Poor port of a great game.
Flashback itself is a great game, and they didn't change anything in the missions or actions of the main character (Conrad). The graphics are really clean and the cut-scenes are an improvement on the SNES, Genesis, and Sega CD versions (about the same as the 3DO).
Sluggish controls, slowdown, lack of dedicated button for the menu, bars on the sides of the screen.
The Bottom Line
Flashback is a great game for the unique character movement, challenging action, and fun levels. Just to provide some background, I've played this game on the Sega Genesis, Sega CD, 3DO, SNES (and Super Famicom), and...unfortunately, the CD-i. So, I've got a relatively good feel for how the game SHOULD play. The graphics and animation show a substantial polish uncommon for action games and the story adds a neat sci-fi flavor. The game is broken down into digestible chunks accessed using easy to remember passwords. All these positive traits are present on every release of the game. The CD-i adds three negative aspects to this fine game: slowdown, poor controller layout, and odd screen layout.
First, the most distracting problem: slowdown. The CD-i is a "more advanced" machine than either the SNES, Genesis, or Sega CD. So why, when the game plays fine on those systems, does it suffer so much on the CD-i. When more than three characters are moving on the screen at a time, the controls become sluggish and unresponsive. Of course, this is in the heat of battle and failing to get the character turned around in time to dispense some copper-jacketed justice results in more untimely deaths than warranted.
Speaking of deaths: the controller itself bears a little of the burden for the failures as well. Maybe this is just me, but it seems when I need to draw the gun quickly and fire I tend to instinctively hit the wrong buttons. I think part of the issue is that the button layout on the CD-i controller requires you to access the item menu by holding "down" and hitting one of the buttons. I think this subconsciously makes it harder to associate the primary purpose for the button due to it having two functions. Additionally, it seems very difficult to roll without having the gun drawn. Not critical, but a bit of an annoyance factor.
The final issue for me is the presence of two static, non-game related bars with kind of a camo/marbled design on the sides of the screen. These bars eat up a substantial amount of real estate. Also, sometimes it's unclear whether there is a wall to the side or you can walk to the next screen. I'm not sure why they did this except for, perhaps, a resolution difference between the CD-i and other systems. Again, this is something that is only on the CD-i release, not any other system.
Overall, this is really only recommended for CD-i collectors. While it is the worst version of Flashback, it is one of the best games for the CD-i (as sad as that is). It's significantly more expensive than the other versions (except for the Atari Jaguar version) so if you just want to play the game get it for another console.