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Odium

Score: 80%
ESRB: Mature
Publisher: Monolith
Developer: Metropolis Software House
Media: CD/1
Players: 1
Genre: RPG/ Strategy

Graphics & Sound:

The graphics in Odium are great. They totally convey the feeling of a decaying Old World town. Sure, theyíre static, but theyíre damned lush. The character models are plenty detailed, with lots of little movement quirks and such that keep you interested in watching them through the battles youíll face. And the enemy models... whoa. Theyíre great. They totally convey the feeling of experiment-gone-wrong that Odium portrays. They are, inarguably, some of the most well-designed creatures Iíve ever seen in any game. There are a few graphical flaws, especially with the various flame effects, but nothing that really takes away from the game itself.

The sound effects in the game match up as well, with snarls, screams, and good gun and flamethrower sounds. The voice acting is top notch, with different ethnicities (wow!) being represented by the various characters in the game, and therefore the various voice actors. For an RPG, a lot of effort was put into the presentation of this game.

I had problems, though, with the graphics being choppy on my system. Eh? No way they -need- to be choppy, but they are. I had to routinely go to the inventory screen to check my characterís stats, because I just couldnít stand the jerkiness of it on the main screen.


Gameplay:

Odium is what you get when you take Shining Force-style battles, throw in Kingís Quest-style clue-hunting, stir in with some Stephen King-style dark apocalyptic setting, and then add lots more evil. Yeah. There are two main game modes -- the walkabout mode and the battle mode. Walkabout is a clean (well, dirty as hell, but you know what I mean) over-the-head view of the area youíre in, with your characters rendered and walking around on it. Find items, get items, use foo on bar. You know the drill. When combat ensues, however, youíre taken into a Battle Screen which is very Shining Force-esque. You have your characters, which take their turns and line up and knife or shoot or whatever. The enemy has their characters which line up and knife or shoot or whatever.

One of the more interesting things about Odiumís battle engine is that you can move your guys in any order, not just in the order the game demands. Very nice, because you can set up chains where one guy shoots, gets out of the way, the next one shoots, gets out the way, and the third comes in with a flamethrower and torches the enemy. Very nice. Sure, your guns reach almost no distance whatsoever, but thatís typical of the Shining Force style games.

The plot of Odium becomes more and more apparent as you play the game, and considering itís one of the major reasons to play the game in the first place, I wonít give it away. Youíre a NATO team, consisting of an American, a Frenchman, and a Polish guy. Youíre trying to find out just what happened in this decrepit city, and as soon as you step out of the boat, Bad Things Happen (tm). Suffice it to say, youíll find it interesting. Of course, you may just get so frustrated at this game that you donít even bother. Which brings us to the next category...


Difficulty:

Gah! Odium is one of the hardest games Iíve every played. My characters were on the brink of death through every single battle in this game, with the possible exception of the first few. I canít tell you how many times Iíve reloaded this game because I canít get past a battle. Itís extremely frustrating, but fortunately the game itself is fun enough to keep you playing despite the almost impossible enemies. And I do mean impossible -- youíll have cleared most of the enemies out of a battle when three or four fresh recruits step in to help their friends. Not fun at all. This game is hard, hard, hard. And its difficulty is its major flaw. I can imagine half of the people who get this game throwing their hands up in frustration. If you like your games easy, avoid this one at all costs. If you like a challenge, though, itís the game for you.

Game Mechanics:

Moving around and such is simple enough. Moving items between people is easy too, although moving ammo can be something of a pain. And the choppiness of the main screens can get irritating. But the battle system is extremely intuitive, and itíll be second nature by your third or fourth battle. There are tons of save game slots (which is a Good Thing (tm) in a game like this), and you can save at any time that youíre not in battle.

Overall, Odium is a great little dark RPG that unfortunately lets its high difficulty level get in the way of good, clean, evil fun. If youíre willing to battle it out with the steep curve of difficulty, however, youíre going to find an extremely enjoyable game in Odium.


-Sunfall to-Ennien, GameVortex Communications
AKA Phil Bordelon

Minimum System Requirements:



P166MHz (P200MHz without 3D accleration), 32MB RAM, 4X CD-ROM, 270MB free disk space
 

Test System:



AMD K6-III 450, Windows 98, 256MB RAM, Creative Blaster TNT2 Ultra w/32MB RAM, 6X/24X DVD-ROM, Sound Blaster Live!

Nintendo GameBoy Advance Kingdom of Hearts: Chain of Memories Windows Puzz 3D: The Orient Express

 
Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated