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A.P.I Review: ODT
Developer: Psygnosis France OPTIONS: S.SHOT
No.1   No.2   No.3
Distributor: Psygnosis 1 Player
Game Type: Action Memory Card
Review Date: December 1998 Dual Shock/Analog Compatible

Setting the Scene

When modern medicine can't stop a deadly epidemic that's sweeping the city of Calli, authorities decide the only hope for survival is the legendary green pearl - a gem believed to have magical healing powers. But the whereabouts of the pearl are as mysterious as the gem itself and the journey to retrieve it would take an expedition into treacherous uncharted land.

Only one man, Captain Lamat, is fit for such a risky, yet critical, mission. It's up to him and a highly trained, uniquely skilled crew of four to find the pearl and bring it home. After a successful search, the team loads its precious cargo and departs for Calli. But shortly after takeoff, a strange force sends the ship and its crew crashing into an enormous tower in the Forbidden Zone.

Now, the pearl is gone, the ship is severely damaged and - despite the fact that no life forms are supposed to live on this part of the planet - something creepy is lurking outside the ship. One of the crew must leave the ship to find the pearl while the others make repairs, and you're the lucky "volunteer." You see, the people of Calli aren't the only ones who covet the power of the green pearl. A legion of horrible mutants waits just outside your vessel, ready to put a gruesome end to your mission and call the sacred gem their own.


O.D.T. is a 3D action-adventure from Psygnosis France. Make your own mind up as to what the initials stand for, but the official line is 'Or Die Trying'.


The game opens up with a splendid CG intro depicting the large chested Julia Chase and Corporal Ike Hawkins going through a few fighting moves. Once your character has been selected the game story is revealed by yet another quality CG intro that ranks up there along with Psygnosis' best.

The 'real' game begins with your chosen fighter standing among the wreckage of the crashed air balloon. The effects immediately catch your eye as realistic raindrops fall from the darkened skies and explode with an almighty splash on contact with the ground. Flashes of lightening brighten up the darkened surroundings while intelligent use of light sourcing is witnessed as flaming wall lights flicker their orange glow across the polygon wall surface.

While the visual effects look rather cool the in-game graphics are ruined by poor camera angles, uncomfortable control system, jerky character movements and some terrible glitching and clipping of the scenery.

The third person perspective viewing angle works fine until you need to aim and shoot at an enemy. There is a button on the joypad that switches the view into sniper mode but this proves barely manageable and so difficult to target anything accurately. Eventually I just gave up and tried to ignore the enemies.

Rather than run, your character seems to jump and leap making accurate control almost impossible. Thankfully there is a walk button which allows more manageable handling but constant use drags the game down to snails pace.

Walking towards a 'solid' wall proves this statement to be an untruth. The walls are not solid but transparent allowing you to see through into the next area long before the gateway has been unlocked. It's all a bit messy and serves to distract from the strategic gameplay.

Sounds and Effects

The music and sound effects are quite creepy and help to create added tension to the gameplay. Wind howls and thunder clashes in the background. All the while the drip, dripping of water seeping through the rooftop rafters can be heard. There's the occasional sound of a blade of steel being drawn, the creaking floorboards and the horrifying groan of an awaiting monster in the darkness. Gently layered over top of this eery combination of sound effects is a simple series of notes being plinked out of a piano keyboard. Sends a shiver up your spine.


Before you can begin to play the game you must first decide on one from the three levels of difficulty. The controller can be configured to suit your own personal taste with face buttons used to shoot, jump, dodge and throw. Shoulder buttons allow you to aim, cast spell, sidestep and change weapon. Nothing fancy there!

Where ODT differs from the many other 3D action games is on the option screen where you get to select the game character you wish to play. As one of four player/characters you must venture alone into a Forbidden Zone, the most dangerous part of your planet, to explore and find a way to reactivate your grounded craft and save your people from death and destruction. The Forbidden Zone holds many dark and terrifying secrets and the experience is not for the faint of heart. Each have their individual attributes, weapons and fighting skills.

Colonel Ike Hawkins is a 32 year old with a temperamental character. What he lacks in spirit is more than made up for in weapon control and experience. 25 year old cartographer, Julia Chase is high in spirit but carries low armor and packs an awesome pair of bazookas. Chief Engineer Max Havok has virtually no spirit or experience but his weapons are all packed with a mighty punch. Archbishop Solaar is a strange and powerfully magic healer who is obviously high in spirit (being of the cloth) but lacks weapon control and battle experience. Each crew member's weapon use, physical attributes, special moves and magical abilities vary and will affect how he or she performs. As the game progresses, characters gain experience and their skills improve.

Beginning on the rooftops of the eery tower you must begin a search for a pearl that takes you through 30 massive 3D sectors of the tower, as well as many secret levels, within which you have complete freedom of movement. Each sector has its own atmosphere, ambiance and unique dangers, as well as puzzles that are integral to the environment. And, of course, trying to obliterate you at every turn are dozens of monsters, each with different weapons and fighting techniques.

The concept of the game is quite good and follows the path that so many 'dungeons and dragons' style game have taken. However with poor control and awkward viewing angles when firing a weapon the frustration factor quickly begins to creep in to the gameplay. Each time the player dies one life is lost and considering that you only begin with three then carelessness is certainly not affordable.

Value for Money

I suppose when a game has over 40 unique enemies, 4 unique characters to play, RPG elements, hand and weapon combat modes, multiple puzzles and traps, bosses and well over thirty levels of play, then value for money shouldn't be in question. Unfortunately it does when it becomes such hard work ploughing through it all.

GRAPHICS: 12/20 In gameplay terms ODT has much to offer and follows a similar pattern to other games of this genre such as Deathtrap Dungeon. Unfortunately the poor control and viewing angles make the playing of this game more of a chore than an enjoyment.
SOUND: 8/10
VALUE: 14/20


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