Since Flashback has been released on so many formats, we thought it would be a great idea to have an all-formats round-up on every aspect of this brilliant game; so if you're seated comfortably, we'll begin...
Flashback actually gets its name from being a cinematic type of game with close-up animation etc. and - yes! - flashback sequences. The sequel to the stunning but short Another World, FB involves you as Conrad B. Hart escaping from an alien world. As Conrad knew about the aliens' plan to invade Earth (being the only Earthling to), the Aliens thought it would be a great idea to erase his memory, so he knew nothing about the invasion.
Fortunately, he recorded himself while in prison. When he escapes from the prison, he finds the holocube (the device which he used to record himself), and now, all he needs to do is escape from the planet itself where he can find more information. The plot goes something like that anyway.
Inevitably though, all you're after is the quality of the game. Quality is a word that's stamped
onto the game in big, thick letters. The animation utilises roto-scoping (which means that the programmers digitise real life footage and touch up on the individual movements which are now turned to sprites) and looks incredibly realistic and lifelike (see the MOVE†IT box for an idea, although remember that you have to see the game moving to fully appreciate the animation). The animation is played at 25hz (cycles, or frames per second) and gives a good impression of smoothness. Graphics are detailed and drawn with imagination, and coupled with the neat sound effects convey a suitably alien atmosphere. The start-off level is a green forestry, complete with guards, lifts and other various interesting gismos and gadgets. Later levels involve negotiating machinery and abstract buildings.
Conrad is extremely versatile and can dodge most enemies with ease. He can roll, crouch, jump, leap, run and even pull out his gun. Using his gun, he can kill off enemies with a couple of shots. Shooting the aliens into oblivion is a great laugh, but you may have to use your brain
Yes - Flashback includes quite a fair number of puzzles to tax your grey matter. You even have a few shields when you first begin your journey - although split-second timing is required to maximise their use.
Flashback is said to be five times larger than Another World. This should satisfy fans of the original who thought that although it was a good game, it didn't last as long as it could, and should have done You'd think that because Flashback is larger than its predecessor, quality would have to be compromised in some other area of the game - like the graphics or gameplay. Not so with Flashback. All the stunning graphics of the original have been retained - if anything, they've been improved upon - the black and white screenshot to the left doesn't do the game justice - so get those crayons out (if you really are that sad)!
We'll talk about the 2 new planned versions first, which include the Super NES and Amiga 1200.
Both versions promise loads more colours on-screen, so you can bet your bottom dollar you'll be looking at near-photographic backgrounds!
The Amiga 1200 version will feature loads of new sound samples, and SNES owners may be treated to a brand, spanking new soundtrack!
The MegaDrive version (which is out in software stores around the country as you read this) looks incredibly impressive - the graphics push the machine to its limits. Most games on the MegaDrive tend to look bland and flat even; FBack is an exception - not only does it utilise the full graphics potential of the machine, it also looks stunning!
If you own a MegaDrive, you'd be crazy to miss out on such a brilliant looking game as Flashback. Bored of Sonic ? Won all the races on Road Rash ? Well then, it looks as though Flashback is the game for you. A bit of thinking combined with some tasty action sequences produces a great combination, and makes the aforementioned console games look shallow by comparison. If anyone's ever doubted the MegaDrive's ability to produce amazingly detailed animation and graphics, just show 'em Flashback!
The Amiga and PC versions are no less impressive. Again, the graphics look stunning, the sound is simply awesome and
the gameplay is, well...
tremendous (mainly because that's the first word that came to my head, although 'fantastic' and 'brilliant' could describe the gameplay just as well). The joystick controls work better than you might think, and if you use a compatible joypad (like the MegaDrive one, for instance), you'll find that you won't have to meddle around with the keyboard like you would with the traditional joystick. The computer versions also boast something that the MegaDrive version doesn't feature - namely extra cut-away sequences (because the game comes on disk instead of cartridge, the programmers were allowed extra
animation and things due to the extra memory (see MEMORY on another white square (Page - Helpful Reader))). If you buy a Sega joypad, you'll find that the computer versions actually look, sound and play better than their console counterpart!
Flashback is available now from US Gold for MegaDrive, Amiga and PC formats.
The Amiga version is priced at around £29.99, with the PC version on sale at around £35. The MegaDrive version should set you back somewhere in the region of £45.
Super NES owners can look forward to Flashback later this year (at around £45), with a similar release date for the A1200 version (and a price tag of around £30 to £35). Thank-you and good-night.