Munch’s Oddysee: Revamp

Let’s rewind a little. I’ve been meaning to finish Munch’s Oddysee for months now, and last month added an extra motivation: an unexpected update to the game, apparently the first in six years. In fact, not just an update. The press release calls it a “new port”. I’m guessing that there’s a new Oddworld game coming soon, and that both this update and the inclusion of New & Tasty in the Humble Montly are meant to get people talking about Oddworld again in preparation for it. (It’s obviously working in my case.)

Unlike New & Tasty, it doesn’t seem fundamentally changed from the previous version. It’s basically the same game, with the same rules and the same levels. The character models are more detailed and the framerate is higher, or so it claims. Having not played in a few months, I can’t tell the difference. But the feel of the controls is definitely improved, particularly in the menus, where moving the selection with a joystick was hit-or-miss before. And the sounds are much better, both in playback quality and in design. I complained before about cartoony boings, and those are basically gone. Munch’s footsteps no longer offend the ear. Abe falling down a cliff no longer sounds like Popeye in a fistfight. There’s still a certain amount of slide whistle on large jumps, but it’s a very reasonable amount. The sound design was my one biggest annoyance with the game, and I really wasn’t expecting it to just spontaneously get better. Maybe I’ll be better motivated to finish the game now.

The one thing that worried me about such an extensive rewrite was: Would it recognize my saves? Or would I have to start over from scratch? It turns out that my saves were accessible, but the save UI is weird enough that I didn’t realize this at first and wound up replaying the first few levels anyway. Also, it must be converting the old saves to a new format rather than just using them directly, because they all have the same timestamp, around the time I launched the game. As a result, the save menu can’t arrange them chronologically like it usually does, and instead sorts them in reverse alphabetical order by the name of the level. I had been saving at the beginning of every level, and had no idea of the name of the last level I had played. Fortunately, there was one converted save named “Quicksave” — which is distinct from the actual quicksave slot used by the new code.

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