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Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee
game: Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee
two star
posted by: GF! Back Catalogue 10/2004 => 1995
publisher: THQ
date posted: 12:00 AM Mon Nov 10th, 2003
last revision: 12:00 AM Mon Nov 10th, 2003

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By Eric Qualls

The GBA version of Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee is yet another example of a developer crapping out a quickie game based on a decent franchise just to make a quick buck. Oddworld is known and loved by so many for its humor and a unique and interesting look. Munch's Oddysee, on the other hand, isn't funny, features bland graphics, and just plain isn't fun.

Munch's Oddysee follows Abe, a Mudokon, and Munch, a Gabbit, as they fight against the evil slave driving Glukkons. Abe can use his mental abilities to take control of Glukkons and regrow spooce fruit you have already picked as well as enlist the help of other Mudokons. Munch can also get help from friendly creatures as well as control moving platforms and remote control robots. You have to switch between the two characters quite a bit throughout each level and this two-character gameplay is one of the few bright spots in Munch's Oddysee.

The two characters and their unique abilities are interesting, but the levels are bland and boring. Most levels are nothing more than a couple of puzzle sequences mixed with tedious back tracking and mindless wandering around. The puzzles themselves are simple and consist of little more than climbing a ladder to a switch or sending the creatures under your control on a task. You rarely have to fight the enemy Glukkons and there are a surprisingly few number of platform jumping sequences. In short, the game is little more than walking from one room to the next and pulling a couple of levers. The areas where you have to use Munch are a little more fun, simply because they provide a bit of variety from what Abe is doing since Munch can swim, but it is still just a lot of lever pulling. It is just as easy as it sounds and the game can easily be completed in about three hours.

The best parts of the gameplay in Munch's Oddysee are only used a couple of times and these levels make the rest of the game seem even worse in comparison. Abe has the ability to sneak, but you only have to use stealth in one level. This is quite a bit of fun, but you don't get to use it nearly enough. Likewise, there are sections of the game where you use Munch to pilot a giant robot and blast away whole armies of Glukkons. These sections are the best part of the game by far, but you only get to do it a couple of times. The rest of the game is just too easy and repetitive, so the few bright spots really stand out.

Controlling Abe and Munch is a lot harder than it should be, and that drags the whole experience even further down. The controls respond really inconsistently, so from one moment to the next the game will react just how you want it to or it will take three or four button presses to get the job done. Picking up objects or even pulling levers is a difficult task because most of the time the characters don't act the way you want them to and you have to approach these areas from several angles before the game will actually let you pick something up. Jumping is also made much more difficult due to the inconsistent controls, but you have unlimited lives at your disposal and, like I said above, there are surprisingly few bottomless pits to jump over.

The graphics in Munch's Oddysee are pretty plain and unimpressive. There are really only two environments types - grass and dirt or cement and steel - so the look of the game gets old fast. The characters aren't very detailed, but they are animated fairly well and it is easy to pick your character out from a crowd of Mudokons and Glukkons. The graphics are not impressive in the least, particularly when compared with Grunty's Revenge, which was released around the same time as Munch's Oddysee.

When you can actually hear it, the sound in Munch's Oddysee is pretty good. That is the problem, though. The music is excellent but it cuts in and out, which becomes annoying very quickly. The sound effects are pretty standard and don't help or hurt this title. Abe even has a few sound bytes, but it isn't anything compared to the wealth of dialogue found in the PSone and Xbox Oddworld games.

In the end, Munch's Oddysee on the GBA is just a throwaway title that isn't worth messing with. The fun parts are few and far between and the bland graphics and glitchy controls are enough to drive all but the most determined players away. The humor found in the rest of the Oddworld series is missing here, and that only amplifies the sense of boredom and repetitiveness of moving from one bland looking room to another. The game is simple and only three or four hours long so kids might like it, but there are better kids games out there than Munch on the GBA. The fact that the game uses the archaic password save function rather than letting you save to the cartridge is the final nail in the coffin for this game. Do yourself a favor and check out Oddworld on the PSone or Xbox instead.