By Ferry "Sadhonker" Adams on March 25, 2016
I would like to apologize upfront if today's Big Red Timemachine seems a little shorter than you're used to. It's just that I'm so very, very tired, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls. You may remember from when we last met, that I had assembled the single-most kick-ass crew in the known universe. And although I am very proud to work with these guys, I have decided to let them go.
So why would I let this fantastic crew slip through my fingers, you ask? Well, if I don't, I'm afraid I won't last another week. You see, after work, we started to go to bars together and have a couple of beers and a few laughs. And, just like you would expect when you put a group of famous men in a bar, the ladies were swarming around us in no time. They start out really interested in my crew of movie stars, but when the guys introduce me, my natural good looks, wits and charm sweeps them off their feet. For the guys, that's no problem; they don't mind me taking home these women every night. I mean, come on; they all had their share over the years. No, the problem's mine; I can't even walk most mornings, let alone run a multi-billion dollar time travelling operation. These women, they're killing me! I just can't do it anymore!
So, although it wasn't easy, this morning I called the guys to meet me in my office and told the sad news. I will spare you the details of the wailing that ensued, I am not too proud to tell you that a lot of tears were shed by all of us. Well, all of us except Chuck... he doesn't cry. So then, we all said our goodbyes and went our separate ways. So guys, if you're reading this; thanks for the good times and good luck with whatever it is you're doing right now. As for me, duty calls! So strap yourselves in and come with me as we set our dials to 1992 and blast off into the past, in search for a platform game that I had almost forgotten all about, though I can't, for the life of me, figure out why. It's just something that happens once in a while. You play a game, you love that game, only to forget all about it. That's exactly what I did, until a few weeks ago...
In 1992, a French gaming company named Delphine Software thrilled the gaming community with a 2D non-scrolling platform game called Flashback; a science fiction thriller, set in a distant dystopian future in which a then still unnamed protagonist that wakes up in a jungle after being chased by mutants and crashing his flying motorcycle-like transportation at high speed. We pick up a holocube and learn that we're Conrad B. Hart, a fugitive on the run from shape shifting aliens after uncovering their plans for taking over earth. It is your job to retrieve your memories and stop the alien invasion.
As far as gameplay is concerned, Flashback can best be compared to Broderbund's Prince of Persia. As Conrad, you'll have to make your way through multi-level stages and solve a couple of spatial puzzles along the way, which you'll have to solve if you want to get to the end of the stage. You'll also have to be on guard for aliens and mutants that are out to kill you for what you know. What they don't know, is that you don't know what you knew... or something like that! They are determined to end you, so you'd better end them first. To this end, Conrad is equipped with a gun with infinite ammo, a force shield and a force shield for stopping enemy bullets or lasers and eventually a teleportation device that allows you to reach areas that were previously beyond your reach.
Conrad is just a human, so don't expect giant leaps or other fantastical feats. He runs, jumps, climbs and dies just like every other human. If you get shot too many times, you die. If you fall from a great height, you die. If you stand in deadly lasers for a certain amount of time; yep, you die! So basically, all you have to do is to make sure that you stay alive and make your way through the various levels and stop the alien plans for invasion. Trust me; they won't like you doing that, so expect a lot of resistance along the way.
The graphics of Flashback were absolutely solid and looked awesome. Conrad's movement looked super realistic, as did the movements of every other character in the game. This was realized by using roughly the same technique as was used in Prince of Persia, albeit somewhat more complex. When the game was released for Amiga in 1992, it turned quite a few heads with its thrilling scifi story, excellent platform gameplay, awesome graphics and cool soundtrack. Flashback was ported to various other systems over the course of the three following years. Eventually, Flashback could be played on: MS DOS, Sega Mega Drive, Sega Genesis, Super NES, Sega CD, CD-I, Macintosh and the Atari Jaguar. Some versions were slightly altered from the original, but all versions were applauded by gamers all over the world.
And, since the 2013 remake of Flashback by VectorCell and Ubisoft for the PS3, everybody can play and enjoy this timeless classic. If you're feeling nostalgic, you can even play the entire original game from the main menu of the remake. All in all, Flashback is a very good game and while it may not be the longest game you'll ever play, it's definitely worth investing your time and effort in. In the meantime, I'll be trying to stop those alien bastards from taking over our beautiful planet!
Well, that's all the time (and energy) I have for this week. I'm going to get some serious shut-eye for the first time in two weeks. And no damn women will keep me awake this time! Oh heavenly sleep, here I come!