O.D.T. is D.O.A.
So what does O.D.T. stand for, exactly? Well, the full name of the game is O.D.T. - Escape Or Die Trying. Get the picture? Pshaw.
There's plenty of dying present in this game, namely you. O.D.T. is something of a mix between Tomb Raider and Jersey Devil. Gameplay resembles Tomb Raider in that you get a third person view of your character who runs, walks, climbs, hangs, and jumps around the level solving puzzles. Jersey Devil comes into play when you find yourself balancing precariously over a bottomless pit all throughout the level. Describing this game as frustrating is an understatement.
The plot centers around the Nautiflyus, a big, balloony airship that's carrying mysterious cargo - a green pearl. Perhaps the pearl's powers caused the Nautiflyus to crash into a godforsaken hellhole, but who knows? Who cares?
You can choose to play as any one of the ship's four crew members, who have varying skills and attributes in terms of combat and magic. This is perhaps the best part of the game. There are loads of stats for each character that can be raised through experience and a sizable number of spells to learn.
The gameplay in O.D.T. leaves much to be desired. Most of it is based on balancing on ledges or jumping across bottomless pits. Instant death is a part of everyday life here, yet you start the game with only three lives. As in Tomb Raider, you can walk up to the edge of a drop and not fall. Some areas are so dark, you'll have to do plenty of walking to negotiate the tricky paths, thus slowing down the pace of the game dramatically.
I detest games that substitute bottomless pits for challenging gameplay. Don't get me wrong; falling to your death in a pit has traditionally been a part of action and adventure-oriented games for a long time and deserves its proper place in a game. I'd say if 10% of the gameplay involved bottomless pits, that's plenty. O.D.T. however, abuses this way too much and you'll go through several broken controllers trying to traverse the levels.
Even without the bottomless pits, the gameplay isn't all that interesting. Most of it is just searching levels to find specific items you need to repair the Nautiflyus. Collect twenty of these and fifteen of those, all hidden in strange places. Yeah, whatever.
O.D.T. could've been a pretty cool game, too, if it wasn't for the crappy gameplay. The graphics and FMV are outstanding. There's a lot of darkness in this game like in Tomb Raider 3, but nowhere near as irritating. Since you don't have the use of flares or other lighting devices, in some areas you'll have to wait for a strike of lightning to illuminate your path. Pretty nifty.
Character and monster graphics are all top-notch and look great. Polygons are smoother than butter. Outstanding textures offer good variety in types of terrain as well as making those monsters look really nasty. Those guys at Psygnosis (creators of the Wipeout series) really know how to make some great looking eye-candy.
Sounds (or lack thereof) suit the game perfectly. There's no annoying BGM from some trendy Gen-X grunge/thrash band, which one might expect in a game like this. Instead, you get Resident Evil/Parasite Eve style footsteps, howling winds, and lightning crashes - all adding to the ambience of the game.
I'm gonna tell you right now that this game's got limited appeal. If you liked and made your way through Jersey Devil, you'll probably enjoy O.D.T.. Otherwise, great sound, graphics, and FMV can't save this unreasonably frustrating game.