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Flashback: The Quest for Identity (DOS)

81
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
4.0
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Yeba (60)
Written on  :  Aug 09, 2001
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars

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Summary

NOT a sequel to Another World, but an excellent action game with adventure !

The Good

I want to be very clear : I played the game when it was released (and many more times after), I talked a lot about it with PC and Amiga gamers, so I just can't understand the reactions here.

First, let me get this straight : Flashback IS NOT a sequel to Another World. Yes, it is the same publisher, and then ? This very good game is due to Paul Cuisset and his team, while Another World is the work of one man only, Eric Chahi. Yes, it's the same kind of gameplay, and then ? The graphics are very different and so is the story.

Apart from that, Flashback is a very good game so it's no surprise it was a real hit at the time. It got very good ratings by video games magazines and sold quite well.

The first thing it offers is amazing graphics. The game has a very special style, quite easily recognizable although there are many different environments (jungle, futuristic city streets, underground stations, bars, a very special TV show and even a reactor you must repair... and I'm sure I forget some). The cut-scenes, in simulated 3D, are also nice. But what makes Flashback such a pleasure for the eye are the beautifully rendered, super smooth characters animations. The only other game which equals Flashback on this subject is Prince of Persia 2, but I really prefer Flashback.

Which leads me to the other key point in Flashback : controls. Ok, you might find it difficult at first. There are more keys than in your average platform game. But once you master it, oh my god how fun it is :-) Yes, I confess, I have spent some time just playing around, running then jumping and then rolling and pointing my gun at every tree, then getting up, climbing, etc... There is a real pleasure just manipulating your character. The only other title I had the same impression with was Tomb Raider (the first one). You do lots of combinations in every direction you can think of, and the result is smooth, fast and natural, beautiful. Tomb Raider was in 3D what Flashback was in 2D.

And this comparison is also not stupid when it comes to gameplay. Both are mainly action, platform games. Both have a few puzzles without which it would be too much repetitive. BUT Flashback also has a real story. I admit it, it's not extremely complicated. But to me, who have never liked consoles platform games, it was essential because it keeps you playing, wanting to know more. I see it like this : the gameplay is so well done that you have fun just because of the action ; but when it becomes a little bit harder, or a little bit long, then you accept it because you know it will soon change, and you will be told more about yourself.

Oh, yes, and the game becomes better after the beginning. When you arrive in the city, you'll have more freedom in your actions (and some nice new equipment, too). Oh, it's still pretty linear, but it's more than action/platform nevertheless. Well, it's more like Another World, in fact. This moment is a bit short, sadly, but it's really very good.

Last point, the Amiga version has superb sounds & music. On PC, it is just ok, and the sound setup may be difficult in these times of various and complex sound cards (if you have and old Sound Blaster 16 for example, no problem). I remember playing it with the Amiga connected to a good hi-fi system, that was awesome.

The Bad

First of all, yes, there is a lot of action and a little bit of adventure, not the opposite. But if you ask me, Another World had lots of action too, and I find Flashback easier.

Second, you need to master the controls. I think that's why some people don't like it nowadays. It's really similar to Prince of Persia : you have to be good in making jumps and so on. I personally don't play platform games, and I never had any problems with these two, on the contrary ; but I know a friend which just hates this kind of gameplay. So it's up to you.

Apart from that... Oh, yes, the end is much more difficult. The enemies (I won't tell you what they are...) are very fast, and you have to hit them many times. Prepare yourself to a few tries before getting used to them.

Which makes me think : there's a code-based protection. So check you got it if you traded this game or downloaded it on an abandonware site.

The Bottom Line

If you enjoyed the Prince of Persia or even the Tomb Raider series, don't hesitate, you should have fun playing Flashback (but note it's NOT in 3D, of course !). If you liked Another World and you don't mind a little more action sometimes, give this game a chance. It has (in my opinion) nicer graphics and a fine story, and, at least in France, it's a classic.