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A series of games starting on the original Playstation, the Oddworld series (the only series made by the aptly-named Oddworld Inhabitants) are four games that take place on the alien planet of Oddworld. Revolving around either Almighty Janitor Abe and Co. or Bounty Hunter Stranger, the games typically involve their protagonist going up against The Man in a anti-corporate, pro-environment plotline that is surprisingly not too Anvilicious.
In the first game, Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee, Mudokon cleaner Abe, upon spying on a board meeting, discovers the next tasty treat that the executives of slaughterhouse "Rupture Farms" have planned is the cleaning staff themselves; after managing to slaughter numerous animals to the brink of extinction and beyond, the execs (known as Glukkons) decide the best source for new Mystery Meat is the hundreds of slaves they have cleaning the place. Naturally terrified, Abe escapes from Rupture Farms while rescuing as many of his fellow Mudokons as possible and, after meeting native Big Face, Abe must save the remaining wildlife, regain an ancient lost power, and return to Rupture Farms to liberate his people.
Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus, taking off exactly where Oddysee left off, has Abe promptly setting off to take down SoulStorm Brewery, a distillery that makes highly addictive drinks from the bones of the Mudokon dead. Fundamentally similar to Oddysee, Exoddus adds Mudokon emotions and states (including angry, sad, excited and blind to name a few) and triples the Mudokon slave total.
The third game is Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee, and introduces Last of His Kind Munch the Gabbit. After Gabbits are hunted to the brink of extinction for their eggs (sold as product Gabbiar), Munch is teamed up with Abe in an attempt to manipulate the Glukkons and win the last Gabbiar can in existence through an auction. Not only is it the first 3D game in the series, Munch's Oddysee introduces an additional race for saving (the Fuzzles), allows the player to control two heroes, lets the Mudokons to fight back (to an extent) and adds an anti-animal testing message to its range of anvils, among other things.
There's spin-off Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath; set in a Wild West far from Rupture Farms, the story follows a bounty hunter called "Stranger" as he tries to make enough cash for a mysterious, life-saving operation. Released as an expansive title, Stranger's Wrath is more of a First/Third-Person Shooter that gives the player a critter-firing crossbow, as well as a more aggressive (and less platform based) experience.
After the release of Stranger's Wrath, Oddworld Inhabitants appeared to quietly disappear from the video games industry, leaving the story hanging and a long-awaited RTS called Hand Of Odd unreleased. However, in December 2010, the formerly X Box-exclusive entries finally received a cross-platform Updated Rerelease in the form of the OddBoxx, including every entry so far in the series, up for download on Steam and the Playstation Network.
In mid-2011, the company made an unexpected (but by no means unwelcome) return to the industry, and promptly announced high-definition remakes of Stranger's Wrath and Munch's Oddysee, which are to be released via digital distribution for PC, PlayStation 3 and Vita.
In 2014, the company release Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty, a ground up remake of the original Abe's Oddysee, which follows all of the same story beats, but fills them out with more background details. This game is controlled in 2D and has Abe mivng a=on a 2D axis, but is entirely rendered in real-time 3D. This game recieved a DLC level, Alf's Escape, which features Abe rescuing the fan favourite character Alf from a lifetime of serving the cruel hearted Sligs the mysterious Soulstorm Brew.
In 2021, after a full on ARG, OWI released their most recent game, Oddworld: Soulstorm. This game re-contextualises New 'n' Tasty as being the start of a rebooted Quintology meant to more closely align with the original vision. In this game, Abe may have escaped and burnt down Rupture Farms with his fellow 300 Mudokons (including Alf), but now must deal with the fact that this is the moment the scattered resistance has been waiting for. Abe must outrun his vengeful former boss, infiltrate other facilities to ignite revolutions there and discover the true nature of a far more vicious (and flammable) Soulstorm Brew.
- Abnormal Ammo: The Stranger, who uses critters he finds as ammo.
- Aborted Arc: As revealed by Abe's Exoddus' complete ending, Munch's Oddysee was originally going to have Abe rescuing his mother, Queen Sam.
- AI Is a Crapshoot: Played straight and yet subverted with the Greeters. See Stepford Smiler.:
- Airborne Aircraft Carrier: Vykker's Labs
- All There in the Manual: Most of the stuff we know about Oddworld is from the website and the Art Book.
- Almighty Janitor: Abe; Savior of the Mudokons, Avatar of the Shrykull, Janitor of Rupture Farms, Butt Monkey of the Mudokon people.
- Always Chaotic Evil: Averted. A cancelled game called Sligstorm would have featured an albino Slig who had to escape murder by his own masters due to his mutation and before he could be beaten by his mother into becoming a cruel jerk. The Sligs have a Freudian Excuse of having a mother who intentionally beats them to make them mean. Lulu is, at worst, a Harmless Villain, and the Mudokons are shown to have some rather racially supremacist notions in the backstory, giving the Glukkons a reason for their hatred. Also, Doc of Strangers Wrath, despite belonging to a species known for being Evilutionary Biologists, is not a villainous figure and is simply a doctor offering his services, even to members of hunted species such as Stranger.. So far, though, played straight with the Wolvarks.
- American Kirby Is Hardcore: Inverted. In the Japanese release of Abe's Oddysee, Mudokon Pops are popsicles shaped like Mudokons, rather than the severed heads impaled on popsicle sticks from the American version. In Abe's Exoddus, the toned-down version of the image was used in English-speaking areas as well.
- Art Major Biology/Art Major Physics: Stranger's Wrath never explains how Stranger manages to walk on two legs despite being built like a centaur, let alone how he manages to cram two bid curly horns under a hat and what is essentially a small pony's body into human size/shape trousers and boots. However, it can be justified as an Acceptable Break From Reality.
- Biology: In the first two games, getting gored by a saw/drill (or shot excessively by a slig) will cause the character to shatter like a clay model and leave behind no viscera, blood or organs. Granted, ratings and graphical limitations exist, but the fact they are games based around industrial animal processing makes their absence questionable.
- Artificial Limbs: The Sligs have cybernetic legs.
- Auction: For the last can of Gabbiar (Gabbit eggs)
- Badass: Stranger. Just Stranger. He has a Healing Factor in the form of shaking away the pain. He's a Steef. Lastly, he's a Bounty Hunter, but he Doesn't Like Guns, so what does he do? He uses a high-powered, double-barreled Automatic Crossbow that shoots small, but deadly, animals. Heck, one of the Klakkerz and Doc Bandam call him a badass.
- Bee-Bee Gun: Stranger uses bees as machine-gun bullets.
- Bee People: The Mudokons and the Glukkons are both eusocial species, with the Mudokon queens being held captive and the Glukkon queen residing in a palace.
- Better to Die Than Be Killed: Mudokons will attempt to kill themselves if you let them down or everyone on the screen are dying
- Big Bad/Big Bad Duumvirate: Molluck, in the first game. General Dripik, Vice President Aslik, Director Phleg, and the Brewmaster in the second, and Humphrey and Irwin in the third. Sekto in Stranger's Wrath.
- Big No: Lulu does this during the ending cutscene for Munch's Oddysee. Lampshaded twice. First, when he lets it out, some Mudokens well outside of Vykkers' Labs hear it and respond in confusion ("What was that?" "Someone's pretty pissed."). Second, in the first of the two newspapers that appears in said cutscene, one of the headlines reads "Lulu: "Nooooooo!".
- Big Red Button: At the end of Exoddus in Soulstorm Brewery's boiler: "Absolutely totally never ever turn this wheel!" Guess what your mission is.
- Similarly in Abe's Oddysee, a literal big red (hand-shaped) button with a "DO NOT PUSH" sign. Story-wise you're supposed to press it but if you don't you just miss a cut-scene.
- Carnivore Confusion: When the Glukkons have hunted their livestock to the brink of extinction, Mullock suggests using the cleaning staff as a substitution.
- Cinematic Platform Game: The first two games, at least.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: The Glukkons.
- And Sekto, from Stranger's Wrath.
- Crapsack World: Oddworld, so much.
- Debut Queue: The initial plan for the franchise was a five game series, starting with Abe - each additional game would add another new character to the playable party and be titled "Newcharacter's Oddyssee". The other mentioned character who would have joined the team would have been "Squeek", a tiny and friendly parasite-like creature. a character named "Nod" was rumored to join the team after Sqeek.
- Doesn't Like Guns: The Stranger.
- Dragon Their Feet: See The Man Behind the Man.
- Dystopia: Oh so much.
- Electronic Eyes: The Sligs sport heads-up-display and pilot visors. Their inherently poor eyesight is a strategic point.
- Even Evil Has Standards: The Vykkers reportedly gross out their corporate partners with their Mengele-like medical experiments. Keep in mind, that some of their partners are individuals willing to murder 30 employees for a single's escape and gas an entire factory to death to prevent a meltdown.
- Eternal Engine: The majority of Abe's Oddysee.
- Everything's Better with Chickens: Klakkerz
- Everything's Worse with Bees: The bees that chase Abe in the first game. They will kill you if you stand still. The only way to get rid of them is to run past another Mudokon or Elum and pass the swarm off onto them - strangely enough, they won't be killed by them.
- Don't forget the Stingbees from Stranger's Wrath
- Everything Trying to Kill You: Justified, given that Abe is a wanted fugitive and, in the case of the guardian wildlife, is trespassing on sacred ground.
- Also justified in Stranger's case, who is revealed to be a Steef and thus is hunted down by the Clakkerz he used to do business with
- Evilutionary Biologist/Mad Scientist - The Vykkers.
- Evil Matriarch: Maggie and Skillya, the Glukkon and Slig queens.
- Also, the Outlaw Jo’ Mamma.
- Evil Poacher: Lefty Lugnutz
- Executive Meddling: The reason Abe lost a finger between the first and second games. (And by executive, we mean the Yakuza. Seriously).
- Also why Oddworld sadly left the business. While trying to find a publisher to host their newest game, they noticed that their potential partners kept wanting to renegotiate their contract. According to what they said in a Game Informer interview, this would have led to a cycle of Oddworld not getting paid while they jumped through hoops to please their partners. Not wanting any part in this, they simply called it off and closed up.
- Eye Scream/Wipe That Smile Off Your Face: In order to maximize productivity, mudokons may be subject to lips being stitched shut to prevent talking and eyes sewn shut to keep miners compliant.
- Fantastic Racism: The critical event that sparked everything in the story was a crater the shape of a Mudokon hand appearing on one of Oddworld's moons, which led to Mudokons believing it signified them as Oddworld's chosen race and lording it up over their nearby rivals, the Glukkons, who turned to industry and greed in response and ended up enslaving nearly all other species on Oddworld starting with the Mudokons. Oopsy.
- Fartillery: You can posses and explode your farts in the second game after drinking brew.
- Five-Man Band: What the series would have ended with, had it not been nixed.
- Flip Screen Scrolling: In Abe's Oddysee and Abe's Exoddus.
- Fourth Wall Mail Slot: Alf's Rehab and Tea
- Freudian Excuse: The Sligs. See Always Chaotic Evil
- Gaia's Lament: All of the games take place in both barren environments decaying from over-harvesting and the sinister factories of the respective Big Bad(s).
- Gaiden Game: Abe's Exoddus was designated as outside the quintology.
- Stranger's Wrath was also considered completely outside the quintology, instead acting as a spin-off of sorts to expand the Oddworld backstory.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: The fact that Rupture Farms, Necrum Mines, FeeCo Depot, Slig Barracks, Bonewerkz and Soulstorm Brewery are all vastly larger than the facilities in Munch's Oddysee may qualify. Also, all Glukkons sound the same in Exoddus, despite Dripik, Phleg and Aslik all having different voices in cutscenes
- General Failure: It's a wonder how General Dripik got his position, considering he cannot remember his own name. Either that, or he has stage fright.
- Glass Cannon: Stranger in the latter half of his game, where he's stripped of his upgrades is outed as a Steef. However, he later gains greater ammo and the fact that he's no longer a bounty hunter means that he's less compelled to keep enemies alive.
- God Save Us From the Queen: Maggie and Skillya, the Glukkon and Slig queens, the former being The Man Behind the Man and the latter of which is the Slig race's collective Freudian Excuse. On the flipside, there's poor old Sam, the Mudokon Queen.
- Green Aesop: Pretty much the theme behind most of the the games.
- Guide Dang It: Saving all the Mudokons is hard enough as it is... so of course there are secret screens hiding even more. And in both Oddysee and Exoddus, one of them is on the first screen of the game.
- Hell, in one instance there is even a secret area hidden inside another secret area.
- In Abe's Exoddus, screens with access to secret screens have brew bottles lying around, making it slightly easier. Oddysee is not so consistent (although you can often hear snoring Sligs, and sometimes see falling debris).
- Novice players beware - in Abe's Oddysee you are never told in-game that you should rescue your co-workers, or precisely how (although they do explain some of it in the manual). In fact, the first time a sign instructs you how to save anyone, you've already passed ten of the 99 mudokons you can save.
- Homage - This game is highly influenced by Orwell's ideas of dystopia and the game itself contain several homages to his works, e.g. quotes from Nineteen Eighty-Four appear in Abe's Exoddus' scroll signs.
Abe: I saw what their next product was going to be -IT WAS US!!!!!
- Human Resources: The game begins in Abe's Oddysee when Abe finds out the Glukkons are planning to launch "Mudokon Pops", and in Abe's Exoddus he discovers that Soulstorm Brew contains the bones and tears of Mudokon workers.
- Invisible President: It's never stated outright who the President (as opposed to Vice President Aslik) of FeeCo Depot is. Strong possibility it was Molluck, though, and the position hadn't been filled in the short space of time between Oddysee and Exoddus.
- Karma Meter: Determines what ending you get.
- Kent Brockman News: The "Magog On March" flash news you can watch in Exoddus. Of course, Hilarity Ensues.
- The Messiah: Abe and Munch. Squeek and a fourth and fifth guy if they ever show up, too.
- Lighter and Softer: Munch's Oddysee is quite a bit more lighthearted compared to the dark themes and atmosphere of the first two games.
- Last of His Kind: Many of the "good" species find themselves in their predicament, pushed to extinction by the Glukkon's industrial parks, and then you have to just barely save them.
- Loads and Loads of Races: Mudokon, Glukkon, Vykker, Steef, Grubs, Gabbits, Oktigi, Interns, Sligs, Clakkerz, and Wolvarks - and there would have been more had the series finished. An attempt to justify the immense diversity of sentient life on the planet is made by stating that Oddworld is 10 times the size of Earth.
- Ludicrous Gibs: In the first two games, releasing control after possessing something made it explode violently, and that's excluding many other gruesome kinds of death.
- Malevolent Architecture: Of course Rupture Farms and Soulstorm Brewery have No OSHA Compliance.
- The Man Behind the Man: Inverted, via Dragon Their Feet: Molluck, the Big Bad of Oddysee, is revealed to have been the superior of all of Exoddus Big Bads. Played straight with Queen Margaret and Molluck, and another possible example comes with the Khanzumerz, a nebulous group who are the purchasers of Magog products.
- Mind Control: Chanting allows you to possess Sligs. In Exoddus, you gain the ability to possess Glukkons, Scrabs, Paramites, and exploding farts as well.
- Mooks but No Bosses: The first two games. Since Abe is a One-Hit-Point Wonder, has no weapons apart from occasional stones or grenades and isn't exactly an expert fighter, that's fortunate.
- Multiple Endings: Each game has Good, Bad, Perfect, and Black endings. You get the Good Ending by saving enough of whatever you're meant to save, the Perfect by saving all of them, the Black if you not only don't save but actually kill most of them, and the Bad otherwise. In the first game, getting the Perfect ending unlocks a cutscene menu, while getting the Black ending gives you a replay with infinite grenades. In the second, the Perfect ending gives you a view of some concept art.
- Nice Hat: Stranger and the Outlaws
- Additionally, the Glockstars wear fancy pimp hats.
- Nintendo Hard: You have infinite lives, and you will need them.
- No OSHA Compliance: Working at Chernobyl in high-heeled shoes during the 19th century would be safer than working at the facilities in Oddworld.
ONLY 1236 WORK RELATED ACCIDENTS THIS MONTH. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!
- No Pronunciation Guide: The name of Shrykull is never said in the games, so whether it is "shrykol" or "shreekuhl" or something else is anyone's guess.
- One-Hit-Point Wonder: Just about anything slightly dangerous will kill Abe.
- Somewhat justified though, since being shot by trigger-happy guards, blown up by a bomb, carved by a buzzsaw, attacked by various ferocious creatures, crushed by a giant carcass, or falling from a 20 meters high ledge would likely kill anyone not Made of Iron. And this is actually averted with Fleeches, that only kill you after their tongues hit you ten times or so, as well as the bees in the first game.
- Perhaps Mudokons are very weak physically in general. Some of them can kill themselves by slapping their foreheads. Some are more resilient (won't die by the bees that can kill Abe) but perhaps they're stronger due to meditation.
- One Hundred Percent Completion: Rescuing all the Mudokons.
- Our Slogan Is Terrible: In the first two games, if you stop and read the LCD signs you will often see rather curious ads, generally joking on the ridiculous price of Glukkon products. "Scrab cakes: Huuummmm!!! It will cost you an arm and a leg!"
- Planet of Hats: The Glukkons, a whole race of money grubbing jerks.
- Pimp Duds: The Glockstars.
- Polygon Ceiling: In Munch's Oddysee the puzzle formula did not really work as well in three dimensions.
- Powerup Mount: Elum, which is a cross between a horse, a snail, and a cow.
- Prison Rape: Looten Duke fears being in a jail cell with Blisterz Booty again.
- Product Placement: The energy drink Sobe is a health power-up in Munch's Oddysee... which kind of wrecks the anti-corporate theme.
- Psychic-Assisted Suicide: One of the ways you are required to dispose of enemies.
- Putting on the Reich: General Dripik's outfit bears a strong resemblance to an Allgemeine SS uniform.
- Punch Clock Villains: The sligs and, to a lesser extent, the interns, who pretty much serve the glukkons for the various job perks. Being a jerk is quite literally part of the job. In fact, A's Rehab and Tea at one point had the aforementioned mudoken mention a slig getting beaten to death with his own arms for not being a complete jerk to the Mudokons and an intern being suspended from work for petting a fuzzle.
- Punny Name: Vice President Aslik
- Rule of Symbolism: The entirety of the series is an Anvilicious Green Aesop as far as plot basis is concerned; they all have the player controlling a Gaia's Avenger who eventually helps the cosmic and/or endangered natives fight back against sinister corporations and, in extension, The Man.
- Running on All Fours
- Scenery Porn: The first two games have beautifully rendered backgrounds, especially for a Playstation game.
- Schmuck Bait: Quite a few in the first two games. There is even one in the manual of Exodus, but in all honesty, if you trust a manual that tells you to kill all Mudokons for a reward you're pretty gullible to say the least.
- Sdrawkcab Name: Elum.
- Shake It Off: Stranger's method of regaining health is to literally shake off the pain and injury.
- Shoot the Dog: Literally. An advised tactic when controlling Sligs is to shoot their Slog pets so they can't cause you problems.
- Sissy Villain: Justified in Humphrey and Irwin's case, seeing as Vykkers are hermaphroditic.
- Squad Controls
- The Starscream: Vice President Aslik is implied to be this.
- Stepford Smiler: The Greeters are an unintentional example in-universe- they were originally Exactly What It Says on the Tin for the Magog Cartel, until they started zapping visitors. The Cartel converted them into security guards, keeping their smiles.
- Super-Powered Evil Side: One was planned for Munch called Roid.
- Talking to Himself: around 80% of all of the characters are voiced by Lorne Lanning, the co-founder of Oddworld Inhabitants
- The Reveal: Minor example in Abe's Exoddus, where Mudokon tears are revealed late in the game to be the other secret ingredient of Soulstorm Brew. Played much straighter in Stranger's Wrath (see below).
- Timed Mission: At the ends of Odyssey and Exodus, you must escape from Rupture Farms and Soulstorm Brewery before you and your fellow Muddokons are gassed.
- One of the final sections of Stranger's Wrath gives you 3 minutes to run through and climb up the collapsing inner structures of a dam. Stop for no one.
- Toilet Humor: The series as a whole loves fart jokes. In every game where Abe is playable, there's a button you can push to make him fart at will. Curiously, farts are a key part of Mudokon communication. Stranger never does anything so undignified, but you can bet that the Outlaws do it often.
- Fleeches are flushed down the toilet once they become to big to be kept as pets.
- Vice President Aslik appears to be in a toilet when you finally confront him.
- Tomato Surprise: It's revealed the Stranger is the last Steef, and his "mysterious, confidential operation" is an attempt to make him permanently bi-pedal so to prevent others hunting him.
- Took a Level In Badass: Just about everyone from the first two games in Munch's Oddysee. Abe is much better at possession (mainly due to Spooce), nobody dies in one hit, Native Mudokens are highly efficient at defending themselves, and Sligs now can come in the form of steroid-pumped "Big Bro" sligs.
- Unwinnable: Nearly. In Abe's Oddysee, In the final level, if you get the bad ending, it sends you back to a certain point to try to allow you to save enough Mudokons for the good ending. If you already killed or missed 49, there are exactly 50 mudokons between the point it sends you to and the end of the game. You can win, but you have to save every single one.
- The ending of Oddysee drops you into the boardroom; failing to use Shrykull gets you shot and captured, but using it forces you to either suffocate when the timer reaches zero or to shut it off and get captured anyway.
- Updated Rerelease: Stranger's Wrath is going to have a PlayStation 3 version.
- Urban Legend of Zelda: The supposedly planned game "Nod's Oddysee" was confirmed to be a hoax by Word of God.
- Vaporware: Hand of Odd, some kind of multiplayer strategy game.
- Variable Mix: Really sets the mood, especially during possession.
- Video Game Caring Potential: Trying to rescue all 399 Mudokons (99 in the first, 300 in the second)
- Lead the blind Mudokons out into the portal
- Video Game Cruelty Potential: Finding new and interesting ways to kill Abe & co.
- This game is notable for it! Try possessing a Slig and killing one of the Mudokons. If there were other Mudokons nearby, they will start hitting themselves in a suicide attempt. Unless you go back to Abe and apologize to them, they will succeed in killing themselves.
- In Stranger's Wrath, attacking the Clakkerz is understandable, since they drop Moolah and they're rude to you anyway. But the Grubbs? Who not only don't drop Moolah, but apologize when you bump into them and worship you as their savior? That's pretty cold.
- In the first two games, if you slap a Mudoken, he'll slap you back. Place two Mudoken's next to each other, stand on the same space as one of them and slap the other. Then duck and roll away. The two Mudokens will exchange slaps until one of them dies.
- Video Game Cruelty Punishment: Did you enjoy killing or ignoring all those Mudokons? Enjoy the "bad ending"...
- Vocal Evolution: Abe's voice is much lower in Abe's Exoddus than it was in Abe's Oddysee, to symbolize how Abe has grown as a character following the first game. Lorne Lanning later realized that Abe's soft voice from the first game was essential to his essence and charm, and in Munch's Oddysee, his tone is a mixture of the two, but closer to his voice from the first game.
- Weak but Skilled: Sure, Abe's not a physical powerhouse, but he's still the biggest threat to the Glukkon industrial monopoly and is slowly liberating the Mudokon species.
- What Could Have Been: Munch's Oddysee was going to be a MUCH bigger game, but limited time and not advanced enough technology prevented it from being so. This isn't even getting into the canceled games like Slig Storm and Hand of Odd.
- The post for Debut Queue and Always Chaotic Evil imply that either Abe's Exodus and the cancelled fifth game were meant to be about Squeek and Nod, or that Sligstorm was meant to close the franchise.
- Widget Series: Most definitely a WHAT (Weird Humorous American Thing)
- X Days Since...: Inverted in the first game: One of the scrolling information bars in Rupture Farms, a meat packing plant, reads "Only 1,234 work related injuries this month! Keep up the good work"
- (not including remakes and ports by third-parties)
- Since the Abe games are all set on continent Mudos, Strangers Wrath was made to give an insight into other areas, and wasn't going to count as the one of the main quintology games.
- Since all the employees are trigger happy psychopaths, there really isn't an excuse for falling for this one.