check this one out.

"Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus", published by GT Interactive, is also available for the PC and has been given a Teen rating by the ESRB. For more information on game ratings, click on the ESRB link below.

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