#223 Flashback

Posted: 11th August 2015 by Jeroen in Games
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447th played so far


Genre: Action/Adventure
Platform: Various
Year of Release: 1992
Developer: Delphine Software
Publisher: U.S. Gold

Flashback, contradicting the above description, is described by Wikipedia as a “science fiction cinematic platform game”. To me, that sounds a bit pretentious, but I assume there’s a way in which it has earned this distinction.

That description reminds me a lot of Another World, which was also a platformer that tried to mix in heavier storytelling – although I’m not sure how well they’d overlap.

Our Thoughts

Right, first, this is a pretty tricky platformer. The controls, as they are, feel inaccurate and didn’t always trigger properly, making jumps far harder than was needed. While the game resembled Prince of Persia in its controls, it has some awkward choices in when you jump or step forward and how far you jump. A lot of it comes from stance, whether you’re croaching, standing or have your gun drawn, but they aren’t intuitive, instead feeling frustrating. We struggled with it for as long as we played.

The level design is decent – looking like an interesting jungle setting initially – but it is easy to miss stuff if you’re not looking out for it. What can and cannot be interacted with is unclear, as is whether a passage is a dead end or a tunnel leading further. The controls play into this again, making it more awkward.

The story bits are compelling, however. Leading off with the well-worn amnesia excuse, you head off to explore an island you crashlanded on. The first bit of story is one screen down, a log that gives you the basics, making for some nice in-game storytelling. This is done by changing from in-game graphics (the quality of which differs based on your platform) to a semi-FMV recording. It’s a nice touch, showing the game’s scope.

Final Thoughts

When paying, it was hard to see this game as something other than a clumsier Prince of Persia. There’s potential here, and if we’d played this game two decades ago, trying over and over to get further, it would have been worthwhile. As it is, however, the game doesn’t always feel playable enough to get that far in.