Flashback: The Quest for Identity
Antique Code Show Nobody wants to wake up in the wilderness with no memory of how they got there - though it sounds eerily reminiscent of a typical Saturday morning in Camden Town.
Who are you? More to the point, who am I?
But that's just what's happened to Conrad Hart - and he doesn't even have leftover pizza for breakfast, poor guy. All he's got is a mysterious holocube transmission of himself urging him to get his ass to Mars New Washington.
After a wonderfully-rendered pre-game intro depicting a high-speed airbike pursuit by some mysterious chaps in long, leather jackets - which predated Matrix-chic by seven years - Conrad is shot down and left for dead in the jungle.
Animated intro-sequences were a novelty back in 1992
This opening level of Flashback sees you negotiating a grid-like platforming arena, not unlike a two-dimensional Tomb Raider, dispatching various aliens, robots and alien robots, to try and fathom just what happened to your memories.
Even amidst the running, jumping, climbing trees and putting on make-up, there are some RPG-lite quest stages, which see you allying with seedy barflies and applying for work in order to pay for dodgy travel papers. The trans-continent subway system lends the game a sense of modest scope and wonderment, and really gives you a feeling of world-weary accomplishment upon completing your various clients' missions.
Abandon hope all ye who enter here
The overall vibe of Flashback has been compared many times to classic cyberpunk flicks, such as Blade Runner, Total Recall and The Running Man. In fact, level three, which sees you being forced to compete in Death Tower, a televised life-or-death game show, is an thinly-veiled homage to the latter.
Next page: They took his memory. Now he wants it back
That was me!
Acorn port? That was me! I was sent Amiga 68000 source code (with variable names and comments [such as they were] in French) and very little else! The whole thing had to be recoded into ARM. I was really on my own for much of the work trying to decipher strange routines and opaque data structures. I remember it being quite a challenge in places to fit it all in to the sparse memory of the time. The only thing I didn't like doing was the music and I ran out of time before getting it /just right/ (you can tell that the timings with some of the cinematics is a little off!).
Thanks for the memories......
I spent many an hour playing this on my Amiga 500, when I should have been completing coursework for my degree. Bearing in mind it is really just a fancy 2d platform game, it is nevertheless one of the most absorbing games I've ever played (perhaps even more absorbing than Mercenary).
Me too. Alas I don't think I ever got anywhere near completing it. It was way too tough for my 10-year old gaming brain...
I seem to remember this was also available on the 3DO. I had it on that platform.
It was excellent, though I do remember having some complaints about laggy controls.
And yet another Acorn user ;-)
I think games like this ought to be used as a benchmark for how to design a lasting game. It's not necessarily about fancy graphics (though I do enjoy Liberty City's sunsets), it is about a story you can be immersed in. In this, Flashback succeeds wonderfully.