ODDWORLD: STRANGER'S WRATH HD
By Ferry "Sadhonker" Adams on January 23, 2020
Way back in 1997, we got our very first taste of something called the the Oddworld, when Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee was released. In the years that followed, we explored more and more of this wondrous and strange world with the second and third games in the Oddworld series: Abe's Exoddus and Much's Oddysee. Then, in 2005, things turned a bit more gritty when developer Oddworld Inhabitants released the fourth (and for a long time, last) installment in the Oddworld series: Stranger's Wrath.
In Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath, we take control of a bounty hunter who, in good wild-west fashion, is simply called Stranger. As is custom with bounty hunters, Stranger's main task is to set out and capture wanted criminals and bring them back dead or alive in order to earn the much-needed Moolah. Stranger has an ulterior motive though; he doesn't just need Moolah. He needs a lot of Moolah to pay for a life-saving operation he is supposed to have. This also means that he better do everything in his power to bring back the bad guys alive because, that way, they are worth more Moolah!
As is to be expected, the bad guys aren't exactly lining up to get caught, so Stranger will have to fight them if he wants to collect the bounty on their heads. And, being dangerous outlaws, the bad guys have amassed troops of their own, so to get to the prize, Stranger will first have to fight his way through these minions. And then there's the environment itself to consider. As long as you look down a cliff and can see the bottom, you can safely jump down without taking damage. If you cannot see the bottom, however, it may not be such a hot idea to jump down. To navigate the environment safely, Stranger has quite a few moves. He can jump and even perform a double jump, he can climb ropes and ledges and he can even swim. Combine these skills to get where you need to be in a safe manner.
Yes, well; that's all fine and good, but what about enemies? I mean, climbing, humping and swimming is hardly going to defeat them, now is it? Well, this is where the Oddworld offers help from an unexpected angle. You see, the Oddworld is a strange and wondrous place, filled with all kinds of exotic creatures, not all of who are inclined to pass up a chance to fight whatever is dumb enough to get too close, and Stranger has learned to use this to his advantage. His weapon of choice, a mighty crossbow can fire ammunition at his enemies. And while that in itself is nothing special, the ammunition used is!
Instead of simply firing crossbow bolts, the Stranger's crossbow can use animals found around the Oddworld as projectiles (how's that for "live" ammunition?!). There are 9 types of ammo available in the game: Zappflies, Fuzzles, Stunkz, Chippunks, Bolamites, Thudslugs, Stingbees, Boombats and Sniper Wasps. Each of these critters has a different effect on enemies and should be used accordingly. If you want to incapacitate a large group of outlaws, you can use a Stunkz as a projectile with an area effect. Upon impact, this creature will release a cloud of smelly gas, causing everyone who is caught in its range to get violently ill immediately. This enables you to capture or kill these bad guys while their puking their guts out. But don't wait too long, because the effect of the attack will wear off eventually.
Another cool feature of the crossbow is that, at any given time, two types of ammo can be equipped at the same time. Just think of your crossbow as being a wooden, double barreled, independently firing shotgun with two different shells loaded. You can swap out the types of ammo on the fly, making it possible to adapt to any situation. Now, as you use your crossbow in combat, your ammo will eventually deplete (except for the Zappflies; you have an unlimited supply of those) and need to be refilled before you can use that type of ammo again. This can be done by visiting the general store of the towns you come across during your travels, or by hunting for ammo in the wild. This is where the main function of the Zappflies comes in; you can fire them at other critters, stunning them and giving you the chance to collect them as ammo. And while this is the main function of the Zappfly, it's not the only one; you can also fire a charged Zappfly at glowing blue switches to manipulate doors or other things in the environment, like elevators and such.
Every type of ammo critter has its own use and experimenting with what type of critter to use in which situation is truly fun. But that's not even the best part! As the story progresses, each of the critters, except for the Zappfly and the Sniper Wasp, can be upgraded to an even more awesome form it itself, giving you more powerful attacks to vanquish even the strongest of enemies. The addition of live critters as ammunition fits the Oddworld feel perfectly; the world itself has a realistic quality to it while, at the same time, being the total opposite of realistic by incorporating all kinds of different species and giving them roles that we humans would normally have. The series had done this since Abe's Oddysee and stayed true to their original concept for the Oddworld throughout every single one of their Oddworld games.
Originally, Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath was released for the first Xbox back in 2005. Five years later, the game was ported to PC through Steam and even got a HD version in December of 2011 for the PS3, featuring overhauled visuals, remastered audio, trophies and a treasure trove of bonus content. Nine months after this release, the PC version was also upgraded to the HD version via a patch. The game even got a Playstation Vita port in late 2012. Two years later, the game was ported to mobile devices, after which all went quiet on the Stranger's front. Until now, that is! Because as of January 23, 2020, Stranger is back! The Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath HD version is finally released for the Nintendo Switch! So now a whole new generation of gamers can familiarize themselves with the wild west themed side of the Oddworld and be the bad-ass bounty hunter they just know they were born to be!
ODDWORLD: STRANGER'S WRATH HD
January 23, 2020