Flashback: The Quest for Identity (SEGA CD)

Critic Score
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
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Written by  :  *Katakis* (37904)
Written on  :  Dec 27, 2010
Platform  :  SEGA CD
Rating  :  5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars

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Excellent action/adventure game that uses a ton of movie references

The Good

After the success of Another World, Delphine decided to cash in on its success and create Flashback. The game was supposed to be top secret. Most game magazines were offered no information about the game, and they assumed that it was the sequel to Another World, due to the development house and that it was based on games such as Prince of Persia. However, this is not true as AW's real sequel is Heart of the Alien.

In every action/adventure game like POP, the character's background is laid out for you and what the character must do first. However, Flashback is subtitled The Quest for Identity for a reason. After crash-landing on an alien planet, it is up to the player to discover who he is and how he got into this mess. The best way to do that is walk around and pick up something that will tell you what you need to do next.

There are a wide variety of moves that you must accomplish to get through the game. Every one of Conrad's movements was done with rotoscope animation, a technique used previously in Prince of Persia and Another World. A few moves, such as the run-and-roll, take time to get used to.

The graphics make you feel that you are actually walking around in the future populated by alien creatures who have no respect for humanity. I know that Flashback is set sometime in the a future, judging by the signage in some levels and the use of superior technology such as teleportation. The sound effects are excellent as provide a realistic experience. As soon as you enter the jungle planet, and hear the sounds of insects chirping in the trees. And on each level, you always get to hear any creature activity in the distance.

As usual, there are a wide variety of alien creatures that get in your way. Most of the creatures are a bitch to deal with, especially those slime creatures you encounter near the end of the game. It's just a matter of timing and the right moves. For example, it's easy to roll left or right to get away from the aforementioned slime creatures, but performing the roll at the wrong time causes damage to yourself.

Like most action/adventure games of its time, Flashback allows the player to pick up a huge range of items - including ID cards, keys, force fields, and even his own gun - and you can actually see Conrad pick up something. The most useful item is the tele-receiver which you get much later in the game; and with it, you can throw it anywhere, and using the equipped controller, you can immediately warp there. This method is not only ideal for getting past some obstacles in the game, but also attacking enemies at different angles. Everything that was present in most action/adventure games is included in the game – locked doors, lifts, on/off switches, and the like.

Flashback uses a ton of movie references. But the most obvious one is on level three where you participate in a game of Death Tower which is based on The Running Man, in which the object is to reach the top of the tower to win a ticket to Earth, blasting enemies and getting past obstacles in the process. Before that, you hunt down a cyborg on the second level – a homage to the Blade Runner movie. Earth itself consists of nothing more of large towering structures in a smoggy sky. Not to mention the reference to the Alien films in the final levels.

Delphine decided to make the game a bit easier for people that have just gotten into the game. First, there are save points scattered throughout the levels, and also energy generators which you can use to recharge your shields. The best thing about the generators is that they recharge your shield at full capacity and not by individual increments, allowing you to take hits while you are defeating creatures, and going back to refuel. Without the use of generators, you are allowed to inflict damage five times before it's game over.

Although there were a handful of ports, I believe the Sega CD version is superior. Not only has it got a number of pre-rendered cinematic sequences with accompanying voiceovers, replacing the cartoon look of the cut-scenes, but it also has voiceovers during gameplay. The included CD-Audio tracks for each level further add atmosphere to the game.

The Bad

There is nothing that I noticed during the game.

The Bottom Line

Flashback uses some elements from Another World and takes them to the next level. It is also unique in the way that players are given no story on the character and must find that out for themselves by walking around each level and picking up things then using them. The rotoscoping is excellent, and there are plenty of moves that you have to perform if you want to survive. The great graphics make you feel that you are actually there, and the sound effects bring atmosphere to the game. If you like Another World and want more of that puzzle-solving and action, then give Flashback a go.