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Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath

aka: Oddworld Stranger, Oddworld: La Fureur de l'Etranger, Oddworld: Strangers Vergeltung
Moby ID: 16376
Xbox Specs
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Description official descriptions

A bounty hunter known only as the Stranger is pursuing and capturing various criminals, trying to earn enough money for a mysterious operation. When he hears that a town populated by Grubbs has been invaded by a demon, the Stranger ventures there. The town was once protected by a race of creatures known as the Steef, who now appear to be completely extinct. The Stranger soon discovers that a nearby river has been dried up by a dam, built by a person called Sekto. The Stranger must confront this person as he continues to hunt down outlaws, revealing nothing about his past.

Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath is set in the fictional Oddworld universe, differing in many ways from the preceding installment. The game incorporates two basic genres: third-person platforming action and first-person shooter. The player can switch between the modes at any time by using a melee or a ranged weapon, respectively. The goal of the game, for the most part, is to bag the outlaws and bring them in, collecting "moolah" (the game's currency) in the process. The Stranger can stun or knock down enemies, as well as use a stealthy approach, e.g. hiding in long grass to surprise the enemy.

The Stranger's weapon is a double-barrel crossbow, upon which the player can load up to 81 combinations of "live ammo". Literally, the ammo is alive, from the wise-cracking ChipPunk, to the explosive BoomBat. These critters live in the wild, and can either be bought in bulk at centrally located stores run by the chicken-like Clakkerz in town, or can be hunted in the wilds.

Missions are selected by the player when they accept bounties at the Bounty Store. To help steer them in the right direction, the Clakkerz that are walking around town will offer bits of sometimes helpful, but always sarcastic conversation when the protagonist communicates with them. Moolah can be spent to upgrade weapons, ammunition, and armor, as well as acquire various items.

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Credits (Xbox version)

144 People (140 developers, 4 thanks) · View all

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Reviews

Critics

Average score: 81% (based on 33 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.9 out of 5 (based on 38 ratings with 2 reviews)

Oddworld Inhabitants' final swansong

The Good
A hell of a lot. Stranger's Wrath contains some of the best graphics seen this generation, coupled together with Oddworld Inhabitants' signature polish - great music, great acting, great script.

Despite this though, the game didn't hit me with greatness at the start, but rather built it up to an incredible crescendo. For once a game that builds on its opening and never stops getting better.

A compelling storyline is slowly drawn out of the game, masterfully increasing its scope as it goes along. To explain further would be to spoil its impact, so any readers are going to have to just trust me that things really change as the game goes on.

The gameplay itself is more than worthy - it's hard to believe that Oddworld Inhabitants had never before created an FPS (or, to be more precise, an FPS/Third Person Action Adventure hybrid), as they have created one of the finer titles within the genre. Utilising a relatively small but varied array of weapons, the game leaves the approach to fights up to the gamer - it's perfectly possible to hang back and lure out your enemies, knocking them out one by one, but it's equally possible to charge into their camp, blowing up everything in sight with your heavy weapons. Indeed, even charging into melee and using your fists and head to deal with your enemy is a perfectly viable tactic.

This is combined with something that any previous Oddworld gamers will expect - a good sense of humour. The enemies are an entertaining bunch, notable for their hilarious conversations, exclamations and retorts. The same goes for the neutral characters of the game, all of whom react with your character - Stranger - in a satisfying way.

The Bad
To be quite honest, nothing.

The only criticisms that I could see being leveled at the game are the following:

It has a slow start, taking a few hours of gameplay before things really start to kick off. I do get the feeling however that this was entirely necessary, as the player really needs time to get the hang of the controls, and a feel for Stranger and the universe he inhabits.

The enemy AI is fairly simple - though capable of being tricked, lured and surprised, the enemies never seem particularly intelligent - which makes perfect sense, as they aren't meant to be.

And that's it. I can think of no other flaws, and the two I mentioned barely bothered me - not at all, in the case of the second.

The Bottom Line
A gem of a game, Stranger's world needs to be visited. The most similar title I can think of - in terms of the way it made me feel - would have to be Beyond Good & Evil, another criminally underlooked game. Even though the basic mechanics seem completely dissimilar (BG&E's journalism and puzzling as opposed to Stranger's bounty hunting and action), the way both draw the gamer into a vibrant world - and more importantly their characters - is what makes both of them essential titles.

Xbox · by yprbest (103) · 2005

So Epic you're Bound to Like

The Good
The game's environment is perhaps one of the most detailed and lush Wild West themed world you'll play in with fitting music to give the feel of the locations. Every part of the game has lots of atmosphere including the Grubb's city which capture's the perfect impression of a D-Day Omaha Beach invasion and Sekto's base which has the likeness to a Red Faction base. There's so much to do and places to go. It's fun to try being stealthy and capture enemies for that extra Moolah and ammunition. And you won't easily get stuck looking for your next objective because all the NPCs will clue you in. And it's amusing to listen to a Chippunk's non-stop commentary.

The Stranger is just the playable hero you want to play as. He has a double barrel crossbow with "live" ammunition, he can double jump, he can self-heal, he can do head butts and punches, he can climb, he can swim, and he can charge. He simply exceeds the abilities of Abe and Munch put together and his maneuvering rivals that of Lara Croft. The dialogue and outfit goes so well with his physique, he's almost like a cross between DC's Jonah Hex and Marvel's Wolverine.

The Bad
While the pacing of the game is smooth and at a steady speed for the most part, it turns to absolute creep when you're in water, so you just have to swim for as little as possible, especially if you don't want to get peppered with projectiles. Unfortunately the wall boundaries make it so that if you're cornered by enemies, you'll never be able to double jump or shoot you way out and they've nailed you, but that doesn't happen very often.

Although its fun to complete missions, this game might have turned out perfect if it were open world and you could explore every place you went to previously. It's a pity that Moolah becomes useless and you never get it in the second half of the game. This game could also have done with an alternate ending triggered by managing to get 20,000 Moolah before meeting Doc a second time.

The Bottom Line
Munch's Oddysee was the greatest letdown in the series, but Stranger's Wrath stuck out like a thumbs up when it reached the spotlight. If you're accustomed to Abe and Mudokons, you should not be disappointed in this title. If Spaghetti Western games were existent, that's what this game would be. Games with first-person and third-person elements heavily used from beginning to end are not something you play everyday. This is the best way you can enjoy the last of the Oddworld series (not counting the HD remakes).

Windows · by Kayburt (29373) · 2021

Trivia

1001 Video Games

The Xbox version of Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Awards

  • 4Players
    • 2005 – Best Action-Adventure of the Year

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  • MobyGames ID: 16376
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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Stephen Desilets.

tvOS, iPad, iPhone, Android, Ouya added by Sciere. Windows added by Crawly.

Additional contributors: Jeanne, Sciere, Patrick Bregger, FatherJack, Bart Smith.

Game added January 29, 2005. Last modified January 21, 2024.