Have You Played… Oddworld: Abe’s Exoddus?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

While recently playing the wondrous but flawed Rain World, I was reminded of poor Abe. The original Oddysee was a belter, yes, but with Exoddus I feel the developers at Oddworld Inhabitants really perfected their art. They were able to keep all the usual stuff (running, jumping, possessing the baddies and saving your mates) while introducing a bunch of weird new ideas. It expanded the “gamespeak”, granted Mudokons different emotional states, and allowed you to possess your own farts. You can’t ask much more from a game released in 1998.

Abe is a character who is rarely done in games – a mostly powerless and physically weak schlemiel with good intentions. He spends most of his time avoiding creatures and running from fights. And plainly embedded among the fart jokes and slapstick is a resounding environmentalist message: don’t make booze from the bones of dead people. But also, yes, don’t destroy the natural world for profit.

The beautiful thing about Abe is that he isn’t even a pacifist, he is a militant conservationist. Un-possessing animals like the Paramites or Scrabs will leave the creatures as they were. But un-possessing a Slig or Glukkon – the “humanoid” baddies – will result in an explosion of guts and gore. He’s a vengeful ex-slave.

Oddysee was remade in the form of Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty, but Exoddus will always be the one for me. There’s just something very appealing about guiding a fart down a long passage and detonating it in the face of a nasty industrialist. And that makes the news about Oddworld: Soulstorm, a possible remake, all the more interesting.

18 Comments

  1. AutonomyLost says:

    I have, a couple of times, and loved the holy hell out of it.

  2. Thirith says:

    “He’s a vengeful ex-slave.”

    I’m now trying to imagine Quentin Tarantino’s Abe Unleashed… and finding it surprisingly easy.

    • Darth Gangrel says:

      Vengeful ex-slave who can detonate his own farts makes me think of “The Fart and the Furious”.

  3. zsd says:

    I always loved that the Glukkons were armless inside their suits, unable to do anything but bark orders to their unlucky employees.

    • Coming Second says:

      The way they move in their business suits, complete with glockenspiel, is pure poetry.

  4. Baf says:

    In retrospect, it’s striking how the Abe games frame themselves as “Weirdos vs Bullies”, with defenseless Abe running away from cruel Slig guards who beat up your friends, and yet then go and make you into the bully so much of the time, wreaking violence far worse than the Sligs are capable of.

    • podbaydoors says:

      That is an interesting philosophical question. Who is really the bad guy? The bully who beats the crap out of the vulnerable, or the person who stops that bully from exercising their freedom to do so?

      • Einsammler says:

        “an occupying army methodically killing the civilians” is more than a bully, I’d say.

      • Unclepauly says:

        The bystander who does nothing, allowing the death and mutilation to go on unabated. The true face of evil.

      • Daymare says:

        I don’t see a philosophical question here. How is stopping a bully ever a bad thing?

        You might say: If the methods used to stop the bully are worse than the bully’s? Alright, yes.

        From what I remember playing, Abe is never more violent than his enslavers. Consider also that they don’t give him a chance for a nonviolent escape.

  5. Jerppa says:

    Farting is awesome.

  6. April March says:

    I got Abe’s Odyssey at a somewhat young age. It may be partially responsible for the peerless good taste in vidyagayms I have these days. But alas, I have never played this sequel. Is it still available to buy?

  7. GenialityOfEvil says:

    I bought the PS1 version of Abe’s Oddysey when it came out, but when Exoddus came out I bought it on PC, back when PC games were sold in boxes the size of school textbooks.