The tactical battles occur in real time and generally devolve into feverish mouse-clicking reminiscent of Diablo. The game offers a large number of behavioral settings for your agents, but in practice it's difficult to tell what effect these have on the events taking place. Even set to his most aggressive stance, a character will frequently fail to respond to an attack on a comrade just several feet away. Left to their own devices, agents will run for cover when under fire, sometimes right by a group of enemies. When actively selected, an agent's artificial intelligence completely switches off. He'll calmly stand in place while undead soldiers riddle him with bullets. Remembering to deselect a character once you've issued his orders is one of the game's key challenges.
However, once you accept the fact that Abomination's battles are really more about barely-controlled chaos than about advanced tactics, they become somewhat enjoyable and even a little addictive. The game's many frustrating issues are eased by the satisfaction of a well-executed grenade attack or the pleasure of actually managing to lure a group of the Faithful into a successful ambush. The unpredictability and short length of the missions actually make you want to keep playing once you start.
Abomination also includes a very complete set of multiplayer options. The game supports direct modem and serial links, IPX, and TCP/IP. The manual even states that there is a "play by e-mail" option, though it's somewhat disingenuous since it really amounts to nothing more than the exchanging of saved games so that several people can individually experience the same randomly created campaign. Up to four people can play cooperatively through the standard game, and as many as eight players can compete in multiplayer-only modes, such as capture the flag, deathmatch, hold position, and a few other variations. A collection of canned speech clips is included to facilitate communication between players, and the multiplayer gameplay is generally stable. There's even a free matchup service offered by Eidos. But even so, multiplayer Abomination just isn't very fun. The confusion inherent to the game does not lend itself particularly well to cooperative or competitive play. It simply becomes more of a chore to coordinate actions with your teammates.
Abomination's tag line is "Action Strategy Mayhem." It should be subtitled "not in that order." Mayhem is Abomination's dominant component, while strategy is a distant, distant third. Yet there's something compelling in the game's particular brand of mayhem, and as such, you may find yourself enjoying it against your better judgment.