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Oddworld Adventures


GT Interative 1998

Game Boy


Very sad and embarrassing port of the excellent Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee for the original Game Boy. While scaling back the graphics and sounds of a port from a more powerful system to the humble GB is necessary, there are ways in which to do this without creating a travesty such as this. This game is pretty much a road map of how not to make a good Game Boy game.

The game is a direct port of the Playstation cult classic rather than a spin-off or side quest or whatever. Abe has to escape rupture farms and save his fellow Mudukons while avoiding traps and various vicious forms of animal life. There was an attempt to keep the Prince of Persia style of gameplay, and all of the major elements from the Playstation game made it, sneaking around, puzzles, possessing enemies, and gamespeak (more on that later.) Problem is each gameplay aspect is handled so badly by the GB's primitive hardware that what sounds like a decent port turns out to be a awful piece of garbage.

First off, the graphics are muddy like steaming balls of hippie excrement forcibly smeared in your eye sockets. Part of the appeal of the Playstation game was the strange creatures and such you encounter. Here you cannot tell what other sprites are supposed to be, which is not good as most of the character designs are very off the wall in the first place. For example, in a GB game if you see something with four legs that walks like a dog, you can assume it's a dog. But here some of the monsters are bipedal, some are quadrupeds, some kill you instantly, some don't. You have to be able to distinguish what the sprites are supposed to be in order to play the game effectively. The Sligs for instance will shoot you on sight unless they're sleeping, problem is the graphics are so bad you can't tell what the hell that thing in the room is. Is it a monster? Is it a sleeping guard you can sneak past? You need to know these things, and you can't play the game effectively if you can't tell what the hell is going on.

Not that there's much game playing going on as the controls are so out-of-your-mind wacky that just tapping on the cross pad makes you fly across the screen. This was another thing about the PS game, the controls were extremely precise, and there were a lot of areas that required exact jumps and timing. Here you dart all over the place, and since your character uses two and three step animations it feels extremely disjointed.

For some reason they also tried to integrate the console version's gamespeak into the game which is handled here via a different screen. It works the same way, every once in a while you meet another Mudukon that you have to "talk" to in order to get him to follow you or pass a certain area. These screens are like little mini games of Simon says, where you have to repeat a sequence in order to progress. Problem is the Game Boy's 8-bit sound hardware cannot possibly handle this. The whistles and farts and such sound like low grade samples of the retarded braying from a crack addicted orangutan recorded in an underground bomb shelter from a mile away. I cannot stress how incredibly utterly horrible these samples are. I don't know who's idea it was to put digitized voice in old school Game Boy games but I'm sure whoever it was is dead now.

This is all really, really sad as the Oddworld series is one of the most unique franchises to grace any system. Fact is they could have made a halfway decent port, with decent graphics, sound, and gameplay, customized to take advantage and push the GB's limited hardware. But in trying to overachieve GT interactive in fact achieved very little.


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