Written by  :  Maury Markowitz (248)
Written on  :  Nov 05, 2001
Platform  :  DOS

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A classic in every sense of the word

The Good

OOTW is a truly groundbreaking game. The unique (for its day) graphics engine and a well thought out plotline combine to make one of the best adventures out there.

The graphics system drew everything, as opposed to using sprites. The result looked somewhat basic in terms of the detailing, but at the same time it didn't look like anything you'd seen before. The developer also took the time to make sure they put in lots of little details, in one instance you're in a room full of electric charge, and your hair stands on end. There are also a small number of "cutscenes" included, all drawn with the basic engine.

The game itself is basically a platform game, similar in many ways to Prince of Persia. However there are so many little details they added that make it work so well. For instance when you get captured at one point, you awake in a cage and below you is a guard. He's just arriving on shift it seems, because you can watch him take off his "jacket" before starting to walk about.

Timing is an important aspect of this game, and not in the traditional sense where you have to do things really fast. In OOTW you'll find that things happen on screens that you're not currently on - for instance in one case you need to protect your buddy while he opens a door (which takes a bit of time), and if you simply run off the screen while that's happening, he'll get zapped. So you walk over to another screen and hunker down while he works offscreen. In most games the entire world is on the screen you're on, not so in OOTW.

And somewhat surprisingly, considering the nature of the game, the story draws you in. This has always been the dividing line between good and bad games for me, Marathon might not have looked as good as Quake, but it was a lot more fun because of the story. Well OOTW delivers, even in what is a very small game, no mean feat.

The Bad

The only real problem I have is that the game is really really hard. This wouldn't be a bad thing on it's own but the game has no save feature. Instead each of the "areas" have to be played to completion, at which point you'll get a password to return to the new level you reached.

I found myself repeatedly trying a single level over and over trying to get past some specific problem, and half the time dying on some other problem I'd already solved. It could be very frustrating at points.

The Bottom Line

With a good walkthrough you can finish this in a day, and the Windows version (otherwise identical to the DOS and Mac versions) works great on everything, so go try it out.