- NA release: N/A
- PAL release: N/A
- JP release: N/A
- Developer: FDI
- Publisher: Psygnosis
- N64 Magazine Score: N/A
ODT was an action game that released on PlayStation and PC. An N64 version was in development, but was cancelled. N64 gave a little blurb saying that it was due to Psygnosis having financial issues (not long after, they were absorbed into Sony), although N64 magazine stated “Not much of a loss as far as ODT’s concerned. Shame about F1, though”.
When a ROM was eventually found, the most surprising thing was that the N64 version was finished, and there were even specific NTSC and PAL versions of the game. However, the poor reception on PlayStation and PC combined with the cost of making cartridges probably influenced the decision to not release it.
ODT is a game clearly inspired by Tomb Raider, but set in a futuristic Jules Verne sci-fi mashup (your ship is called the Nautiflyus, which is just stupid). However, it completely lacks any charm, clever level design or fun that the Tomb Raider games had. Instead, it settles for clunky, low and tedious.
The controls would have been bad when it came out (as reviews on other platforms point out), and feel even worse now. Movement has you turning left and right with the analogue stick, holding a c button to slowly sidestep. The camera does not play nice at all, always at an odd angle behind you, to the point where you can’t see holes or gaps (in the image below, the “floor” has massive gaps) with no way to manipulate it. In some rooms, the camera becomes fixes and the movement feels completely wrong.
The shooting is also just bad. Your gun (you do obtain different kinds of ammo that act differently) sort of homes in on enemies, but not very well and the manual aiming is atrocious. The game also starts off with bat-like enemies that are the most difficult to hit.
There is a magic system in the game that does work well – hold R and press a C-button to use the assigned spell. It’s a while before you properly unlock one, so you’re already fed up before you get to use the spell system. You can also level up your characters and guns, but it’s not very interesting when the gameplay isn’t enjoyable.
The level designs also don’t help. They’re maze-like and mostly made up of small box rooms. You wander around, killing enemies, come to a locked door, backtrack, find a key, go back to the locked door and repeat far too many times. It does sometimes mix it up by having a switch instead of a key. While good games lock the entrances to areas, this game just locks the end, letting you progress through multiple long winding paths before letting you know you went the wrong way 20 minutes ago.
The levels also have platforming sections. With the poor camera and the terrible jumping (sometimes your main character jumps too short) they’re bad enough, but the game then adds crumbling platforms and moving platforms, which the controls aren’t equipped to begin with. To make matters worse, you can get through a gruelling platform section only to encounter a locked door, and you need to go all the way back.
ODT certainly had ideas of ambition. There are multiple characters to play as (including unlockable ones), the magic and upgrade systems are potentially good ideas and the world could be interesting if it wasn’t so ugly. They tried to to far too much with the controls that they ended up sacrificing the main movement of the game.
Sadly, ODT is a game with promise that just ended up squandering it inside far too much tedium.
With a CV comprising adidas Power Soccer and, er adidas Power Soccer International, Psygnosis’ French studio hasn’t got the most dazzling of gaming histories. However, with the fantastic ODT, it’s fortunes are about to take a rather rosy upturn.ODT preview, N64 Magazine #20
(Note: the developer was shortly shut down and absorbed into Sony)
Should it be finished?
It was! N64 owners certainly didn’t miss out on anything by this version being cancelled, but it is interesting to see the finished port.
Official ways to get the game.
The PC and PlayStation versions are available on Steam, however, I do not recommend these at all. This is from PIKO Interactive. The PC version is just a re-release of the original, no resolution/widescreen options. The game crashes a lot and the music flat out doesn’t work. The PlayStation version is set up poorly in an emulator (the Steam reviews even suggest using the ROM in a different emulator).
PIKO have said that their license includes the unfinished N64 version but, like Glover, don’t expect much other than an overly expensive release with Limited Run games.
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