CES 2001: Impressions of Munch's Oddysee

Oddworld's Munch's Oddysee looked good for the PlayStation 2. How does the Xbox version compare?


News that designer Lorne Lanning and his company, Oddworld Inhabitants, had ceased development on Munch's Oddysee for the PlayStation 2 and was porting it over onto the Xbox came as a surprise to the gaming world late last year. After all, publisher Infogrames was demonstrating early versions of the PlayStation 2 game to the press, and from all appearances, it seemed to be progressing along nicely. According to Lanning, however, the PlayStation 2 was simply too much of a hassle to work with, and development on the unique game was soon switched to Microsoft's upcoming console. But since that announcement, neither Oddworld nor Microsoft have released any information regarding Munch's Oddysee. During Bill Gates' keynote speech, however, Seamus Blackley showed attendees the new - and slightly improved - Munch's Oddysee.

Initially, the game looked exactly as it did on the PlayStation 2. Blackley demonstrated the same factory level that Infogrames used to show off the then-PS2 game a few months ago. As the main character Abe, Blackley ran around the warehouse, soliciting the help of other Mudokan workers in order to open a locked door. Blackley then switched to Munch, which he used to tear across the factory with a tiny wheelchair. The animation of both Munch and Abe were humorous, if not a little choppy, and the rest of the factory level looked as expected of current-generation hardware. However, some notable differences between the Xbox and PlayStation 2 versions of the game did become apparent when Blackley zoomed in the camera on Munch. Visual detail on the little amphibian's face remained intact, and subtle environment-mapping effects could be seen along his bulbous eyes. The lighting effects and the shadows cast by the different creatures in the warehouse also looked markedly improved.

Examine the attached screenshots of Munch's Oddysee for the Xbox and judge the game's visual quality for yourselves. We should have more screenshots and video of the game a little later on today.

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