His name may not be as renowned as the likes of Shigeru Miyamoto or Will Wright, but Oddworld Inhabitants' Lorne Lanning still has a notable reputation for crafting such a distinct world, filled with characters like Abe, Munch, and the Stranger. Nearly every aspect of Stranger's Wrath screams creativity -- for every gaming convention it employs, it redefines another. Nearly everything great about the game stems from its Oddworld take on the classic western.

Stranger's Wrath stars a mysterious character, unlike the other denizens of Oddworld, who exudes badassery with the best of them. His languid, slightly-Eastwood drawl is often cool, but generally just hilarious. He may talk slow, but his bounty hunting skills are top-notch. Stranger's goals are just as mysterious as his past, but as the game begins, he's trying to earn enough Moolah to afford some type of operation.



As the game continues, the story morphs considerably, building off of the Wild West aesthetic and expanding the scope of Stranger's place in Oddworld. The plot's too good to spoil, but it manages to allude to some pretty significant social issues -- Stranger is a pariah for a reason -- and the only downside is that the wonderful western motif evaporates towards the end of the game.

If you've ever been disappointed that Samus Aran, the most talented bounty hunter in Nintendo's galaxy, doesn't really spend much time actually hunting bounties, Stranger's Wrath is the game for you. The game plays out in a series of missions, in which you hunt down the hideout of a particular bandit, eradicate his minions, and nab your bounty. As a true bounty hunter, Stranger can use his versatile crossbow (more on that in a second) to capture enemies that have been killed or temporarily rendered unconscious. Baddies, and especially bounty heads, are worth more alive than dead, so it's up to you to devise your own strategy. Going in guns blazing is easier, but making better use of your weaponry will provide more money for upgrades and new items.

The Stranger's crossbow is an absolutely wicked weapon, and probably one of the most fun guns in game history. It supports eight varieties of ammo that can be loaded into two barrels. The default ammo is unlimited, but the other seven have to be resupplied. Or, rather, captured -- Stranger's repertoire of ammunition is made up of living creatures, each with a completely unique function. Some of them are very similar to your typical real-world weaponry -- Thudslugs are equitable to a powerful shotgun blasts, Stingbees rapidfire like a machine gun, and Boombats pack the explosive punch of a grenade.

The rest are considerably more creative. Stunkz release a putrid stench that causes enemies to stop mid-step and commence blowing chunks, which is a perfect time to capture them. Bolamites release a sticky webbing that temporarily wraps up enemies and leaves them struggling on the ground. Chippunks, who will talk to you while sitting on your crossbow and compliment your good looks, attract nearby enemies with their annoying, incessant chatter. And then there are the Fuzzles, who are like tribbles with teeth. They can be launched directly onto enemies or set like proximity mines, but the end result is the same -- baddies screaming and flailing their arms in futility.

Stranger's Wrath gives you every variety of ammo pretty early on, which may seem a tad disappointing at first, since it appears to eliminate the gradual acquisition of new abilities. But using the ammo in different ways is key to the game's fun, and there are plenty of different combinations that are extremely effective. Want to use a Chippunk to lure a group of henchmen into a dozen Fuzzles? Do it. Want to tie up someone up with a Bolamite and blast him with a powerful Thudslug while he struggles on the ground? Do it. Want to stall a group in their tracks with a nasty Stunkz and then blast them to smithereens with a Boombat? Do it. Want to...well, you get the idea.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.

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