As a game with multi-generational ports Stranger’s Wrath shows that it will simply not go away, and with good reason. With a nice balance of FPS and platforming Stranger’s Wrath successfully checks many so many boxes in the gaming industry. My favorite box being that of the script and voice acting but we will get back to that in a bit.
First let us start off with the design aspect. The Oddworld team has never failed the gaming community when it comes to character, world, or story. From Abe’s to the unmade tail of Fangus Klot the concept art is always something to drool over. Mix that with stories that make you care about the characters and you will always have something special. And Stranger’s Wrath is no exception to that. The tale of the wanderer with an unknown past that he is trying to put more and more distance between him and it. A plot that can only described as a an old freight train, slow building but unstoppable when the reaching full speed.
Now on to the script. While the voice acting can come across laughably slow throughout the game it is still very nice. It is a lovable mix between the worst Clint Eastwood film you have ever seen and Duke Nukem. Catch phrases being thrown around like “Chump cashing time” and misheard passwords such as “Mole’s… ass?”, as opposed to molasses, add a soft chuckle to the wonderful stupidity of it all. And then you have the surfer style speech of a primitive yet spiritual species to get something truly unique. But even with all of that the single most unique aspect of the game isn’t in character design or the back and forth lines. It lies in the ammunition.
For an FPS weapons are always seen as a priority for the game but rarely for the design team. Function over form, if form is even considered at all. But in Stranger’s Wrath they found a way to balance the two. Using a double-crossbow the player has to collect live ammunition to use in his hunt for money and a new life. From skunks that act as stun-grenades to spiders which can bind an enemy and more. Not only interesting concepts but no time was wasted on the design of the creatures looking at your from your wrist as you play.
I would say there is nothing about this game that fails but being over a decade old many will turn their noses up at the graphics, even after the HD remake. Still it is one of those games that when remembered will bring a smile to players of old and hopefully an interest to those who never had the opportunity to play. And with ports across multiple systems, including phones, there should be no reason to give this game a try. But that is it for this installment of Retro Review. Next time we will be looking at… Who knows. Happy gaming.