At the end of the original Xbox's life span I remember how all the hype was being drawn to the upcoming 360 and how developers were starting to pull away from the beloved Box and put their energies and money into the new console. The last games to come out for it were less than spectacular, mainly plug and chug franchises
and mediocre movie tie-ins.
However, theres one game that stands out in my mind, one that came out at the worst possible time and fell victim to Dreamcast syndrome. Failing to capture the interest of the unwashed masses and falling into obscurity.
Oddworld: Strangers Wrath
was a masterpiece. Thrown headfirst into the game you only know that the main protagonist is a bounty hunter named Stranger, rounding up outlaws in a wild west like wilderness, for the purpose of funding a rather expensive operation you are only told is needed for his survival. Several times in the game, a shift in the story alters how you play through the game, periodically broken up by some of the most beautifully rendered cut scenes on the box. All leading to an ending that rivals Portal in epicness.
Combining multiple elements of game play as well as a dynamic and fluid storyline that I have yet to see replicated. At its core its a basic FPS with a delectable twist, instead of guns Stranger prefers live ammunition. Literally shooting small animals and insects from his wrist mounted dual crossbow. These range from Fuzzles; a small furry ball with cartoony eyes and teeth that act as a stunning mine, to the Bolomite; a four legged spider you can use to ensnare bounties you collect in game. What SW was able to do just as well was implement the Third Person element into the game. At any time the player can choose to switch between first and third person perspective. While in Third, the player focuses on melee attacks and can heal by "Shaking". Theres no Health packs in SW, so the player must find a safe spot to stop and shake by holding down Y. This adds an interesting game mechanic and an unique twist on the regenerative health concept.
Theres quite a bit of traveling in SW and the only way to do it is on foot. While many games
have proven that this is a tiresome and boring experience, SW avoids that. While running in Third person Stranger slowly picks up speed until he jumps forward and starts running in a feral cat like manner. This can be used to stun enemies by running head first into them and is an incredibly aesthetically pleasing experience.
The story and characters are what really make the game great. Ranging from large lizard like outlaws who's only intent is to kill you, to the small chicken like people of the towns, some of which have the greatest Yooper
like accent I've heard in a video game. All through out the game, the combination of voice acting and character animation helps draw you in even more.
The sad reality is that this game isn't supported by the Xbox360s backwards compatibility. However if you still have your Xbox and you feel guilty about abandoning it for the 360 you can find it for $9.99 on amazon
Quite honestly this was my favorite game on the Xbox, and since it seems that everyone else has forgotten this awesome game I felt I should recommend you picking it up. Check out the gallery for a few more screen shots. read