Munch’s Oddysee: Captives and Combat

I have to correct myself on a few points. There still are some captive Mudokons around, distinguishable from the free Mudokons by their headgear. Some of the Sligs do carry guns, although you get something like halfway through the game before this starts happening. And the game does drop the extreme hand-holding eventually. In fact, it more or less announces the fact: the spirit guide who occasionally pops in to give tutorial advice says “I have no idea how you’re going to pull this off”. I’ve started hitting levels where it’s not at all obvious at first where to go and what to do, where the first phase consists of exploration to discover what your options are (and to off the occasional Slig of opportunity). It’s a little like the exploration phase in an adventure game.

There’s one big difference between captive Mudokons and free ones: Free ones can be revived if killed. It takes time and costs spooce and is best avoided if possible, but it can be done if necessary. Whereas if a captive Mudokon or Fuzzle is killed, you’re simply locked out of the possibility of a perfect victory, unless you restore an earlier save.

And, unlike Abe’s Oddysee, this game really wants you to get perfect victories. There don’t seem to be secret Fuzzles in hidden challenge areas; if there were, Munch could find them with his special sonar ability. Information about how many captives there are on each level and how many you’ve saved is easily accessible in multiple ways: in-world scoreboards, a quick status check on the right trigger button, details available in the pause menu. Really, it gives the player loads of help. And one of the effects of all that help is that it makes perfection seem achievable, so that you don’t risk your rescues without reason.

Free Mudokons are your troops of choice when it comes to fighting Sligs, but they’re not always available. Sending your rescued captives into combat carries risk, but sometimes is the best approach. Sometimes you have other options, like having Munch operate a crane and drop explosives on them. But there have already been a couple of cases where I chose the absurdly tedious approach: Send Abe in alone, have him slap the Slig a few times before he gets killed, then have Munch revive him and repeat, gradually wearing the opposition down until victory. I’m fairly certain that this is not actually the optimal approach, but it was completely safe, and the game let me do it. That’s what sort of game this is. The sort that lets you substitute tedium for cleverness. That’s about as far from Abe’s Oddysee as you can get.

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