Genre: Action, Puzzle
Perspective: Side view
Visual: Fixed / flip-screen
Interface: Direct Control
Setting: Cyberpunk / dark sci-fi, Sci-fi / futuristic
Published by: GT Interactive Software Corp.
Developed by: Oddworld Inhabitants Inc.
Platforms: DOS, PlayStation (PSX, PS1)
Abe is a Mudokon, a member of a once prosperous race which has now been enslaved by the Glukkons, forced to work in their huge corporations. The food factories have found a new type of meat, delicious to all the inhabitants, though no one knows the recipe. Following his stomach, Abe eavesdrops on the corporate leaders' conversation, and makes the most frightening and disgusting discovery: his own race is that secret delicious food.
Alas, Abe has been spotted, and the guards are marching towards him. He must escape, but he can't leave his friends to the mercy of the Glukkons and their henchmen. He must rescue as many as he can, and tell the world the truth about what he has found out.
Abe's Oddysee is the first game set in the fictional Oddworld universe. It is a platformer with puzzle-solving elements, focusing on the portrayal of a weak, underpowered character in a grim and hostile world, who has to rely on his cunning to outwit enemies and overcome hazards. Abe is almost completely helpless: he cannot use weapons and is usually instantly killed by his brutal enemies if he confronts them directly. For this reason, most of the game involves careful exploration, timed movement, sneaking, and outsmarting the foes through various means: throwing stones to confuse them, luring them into traps, etc. Abe can run, jump, climb, tiptoe, crouch, and roll; in most areas these actions are essential to his survival. A few stages involve Abe riding a large animal known as Elum.
Abe's only special power is chanting, which he can use to stun certain enemies for a while or possess them. When Abe possess an enemy he gains his abilities: for example, possessing the body or a ferocious Slig allows the player to shoot from his machine gun, communicate with other creatures of his kind, and even commit suicide, clearing the way for Abe.
Chanting is also used to open "bird portals", which is the final action needed to bring a fellow Mudokon to safety. Before that, Abe needs to locate his enslaved friends and lead them out of the hostile environment by using a communication method called "Gamespeak". Gamespeak is a way of verbal communication through simple commands, which are assigned to various expressions, such as "Hello", "Follow me", "Wait here", etc. It can also be used to memorize passwords given to Abe by other Mudokons in a few areas. Many areas in which Abe can save Mudokons are hidden and not required to complete the game. However, the ending of the game differs depending on the amount of Mudokons saved by the player.
The game has pre-rendered background graphics and uses CG movies of similar style to advance the story between the levels.