Flashback: The Quest for Identity

aka: Flashback, Flashback (Enhanced CD-ROM)
Moby ID: 555
Amiga Specs
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Description official descriptions

The year is 2142. The player takes control of Conrad B. Hart, a man who has lost his memory. After barely escaping from hostile aliens, Conrad's bike crashes on an unknown planet. Conrad finds himself in the jungle, and from that moment on his quest for survival and his lost identity begins.

Flashback: The Quest for Identity incorporates elements of platforming, shooting, and problem-solving. The game can be described as a "cinematic platformer" (commonly referred to as Prince of Persia-style), following a design philosophy that was also manifested in Delphine Software's previous work, Another World. Compared to that game, Flashback focuses more on platforming and exploration of large levels.

While a large bulk of the gameplay is dedicated to running, jumping, and shooting enemies, there is also a considerable exploration element in the game, as well as some puzzle-solving. The player navigates Conrad through platform structures, performing various moves. It is possible to simply jump or do a longer run-and-jump, run, climb, hang off ledges, and pick up objects lying on the ground.

To defend himself, Conrad can shoot enemies with his gun and also use various objects (such as stones) to harm or distract them. Crouching and rolling are possible (and often essential) moves that can be executed during combat. The gun has unlimited ammunition; however, shields that Conrad uses to protect himself from attacks are depleted when he is hit and can be recharged at special stations. Though most environments in the game are hostile, there are a few locations that are devoid of enemies. The player is usually required to talk to characters, gather information, and complete tasks in an adventure-like fashion in these areas.

Most of the versions utilize cutscenes with polygonal vector graphics. The CD versions replace those with pre-rendered 3D animations. The Sega CD version also features voice-overs.

Spellings

  • פלאשבק: זיכרון גורלי - Hebrew spelling
  • フラッシュバック - Japanese spelling

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Screenshots

Promos

Credits (Amiga version)

25 People (20 developers, 5 thanks) · View all

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 86% (based on 60 ratings)

Players

Average score: 4.0 out of 5 (based on 308 ratings with 12 reviews)

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.

DOS · by Yeba (48) · 2001

Slighty Better then the Genesis version

The Good
Flashback: The Quest for Identity (1994) is a fast paced game that brilliantly combines the fast paced, action elements of a traditional side-scrolling, platformer with the more intellectual elements of an adventure game. Its superior graphics, character animation and tight game play similar to "Out of the World", without the bitterly high difficulty level. Movie buffs will note some homages to cult class films such as 'Total Recall', 'They Live' and 'Phantasm II'. In the distant future, our hero has discovered that a race of space aliens have been impersonating humans! Before he can go public with this information, his space ship is shot down over a tropical jungle, causing him to crash land and lose his memory.

The Bad
The lack of a hardware upgrade for the Sega CD forced many of its games to offer only slight improvements from their cartridge based counterparts. If you played the Genesis version you will notice no differences in the graphics or game play. Instead, the CD version features better music, more character animation and improved CGI sequences. Along with different passwords, the only addition to the cartridge version is decent voice acting to go alongside the text based conversations.

The Bottom Line
Flashback: The Quest for Identity (1994) is a difficult game to judge. In comparison to the Genesis version, the extra features are nice, but do not drastically improve the game. However, if you judge the game on its own, it is one of the best single player, action, adventure titles for the Sega CD.

SEGA CD · by ETJB (428) · 2010

Stimulus

The Good
I was incredibly surprised but this interactive story fostered my ability to live, work and continue to do both things, for some time. The graphics are...how to say...very dynamic. I would associate the style of game with ambient - style of music. Ok, I liked much the motion engines in game - they're alive even for 2003 AD, music is very special, too. I liked the hero for he's not a Hero at all. My opinion - it's not a quest for Conrad's identity but a quest for myself..

The Bad
It is one of it's kind, that's not enough. I can't really find any other disadvantages, sorry.

The Bottom Line
Never forget it's teachings.

DOS · by Gennady Panfilov (4) · 2003

[ View all 12 player reviews ]

Discussion

Subject By Date
HELP!!_Flashback:Can't do fourth mission Stephen Labuschagne Aug 25, 2009

Trivia

1001 Video Games

Flashback appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Release variations

A bargain bin CD-ROM version of the game for Sega CD (which was later adapted to the PC CD-ROM, 3DO and CD-i) contained new cinematic sequences with voice acting and sound effects. This version of the game came only in a jewel case (no box).

Ports and conversions

  • Although Amiga version of the game was released as the first one in December 1992, it was in fact a port from the original platform which was Sega Mega Drive. However SMD version was released later in spring of 1993.
  • SNES port was slightly censored. Death Tower was renamed to Cyber Tower, New Washington's bar became a cafe and all the enemy mutants were recolored green.
  • Amiga version has cut-down introductory sequence and some cut scenes during the gameplay does not exist until the player enables them manually by pressing CTRL+C. The Amiga and DOS versions also had an option to zoom in on the action whenever Conrad opens fire. It was removed from all other versions. Zoomed in option in DOS version can be enabled in the game options screen while in the Amiga version by pressing F9 during the game.
  • DOS version contains changed message that Conrad writes in the ending.

Soundtrack

A two-track CD soundtrack was released featuring music inspired by the game, but not directly from it.

Technology

One of the materials in the box of Flashback is a coupon for a rebate on a Gravis Gamepad and a note to "try Gravis' Ultrasound 16-bit sound card." This is ironic because, amongst Gravis Ultrasound enthusiasts, Flashback is notorious for being incompatible with the GUS.

Programmers might be interested in the fact that Flashback is one of very few games that used a screen mode with a width of 256 pixels. This implies that the address of a pixel on the screen could be comfortably stored in a 16-bit register, say AX. The X-coordinate could then be manipulated through AL, and the Y-coordinate through AH. This might have contributed somewhat to Flashback's impressively fluent animations.

Awards

  • Amiga Joker
    • Issue 02/1994 – Best Genre Mix in 1993 (Readers' Vote)
  • Electronic Gaming Monthly
    • May 1993 (Issue 46) - Game of the Month (Genesis version)
    • November 1997 (Issue 100) - ranked #92 (Best 100 Games of All Time) (Genesis version)
  • FLUX
    • Issue #4 - #10 in the "Top 100 Video Games of All-Time" list
  • GamePro
    • 1993 (Vol. 6, Issue 2) - Action/Adventure Game of the Year (Genesis version)
  • Retro Gamer
    • September 2004 (Issue #8) – #65 Best Game Of All Time (Readers' Vote)
    • Issue #37 - #15 in the "Top 25 Platformers of All Time" poll

Information also contributed by Brian Hirt, Robert Schmidt, Apogee IV, PCGamer77, and Big John WV

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by faceless.

Amiga added by POMAH. CD-i added by Corn Popper. PC-98 added by Infernos. iPhone added by Sciere. Jaguar, SNES, Genesis added by Rogee. Acorn 32-bit added by Kabushi. Dreamcast added by Iggi. FM Towns added by Terok Nor. SEGA CD added by Unicorn Lynx. 3DO added by Indra was here. Macintosh added by MAT.

Additional contributors: Trixter, MAT, Unicorn Lynx, Sciere, Alaka, formercontrib, Crawly, j.raido 【雷堂嬢太朗】, Zeppin, Patrick Bregger, mailmanppa, FatherJack.

Game added December 9, 1999. Last modified February 4, 2024.