Nicely atmospheric, great side-scrolling action... but not much else.
When I first started playing Abuse, it seemed SUPERB. The character animations and sounds really drew me in, and I was sincerely creeped out about the setting and mutants that leaped from shadows and ripped through walls. Movement was fluid and quick, and worked really well with the platform-style layout. The weapons, as well, were standard fare and then some, featuring my all-time favorite, laser weapons. With the addition of power-ups, it made it possible for different play tactics for different areas, something most side-scrollers don't do.
Unfortunately, there is no storyline in Abuse. The setup is quite interesting, I expected more as I played - and found none. Eh, some people might not mind this, but level after level of the same stuff gets mighty frustrating. Especially in areas that have some gorgeous backdrop, like an indoor hydroponics forest, or skyline window, that just BEG for some in-game descriptions or interaction.
A problem with immersion, especially atmospheric emotional fear, is that repetition ruins the immersion. Unfortunately this happened to me with Abuse. After a while, I wasn't worried about what was around the next corner (well, bend in the platform) I was just annoyed. It's a shame the immersion wasn't expanded on with a story or even descriptions, because halfway through the game I just couldn't immerse myself in it anymore.
The Bottom Line
Did I, at some levels and at some moments, have fun in Abuse? Damn right. Was it a good game? Only for a little while. I'm not usually a side-scroller player, but I really loved some of the parts of Abuse. But the lack of other elements (story) and presence of others (atmosphere) made the whole a little confusing and more than a little frustrating.