Oddworld - Stranger's Wrath
Howdy pardners and welcome to the LP of one of the best hidden gems on the XBOX. This game was released in 2005 while the XBOX was still going strong and the crushing death of that system was still nought but a pessimists dream.
A PS2 version was in the works but was deemed unfeasible with the closing of the Oddworld studios and the sure amount of graphical excellence in the game. It sadly was cancelled meaning that the XBOX version is the only version released. What compounds this fact is that the game is not backwards compatible with the 360. It is only playable on an original XBOX. Luckily I have one and a lovely copy of the game itself so I am now able to bring it to all the people who missed out the first time.
To reiterate, Oddworld Strangers Wrath IS NOT COMPATIBLE WITH THE 360.
You have to have an original XBOX to play it.
The game takes place in the Oddworld, of Abe fame. You play the part of Stranger, a bounty hunter who is trying to make his way in the chicken-infested backwoods of the Oddworld. There's a whole bunch of excellent plot in this game that I wouldn't want to spoil so let us just say that the Stranger here is one of the most interesting characters I've ever played.
Why This Game Is Great
First of all, the game is a mixture of both third and first person action. You do your running, jumping climbing trees standard platforming fare in third person, but to attack your enemies, you switch to first person and the game goes from Mario to Half-Life in a single bound.
Second of all is your weaponry and more specifically, your ammo. You are equipped with a double barrelled crossbow that fires animals. Yup, you attack your bad guys with spiders, bats, slugs and... er... chipmunks. There are many other types of ammo we'll find along the way too, each more bizarre and cutesey than the last.
Each of the ammo types does something different. Some stun your enemy, some blow them up, some knock them down, some distract. You have a wide variety of tactical uses for each type and a good combination of each will be the key to victory.
Then we have the excellent bounty system. All the bad guys in the game can be captured either alive or dead. You get a substantial increase in reward for alive foes and when it comes to bosses, getting them alive is usually worth three or four times the dead fee. It is almost always easier to kill the enemy so trying to capture everyone alive has a very nice risk/reward balance that keeps the game fresh.
The game also features a terrific health system. You have two bars on your screen, health and stamina. When you take damage you lose health but, by pressing the Y button, you can shake off all your damage at the expense of your stamina. This keeps things simple but effective. No regenerating shields or health packs here, just the super strong power of Stranger shaking.
During the course of the game too, you'll see many upgrades available. Using the money we get from bounties, you can buy upgrades to your weapons, your ammo and your own regeneration rates. You also get funky things like binoculars that, later on, become even more powerful.
Overall, this game is intensely fun, has a huge amount of style and actually has a pretty great plot. The voice acting is perfect and the gameplay itself is tantamount to perfection.
So there are a couple of issues with the game that I must bring to your attention before the inevitable complaints.
Firstly, all the audio samples are, for a totally unknown reason, recorded in 32khz. This gives them all a scratchy, muddy and indistinct quality that can be quite hard to discern. During the course of the videos I shall make a point of not talking while any particularly good pieces of dialogue are rolling and I shall amplify the volume of the cutscenes to make the muddy voices a bit clearer.
Secondly, in the game, the X button is the 'Action' button. You use this to open doors, talk to people, buy things, capture badguys etc. However, it has one other annoying/helpful feature. When you press it without being in a triggerable position, Stranger announces what you should be doing next. This has the side-effect of randomly spouting stuff like "I gotta get to the bounty store" when you're trying to just open a door.
During the course of this LP you will occasionally hear Stranger babble some stuff like this. Don't worry, he doesn't quip, or say anything interesting. If I'm talking over it it's because it was just a mistake so you shouldn't try and strain your ears to hear it.
I shall also try and mix and match my ammo in order to keep things interesting. However, you get vastly more money for alive bounties than dead ones, so anything that can stun will be preferred to that which can kill. This will keep the explosions down (at least initially) but the money higher so better upgrades can be found. This will change as the game goes on and it gets harder and harder so more violent methods of dispatch are needed.
Enough Talk, To The Game!
The Bonus Video!! - Gamevee (Viddler Mirror)
I decided against doing voice over commentary on this one because it was kinda redundant. There are a couple of points I want to mention though.
"The Fortune Teller Box Of All Powerful Knowing And Stuff And If You Look You'll See A Big Blue Button On The Front" can be found in the general store of each town. The videos I show in the Bonus one are in order of the towns you visit. You'll notice that they basically spoil the rest of the game and always seem to me to be a "look, if you think the game is boring now, wait till later, you can BLOW SHIT UP!" type thing. A lack-of-confidence move in my opinion. Showing them to you when we came to them would've fucked up the whole LP so you'll understand why I left them till last.
The Eugenius thing is quite cool because you can shake him down for a bit of cash but because he's up by the sewer doors and not near a house, you can play tennis with him bouncing him into the walls. It's hard to do but you can get a good chicken rally going. I wanted to show you that and the weird glitched animations you get when you stingbee clakkerz.
When I do the clakkerz attack too and get them to start shooting me, I decided to show you what a death looks like in the game too. Going the extra mile to cut them out/one-shot the game for the LP, I figured I may aswell show you the failure side of things.
The rest is pretty self explanatory.
Hope you found the video interesting enough to spend another few minutes in the Oddworld.
A good pre-release interview with Lorne Lanning on the making of the game.
Post release interview with Lorne Lanning on the demise of Oddworld Inhabitants and the problems with the marketing for Stranger's Wrath.
Random piece about the developers using Flash for the development of the game.
Lefty Lugnutz Done In Style
Free music from the game. Buy the album or download it from the composer himself!
Sweet. I've actually come across one on the CG in this game, right here.