Flashback does Flashback. Redundancy in reminiscing? You bet!
System: Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, MS-DOS, Amiga, Apple Macintosh, Sega CD, 3DO… You know, just about anything else you could put a game on in the mid ’90s.
Company: U.S. Gold/Delphine Software International
Genre: Adventure Platformer
I could be talking about Out of this World / Another World / Outer World from 1991, but I’m not. I’m talking about it’s spiritual sequel, Flashback. Much like its predecessor, Flashback is known for two things: its crazy animation and a condition known as Never-gonna-beat-the-first-damn-level-itis.
What was so crazy about the animation? It used a technique called "rotoscoping". Don’t know what that is? Watch the "Take On Me" music video by A-ha. Now you do. Congrats. In ’92, our collective jaws dropped at the graphics. Which is good, because…
We never beat the first damn level, a major symptom of Never-gonna-beat-the-first-damn-level-itis. Flashback was, essentially, a puzzle game pretending to be an adventure platformer. The game moved at a crawl. Your character had a set of rolls, jumps, and other maneuvers that weren’t so much about twitch-skills as deciphering the right combination of actions to complete the task at hand, then backtracking to the necessary places with key items.
Story? Conrad, escaping from the bad-guys, finds himself in a jungle filled with flamethrowing robots and laser-wielding cavemen, with no memory of who he is or why he is there. The story unfolds through cutscenes played out at key points or upon finding special plot-in-a-box items. For the time, the cinematics were amazing, and accompanied by techno sexiness. Unless you had the Sega Genesis, which could not gurgle out any reasonable music that was not primarily jazzy slap-bass. But then is there really anything else? Bow-wow-wow-wow…