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Reviewed: Odium
Author: Chris Kim       Date: December 17th 1999
Page: 2

Odium takes a lot in gameplay mechanics and in style to the console favorite, Final Fantasy Tactics, which wasn't much of a Final Fantasy game in the way it played. Odium, like Final Fantasy Tactics has a similar battle system and character leveling up. In other ways, the other "overworld" or adventuring part of the game follows in a somewhat similar fashion that Septerra Core did, but not too closely. Best described, Odium is a cross hash of some of the elements of Final Fantasy Tactics with a taste of the Final Fantasy series. The time period in which Odium takes place is pretty much the current day generation, with current weapons like rifles, napalm launchers, missiles, and flame throwers (or according to Nocturne, 1927).

Devistated Place
Get the Gloves
Dawn of Battle

With most role playing games, excellent storylines and immersive storylines are a must. Odium doesn't exactly have the most gripping storyline, unfortunately, Odium only possesses a mediocre storyline. The story pretty much fills in on a Russian campaign, where NATO forces are sent because of some mysterious bombing. The bombing has caused some havoc in the recent city, and nothing but bad has been coming out of it. The player is put in the role of Cole Sullivan, a NATO commanding officer with two recruits along the way to figure out what has happened. Of course, the bombings reveal some very interesting things, and of course, there are mutants and some enemy monsters the player must kill to beat the game, blah. Doesn't sound too interesting to most gamers, the main plot follows a fairly linear fashion, which isn't a huge problem, for some gamers, maybe, but the game plays well enough. There are submissions, but aren't too relevant to the story.

Rifle Shot
Zoom and Pop
Not Too Plesant

There really isn't much to Odium, pretty much the game consists of simply exploring a location, getting into battles, talk and discover stuff, move on and repeat the process over and over again. The combat system, while pretty very intuitive and great fun to play with at first, gets extremely tedious, repetitive, and boring after about five battles. The intensity seems to just diminish. The battles work in a turn based fashion, with all player and enemy moves being executed at separate times. The layout of the system is in a grid like fashion, with the characters having a limited square movement. The characters can move in the eight directions, forward, back, left, right, and diagonally. The down side of the battle system is the use of squares instead of hexagons, which imposes a smaller move radius and range of motion. The range that players have all depend on the weapon they use. There are several different weapon types, exploding, direct fire, and hand weapons, all with varying degree of damage and effectiveness. The weapons will be discussed in a bit, back to the battle system. The battle system can be fun with the strategic placement and strategies used for the most effective way of killing of the enemy. Unfortunately, one of the largest problems that plague the game is the very inconsiderable few resources available. The player almost always ends up having to engage in hand to hand combat because of limited ammo supplies, healing is used very sparsely because of the lack of healing supplies available. The enemies are also very over powering at some stages in the game. One of the more problems with the battle system is the horrible line of sight mechanism. Rather than being able to use all the directions, some weapons (like the pistol), are limited in a shooting radius straight, unlike the rifle, the pistol can't be shot in a diagonal direction. Another gripe is the lack of ability to aim the shot. The player cannot shoot over other enemies, the shot must be directly through the enemy, even if the front enemy is a one inch peep and the behind guy is a ninety foot giant. One of the cooler parts about the combat system though is the ability to interact with the surroundings... well some of it anyway. Barrels can be shot to disperse a major flame to attack on nearby enemies, a cool effect.

Fire is Cool
Fire is Very Cool
Extrmely Cool!

Adventuring in the game is rather simple and nothing complex. Click on the map, go there, battle if necessary and find the item to advance to the next part of the game. The elements usually consist of finding a specific item, and then finding the specific location that the item reacts to and that is all that is required. The team travels in a size of five or smaller, any of the characters can maintain lead control. Finding the next item to use isn't even trivial, as just right clicking on the object automatically uses the item, of course, this is likely ease of use, but not being able to ponder the clues is a bit easy.

Experience with all RPG games is a crucial part of any game to advance in the game. Experience is simply gained when any player attacks on enemy and gets a hit. Experience is pooled to several categories, each corresponding to a set of characteristics. The only complaint is though, that the hit point pool is extremely small, the enemy hits usually range from ten to forty, with the forty damage hit being nearly one third of the total life. Unlike most RPG's, level up's are calculated during battle, so the player's statistics are added up during battle, not after. Aside from that, nothing really special in experience. Some characters also have special abilities, or powers to help aid the party.

One of the largest downfalls of Odium are its complete lack of puzzles. One would think and RPG would contain puzzles, but Odium puts all the focus of the game in the narrative portion of the game, slowly revealing parts and bits of the story that is at hand.

Another odd exclusion was any use of magic, of course, this simplifies the game down, but it doesn't really feel very complete with so little inventory stuff. Almost all the weapons have a similar effect, just with slight variations, like spread fire or explosion. There is only one type of armor, vest that give varying amount of protection against attacks. Then the cure of various elements and healing items.

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Added:  Friday, December 17, 1999
Reviewer:  Chris Kim
Page: 2/5

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