ODT: Or Die Trying
This has won an award already. The award for the most aptly named game ever. Why? Because laying before you is the most horrific labyrinth of mutants, deadly traps and killing machinery since It’s A Knockout. There won’t be a custard pie in sight here though.
Flying home with a life saving-green pearl to end an epidemic on their home planet, our four hardy adventurers are suddenly struck down in a mysterious storm which causes their air ship to plummet earthbound. This is where the adventure begins and what a blinder it is.
Choosing one of four characters: a weapons expert, a professional fighter, a strongman or a healer, you must undertake the stuff of nightmares and traverse the type of environments that Lara Croft would have to change her knickers in. Firstly, because the airship is damaged, there are dozens of gas cylinders scattered about that need collecting to get you airborne. Secondly you have to find the pearl’s protective casing that has also been spread far and wide. Add to these already the mammoth tasks (and believe us they are huge mumma mammoths we’re talking about) a host of beasties that are armed to the fangs with heavy artillery and you’ve got ODT – or as we call it – Oh Dear… Trouble.
Luckily your character a few tricks up their sweat drenched sleeves to help them out, including some vicious spells, more on those later.
The versatility of the feisty foursome is tremendous and would put Ms Croft to shame as with just about everything in ODT. Admittedly the fluidity of movement is nowhere near as smooth as the long-haired Viagra substitute, but what moves there are would knock her pretty little socks off. These guys can out-manoeuvre the wiliest of opponents when mastered not even scuffing their knees!
Somersaulting, then performing a double back-flip to evade a barrage of lasers soon becomes second nature. They can also creep up on the enemies, scurrying from crate to crate, ducking in the shadows and letting a hail of bullets loose before diving a triple forward roll into the darkness again. If you happen to be blasted off a ledge and are quick enough you can hold onto the edge then heave yourself up on your elbows and carry on shooting, dangling above oblivion. A host of other unique moves pop up during the game which your character must deal with before moving on. Climbing into a huge mounted gun turret then revolving it around the screen blasting everything is a noted highlight. We’re not sick, we’re just big gunned.
OLD DOVE TRICK
Spells can also be collected to help along the way, but the use of them is limited at first, and this is where the RPG element kicks in. Depending on which character you are, it’s possible to gain experience in different areas and learn how to handle the power-ups that are scattered about. Carrying around a host of spells before having enough experience is a prerequisite but well worth the wait, because once a spell is learned the potential destruction is creamy! The AI of the scum that inhabit ODT prevents them from being cannon fodder though and the majority will put up a fight when in large numbers. When singled out they may run away screaming like a big mutant mummy’s boy. This makes squeezing the trigger even more tempting.
Although ODT plays like a devious dream and is overflowing with the kind of things undertakers rub their palms at, the landscape is sometimes so dark and claustrophobic it makes every step an act of caution. Being able to judge the end of a ledge is often put solely down to faith and if you don’t get your distance right then, you’re quickly dipped in batter and served at Mr Monster’s kebab house.
With Tomb Raider 3’s omnipresent pair of mammaries looming on the horizon, it had better be bloody good because, although ODT is nowhere near as smooth and polished a game as Tomb Raider, it’s boasting some impressive stats. Mind-twisting puzzles coupled with an atmosphere so eerie baby eagles could nest in it, topped off with the meanest beasts and heaviest weaponry, this monster game is a huge challenge. If you dare to except the challenge of ODT it won’t treat you fairly, it will confuse you, hurt you and intimidate you. It will treat you like a rag doll and spit in your face. Fight back though and you will enjoy every blood soaked minute of it. It’s a lot like life, really (or women).