Ahhh, good old Flashback
, one of my personal favorites from the 16-bit era. If you are wondering what kind of game Flashback
is, it is like Out of This World
(or Another World
as it was originally called) except a bajillion times better; or think Total Recall, with a snazzier-dressed protagonist and no three-breasted escorts (actually, I don't think there are any women in this game. What gives, Flashback
?). It is a game with a great story: it weaves a tale that consists of a lost identity, finding out who one is, and a conspiracy that must be stopped in order to save the Earth. This is one of those games I tried out on both the Genesis and the SNES, and my advice to anyone searching for it to play on a console is to get the Genesis one. The Genesis music and sound effects may be godawful, but the slowdown is horrendous on the SNES (YEAH, BLAST PROCESSING). You can always hunt it down for the PC, as well, because that version has great audio for the myriad of amazing sounds you are going to hear throughout your journey.
Before the title screen, you are shown running from some people on a spaceship. You escape and crash-land onto a jungle-like planet called Titan. You wake up and start the game, and you can run around and do long jumps and crouch and roll and draw and shoot your pistol (which is the only weapon in the ENTIRE GAME; and considering all the different types of creatures you kill with it, it's quite magical for such a plain gun). You eventually find a cube and find out who you are, where your memories are, and how they were erased; it's all very cool. On Titan, there are these elf-like enemies with big guns and little robots with antennas you have to shoot that explode. One of the funnest things you can do in the first level is throw a rock to distract an enemy, and then shoot him in the back when he goes to investigate (and giggle uncontrollably, but maybe that is just me). Your pistol has unlimited ammo, but your shield can only take four hits before you die. Luckily, you can recharge your shield at generators throughout the game. There are numerous hazards you will come across, too: little beams along the ground that phase you out of existence, pitfalls, bombs, and this cool green toxic machine that disintegrates your body upon contact, complete with an animation of your bones evaporating!
As you progress, you will receive a fantastic force field that will protect you from enemy shots. When you face any enemy with a gun, you can temporarily create a force field that will protect you from their bullets, but you have to time it right, because it only lasts a second. I think it also protects your back if someone is shooting you from behind, as well. The force field is a godsend because your shield can only take so much before you die, and it adds a level of strategy and quick timing to the game. You will eventually take jobs in order to earn cash to compete on a game show, where the prize is free tickets to Earth, which is where the conspiracy begins to unravel. Players can save the game at certain points in a given level, and will re-spawn there in case of death. However, the Genesis and SNES are cartridge-based systems, so there is a password system used in order to go to a level once you turn the game off. Also, if you are playing on the Genesis, one of the jobs requires you to fix a machine that is about to explode, but you have to insert a missing part in an exact spot. It has to be pixel perfect. And you are timed. It will lead to cursing and thrown controllers. FUN.
Those tiny fuckers in the above shot are going to make you wish you were dead, trust me. Flashback
gets really hectic when you get to Earth: enemies will be shocking you, shooting you, and poking your butt with prods, all at the same time. You will scream at the television. If you endure, you will eventually go to outer space and fight aliens. The aliens can hit you with orbs of light, shape-shift into a ball and crawl along the ground, and leap and drop from the ceiling. And they take a lot of bullets to kill. I can already taste your tears. You will get a cool teleporter, though; you can throw the receiver anywhere you want that isn't a bottomless pit and transport there instantly. It is a lot of fun, but the difficulty is crazy by the last level, so you will need to bring your A game in order to complete your quest.
is a great game with an interesting and unique story that you will want to unravel until the very end. The jumping and platforming is a lot like Prince of Persia
, and the gun combat requires quick thinking and planning in order to survive. It starts getting hard by the second level, though, and the difficulty ramps up very quickly, so fair warning. I know the Genesis version contained a Marvel comic that fleshed out some of the story, so E-Bay that shit if you want to learn everything. Also, a sequel was made called Fade to Black
, but it is outright shitty garbage that you will want to erase from your memory (get it?! Haha, I'll be here all week). Hopefully some fans will read this and want to reminisce with me!