Stranger’s Wrath was too unusual for its own good. That’s probably why EA never advertised it. 2005 was the year of Call of Duty 2 and Indigo Prophecy. Stranger’s Wrath began in an Old West town of chicken-men called New Yolk City.
Stranger himself was weird, a mixture of man and ram and wildcat. Take some hits and he will amass a hide full of arrows — you recover his health by shaking them off like a cat shaking off water. He shoots as you might expect, in first person, but if you want to cover more ground you switch the perspective, Stranger drops onto all fours, and you prance around the lush wildlands at speed. I loved it. If you’re going to have a fantastical videogame, why not control someone that acts and animates like something not of this world.
There was one thing in the game that let me down: “live ammo”. From Stranger’s crossbow he shoots rodents and bugs instead of bullets. The shooting itself is fine, but the instructions describing collecting these as “hunting”. That sounded enticing. I imagined setting traps to catch boombats, and flinging the bats like bombs at the enemies, and the booms would disturb a habitat of stunkz (which are used as smelly smokebombs), which would escape into the level for you to catch. In practice, there’s really no difference between Stranger’s “live ammo” and ammo in any generic FPS — it’s just lying around.
After Stranger’s Wrath, Oddworld went on hiatas. A mere 16 years later, in April 2021, they released another original game (Soulstorm is ostensibly a remake, but there can be doubt it is a new entry into the series, unlike New N’ Tasty). With Oddworld alive again, can there be hope for a Stranger 2 that does it even better? I would certainly love to step back into Stranger’s boots.