Developer: Paul Cuisset
Official Site: Microids.com
Tested on: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: July 31, 2018
The original cinematic science fiction adventure is back. FLASHBACK is released now on modern consoles, with varying levels of success.
FLASHBACK was first released in 1993 and has been released on the Genesis, SNES and modern consoles. This new version of the game includes modern amenities but also has the original settings for those looking for the classic experience.
The story revolves around a student named Conrad who wakes up after crashing landing with no memories of who he is. He must discover who he is and why he is being hunted by the space police.
The game is broken down between six levels, ranging from the green jungle of Titan to dark purple alien worlds. You will have to platform through the different levels and fight enemies to survive.
Adapt and Survive in a Science-Fiction World
The gameplay is heavily inspired by the likes of classic platformers like Prince of Persia. While modern games give you a degree of leeway with jumping and moving throughout a space, FLASHBACK requires you to be very precious with your movements.
For example, in Super Mario Bros., Mario can still jump even though he is a few spaces away from the ground. However, FLASHBACK makes you think ahead or else you will fail.
Another aspect to note is the game’s animation. All of the game animations are rotoscoped, which gives it a very fluid style. While it does look amazing still today, the emphasis on animation means that the animations can get in the way.
It can seem clunky, and for someone more used to modern video games it can become very annoying to deal with these at times. Especially during segments that require a lot of platforming or combat, having to struggle with the animation was something I never got a hold of.
Even though the platforming is very extensive, the game’s combat is rather dull. You have a pistol with infinite ammo that you use to blast away enemies. For defense, you have an energy shield that can deflect incoming attacks.
It is fun to unload on the enemies, there is a major inconsistency with how you can attack versus enemies. Multiple times throughout the game attacks would not go through, or your attacks would not work but the enemies could attack you which leads to a lot of frustration.
A lot of older games are difficult, which is fine on its own. The problem is once the game’s enemies do not play by the same rules as the player then it is a major drag on the overall quality of the game.
FLASHBACK Remaster Includes Rewind Mechanic and Tutorials
In terms of a remastered experience, there are new additions from the original game. The game comes with updated features and ease-of-use, but it does feel lacking compared to other remastered experiences.
FLASHBACK comes with a rewind feature, so that when you die you can rewind to a previous state. Depending on your difficulty, you can either have infinite rewind, two minutes per level or five minutes for the entire game.
It is nice to have the rewind mechanic, but I wish it had some more additions that other remastered titles have like save states. The visuals are cleaned up, but I wish they had done some more to freshen it up to run on modern consoles.
For the game’s visuals, it is rather it or miss. While most science fiction games love to revel in their dark and gritty worlds, having the game start on this luscious green jungle was impressive.
Unfortunately, after that first level the game goes for more classic science fiction looks, with dark and dreary hallways in underground cities and bunkers. I wish they would have continued with a more inspired art direction.
For a Certain Kind of Player
FLASHBACK is in a bizarre state in terms of what kind of player it is for. Someone that knows the original game and is looking for the classic experience will be happy. However, a new player is going to find issues with the game’s difficulty and older mentality.
For someone that is looking to try an experience like this from that era, I would recommend another Delphine Software classic, Another World. Another World has also been re-released on modern consoles and feels like it has a more cohesive game design.
FLASHBACK for better or worse does feel very representative of the original release. There are some additions to make it more viable to younger players, but the game’s style and gameplay may still put players off.
Verdict: FLASHBACK captures the feel and style of the 1993 classic. However, it can still be off-putting for new players and lacks what other remasters bring to the table.
- Beautiful hand-drawn backgrounds and rotoscoped animations
- Captures the feel and style of the original game
- Tutorials and rewind mechanic
- Difficulty can put some new players off
- Could use more updates as a remastered experience
- Combat is dull and repetitive