Flashback logo Gamer Gold

Delphine do it again with this excellent arcade adventure featuring jaw-dropping animation and eye-popping graphics.

The natural thing to do would be to compare Flashback with Another World. Although they are aesthetically very similar, Flashback offers much more in the way of gameplay than Another World did.
In fact, there is a common misconception that Flashback is actually a sequel to Another World. This is not the case, which is further reinforced by the fact that sequels to both Another World and Flashback are under way.

Prince of Persia first set the standard by which character animation was subsequently judged, then came Another World and Cruise for a Corpse, both by Delphine. Flashback continues this animation excellence and throws in a large and healthy dollop of gameplay to boot.
Such animation, married with excellent background graphics, seems to be a trademark of games from our French friends. But despite the excellent visuals, they never quite seemed to master that most ethereal ingredient of good gameplay - until now that is.

Flashback is not only visually great - the control method, atmosphere and general difficulty level have been balanced to a point of perfection. This is a game everyone will finish because it will grab you by the throat and drag you back for more purely because it's so good.

So, what's it all about, I hear you ask? Well, the story goes something like this. Conrad B Hart, a research scientist, has prepared his end-of-year thesis. He has developed a pair of glasses which can measure molecular density.
His device reveals aliens, whose molecular density is far greater than ours, living among the population. As is the case with the majority of aliens, they are not on Earth for a holiday but to take the place over.

Unfortunately, Conrad's investigations raise suspicion among the aliens who, quite understandably, don't want some human strolling around, conveying to all and sundry the exact nature of their presence on Earth. So, being a clever dick, combined with his fear of capture, Conrad prepares a holographic message and then saves the contents of his memory, which he then sends to his friend Ian.

Conrad is eventually captured and his memory erased by the aliens. Still held captive, he manages to escape via a hoverbike with the aliens in hot pursuit. During the chase, Conrad's bike is shot and he crashes to the jungle below. Content that Conrad did not survive the fall, his pursuers leave. However, Conrad is a lucky bugger and has survived the crash.

He awakes, not knowing who he is or where he is. This is where you take over You have to guide Conrad on his mission to find his pal, Ian, and to recover his memory. However, as is the case with most missions, to find your memory as well as a bloke called Ian, things are not going to be simple. There are oodles of obstacles, most of which shoot at you, so some nifty joystick manipulation will be required.

Thank goodness good ol' Conrad just happens to have a rather mean handgun, which as is humorously evident in so many TV Westerns, doesn't seem to exhaust its supply of bullets.

Thankfully, Flashback's control method is as good as the main characters animation which it controls. Too many good games have died a quick death due to poor joystick programming and Delphine are obviously aware of that fact.
Once you grab hold of the joystick, you will have Conrad running, jumping, rolling around and blasting baddies with consummate ease in no time. In fact, the key to success is the ability to quickly master the various movements which Conrad is able to do. Those of you who have played Prince of Persia will no doubt take to the controls immediately as they are extremely similar.

As you guide Conrad around the various screens, blasting away all opponents, you will also have to contend with puzzles. You will come across many objects such as a force field, anti-grav belt and even exploding mice, all of which you will find useful.

Besides the amazing character animation and great background graphics, there are also spot animations that occur when such actions as picking up an object or using one are done. An example is the shield which absorbs four hits from an opponent, after which you will die. Various power outlets are dotted around the terrain and when stood next to one, you may recharge the shield to full strength.
Therefore, a good memory is invaluable when you find your shield low. Knowing where the nearest power outlet is will improve your chances of survival against a particularly son-of-a-bi... I mean rather difficult to kill enemy or enemies, and believe me, there are quite a few loitering around.

One suspicion I was harbouring when asked to review this was that Flashback, although visually stunning, was going to be one of those games whose philosophy is to put you right back to an unreasonably early position on the level should you be unfortunate to be killed.
I was pleasantly proven wrong on that point as the game has various Save Game points of well thought-out positions on the levels. However, the game isn't saved to disk, so if you turn off your Amiga you'll have to start from the very beginning of the level you are on. Combine this RAM save feature throughout each level, with the level passwords which are provided as you complete each part and you have a system whereby even the most impatient of us who throw the joystick against the wall shouting "Oh $?£", it took me ages to get to this point!" - will find adequate.

Most gamers expect a lot from today's games, both in terms of visuals and sonics. Well, from the screenshots, you can get a good idea of the overall look of the game - you'll just have to take my word for it about the stunning animation.

The sound effects are equally impressive. As well as various "spot soundtracks" as you move from screen to screen, there are lots of sound effects interspersed throughout the game. These are especially evident on later levels which are outdoors, where you get the effect of chirps, bleats and generated noises of hidden alien beasts ringing in your ears. Very atmospheric I can tell you.

Besides the nasty occupants of this planet you find yourself on, which in general, need to be shot as soon as you see them, there are also some friendly folk eager to help (if only to make a fast buck). There is limited interaction with these people in that you simply walk over to them, press the joystick button and read the conversation between Conrad and the aforementioned person.
Many of the conversations will give clues as to your next course of action and pretty soon, Conrad regains his memory and the action really begins to speed up.

To conclude, Flashback is as slick as a James Cameron film and I for one can't wait for the sequel.

Flashback logo

Delphine's last cinematic release, Another World, just fell shy of a Format Gold, but the latest fluidly animated release has the looks, the feel AND the challenging gameplay...

When a game is hyped because of its presentation and graphical style, there is often something lacking in gameplay. Delphine's Another World (AF31 - 82 per cent) looked wonderful, sounded superb and had bags of atmosphere, but lacked a challenge. It was great while it lasted, but that was only two days!

What's needed is more brain taxing, trigger pumping, ledge hopping and baddie dodging to keep the adventure going for longer. Can Flashback adds this to the slickness of Another World? We take a trip into a world of strange aliens and molecular experiments to find out.

They live
It's 2142 AD and a young scientist, Conrad B Hart, has been working on a machine that can analyse the molecular structure of living beings. Unfortunately, the machine's first public test has unearthed a disturbing fact.

Heads of universities and government representatives are watching as Conrad straps on the machine's headset and makes his opening statements to the audience; a strange sight meets his eyes. The molecular analyser who's the VIPs are in fact shape-shifting alien interlopers known as Morphs, who have taken on a human form to infiltrate Earth's society.

Conrad makes his escape, but guards are sent after him to take him to the aliens' planet. Once there, Conrad's memory is wiped, but he manages to get away on a hover-bike, chased by the heavily armed Morph guards. A quick shoot-out later, Conrad plunges to the ground, losing consciousness in the dense foliage of the jungle above the city of New Washington.

This is where you come in. You take control of Conrad as he tries to regain his memory and return to Earth to warn the populace of the threat posed by the Morphs. You awake in the jungle, with just a holographic recording of yourself to remember your name, a blank credit chip and a self-loading automatic pistol.

You have to wade through seven danger-filled levels before you can get back to Earth. On the way you must run, jump, climb and shoot your way around the levels, solving puzzles and picking up useful items. To begin with, you have no memory of who or where you are - the only information you are given is a cryptic message to meet someone called Ian in New Washington.

Then you have to make your way through the jungle to reach the city, and contact Ian before your quest stands any chance of success. Unfortunately, it's not just the Morph agents in the city that you'll have to watch out for. Things get hairy long before that.

The jungle is infested with old and dangerous machinery left behind by previous civilisations. The chemicals and radiation that these machines leak have given birth to mutants who roam the jungle and are armed with stolen laser cannons. The mutants are intent on survival, do they shoot on sight, and the defence droids used in the past are still buzzing back and forth across the leafy ledges - so be ready with that gun!

Saviour of the universe
On the way through levels, you will have to work out a number of puzzles, including how to trip switches, disable security devices, make your way through seemingly impassable barriers and make enough money for a trip home. Things get even more treacherous as you go on, taking you through some seriously cyberpunk-looking scenery and hi-tech defence systems. Solve the puzzle and stay sharp - otherwise the Morphs will take over.

The first thing that strikes you is the sheer quality of the graphics. The game starts with an animation of Conrad's escape from his captives, followed by a chase as Conrad flees to the jungle on a stolen hoverbike.

The graphical excellence doesn't stop at neat intermission sections - the game looks every bit as good as the intro. The animation as Conrad atheltically makes his way through the levels is about the best and smoothest yet on the Amiga, and all the other characters move in as impressive a manner. The backgrounds are detailed, with loads of texture and atmosphere to keep the strong, futuristic feel of the game going. There are even some animated pieces tucked away in the backdrops, which stops them from looking static - they really come alive in some sections.

Extreme close-up
Another nice graphical touch is every time Conrad does something which moves him a step towards completing his quest, a special 'zoom-mode' animation is displayed to show a close-up view. The sound effects and music are damn good, varying from fast-paced action tracks to sombre Terminator-style pieces and subtle background sounds.

Anyway, enough of the audio visuals, what of the gameplay? Fortunately, Flashback brims with playability. Conrad not only moves well on screen, he's also very responsive, which makes it easy to perform any gymnastic gyrations: run along a ledge, jump into a pit, roll, pull a gun and fire. Sounds like a lot to cope with, but the control method is slick enough to allow you to do all this with ease.

The size and depth of the game are extensive considering the amount of graphics data crammed in there (and it all fits on to four disks, with hardly any swapping at all). Flashback isn't just polished platform shoot-em-up though. True, the action is frantic enough at times to please any blasting fan, but the search-and-use adventure elements keep your brain working throughout. Some of the puzzles are extremely devious and will have you scratching your head for a while before you slap yourself and shout "Of course! Why didn't I think of that before?".

Although Another World was impressive, and the gameplay was enjoyable while it lasted, there wasn't enough depth for you to sink your incisors into. As soon as you were in the adventure, you'd finished it.

Flashback though is large, frantic, and involved enough to keep you playing for quite some time before you manage to reach the end (especially if you play on the harder difficulty settings). The graphics and sound are better than Another World's, so there's no sacrifice there either, which makes this one of the slickest, best-looking, most wonderful-sounding, atmosphere-packed, futuristic arcade adventure ever seen. Cyber fans, adventure freaks and blast addicts get ready to be amazed.


Conrad has a wide range of moves available, which are stunningly realistic. Here are a few of the slick sprite animations that will help you.

Conrad is one of those healthy, athletic types, so climbing up and down from platforms poses very few problems.

A good way of getting across platforms while avoiding enemies is to duck down and roll past any danger.

Gaps in the scenery? No problem at all mate. Conrad can just take a death-defying leap across to safety.

If anything does look slightly suspect, Conrad can pull out his powerful shooter to blast any who gets in his way.

Before leaping into dangerous chasms, it makes sense to hang off the edge of a ledge to see what's below.

Flashback logo Amiga Joker Hit

Der Vorgänger "Another World" brachte es auf Anhieb zum Klassiker, wenn auch zu einem umstrittenen. Sein Nachfolger hat aber das Zeug, selbst die schärfsten Kritiker des ersten Teils zu überzeugen!

Wiedermal haben sich Aliens klammheimlich auf der Erde eingeschlichen, wiedermal ist ihnen jemand auf die Schliche gekommen. Diesmal war's der Physiker Conrad B. Hart - mit analytisch geschultem Blick hat er entdeckt, daß die äußerlich recht menschlichen Wesen eine viel zu hohe molekulare Zelldichte haben, um als gewöhnliche Zweibeiner durchzugehen. Daß die Einschleicher ihrerseits schon entdeckt haben, daß er sie entdeckt hat, entdeckt unser Entdecker jedoch leider zu spät. Der Rest ist die übliche Alien-Routine: Held einfangen, entführen, einsperren...

Ein, zwei Verwicklungen später wacht Conrad fern der Heimat in einer Urwald-Welt auf und sieht sich mit lauter Leuten konfrontiert, die ihm nach dem Leben trachten. Was er zu diesem Zeitpunkt noch nicht weiß, ist daß es sich bei diesem Urwald um den ersten von fünf riesigen Leveln handelt, die mit filmartigen Zwischensequenzen untereinander verbunden sind.

Nach dem Waldspaziergang, steht eine lebensgefährliche TV-Show am Programm, die leicht und den (indizierten) Schwarzenegger-Film "Running Man" erinnert. Desweiteren soll man aus dem Gefängnis fliehen, in einer futuristischen Stadt überleben und schlußendlich zurück zur Erde finden.

Wie seinerzeit bei der anderen Welt muß der Held gut springen, laugen, schießen und knobeln können: darüberhinaus kann er klettern, Purzelbäume schlagen und sogar Gegenstände benutzen - z.B. Steine, um damit Schalter umzulegen. In bescheidenen Umfang darf auch gequatscht werden, aber der Schwerpunkt dieser abenteuerlichen Mischung aus "Another World", "Prince of Persia" und "Impossible Mission" liegt eindeutig beim überlegten Ballern und schnellen Tüfteln.

Dabei ist der Schwierigkeitsgrad selbst auf der niedrigsten Stufe recht knackig, denn der Alien-Planet enthält ungeheuer viele Fahrstühle, Elektrofelder, Selbstschußanlagen, Monster, Roboter und sonstige Menschenjäger.

Die atmosphärischen Hintergründe bestehen aus Bitmap-Grafiken, die herumlaufenden Figuren dagegen aus Vektoren, an denen sagenhaft flüssigen Animationen sich die Programmierer von Delphine so richtig ausgetobt haben: Conny läuft, springt, stolpert und fällt absolut realistisch, man sieht die verbrauchten Patronenhülsen davonfliegen und kleine Explosionen bei Mauereinschüssen - schöner geht's kaum noch!

Ebenfalls vom Feinsten sind die stimmungsvolle Musikbegleitung und die gewaltigen FX. Um mit der Sticksteuerung gut zurecht zu kommen, braucht man zwar ein wenig Übung, besser als der Keyboard-Betrieb klappt sie jedoch allemal. Ein paar Dinge sind allerdings ausschließlich über die Tastatur zugänglich, z.B. das Inventory und die auswählbaren Bildschirmansichten.

So, mehr gibt's zu Flashback eigentlich zu sagen. Außer vielleicht: Holt Euch das Ding, es lohnt sich! (mm)

Flashback logo

You must remember this - a fully-animated adventure that's more than just Another World.

Aargh! Mini-novellisations, plot lines and fat game manuals - the bane of my life! If I wanted to read a book, I'd go to a library. If I want to play a game, the last thing I want to do is settle down and chug my way through a 92-page novella. Game companies make games, so why should we have to endure their half-baked attempts at prose? Don't they get it? WE DON'T WANT TO READ THEIR CRUMMY STORIES! Needless to say, there's all manner of guff in the Flashback manual explaining the plot, but who wants to waste time on that? Not me, that's for sure, so let's skip it.

The last big product to hit the stands from Delphine Software was Another World. With a revolutionary concept that was somewhere between a computer game and an animated film, Another World almost (but not quite) succeeded being a milestone in Amiga history. The trouble with it was that once you'd marvelled at the innovative cinematic cutting from scene to scene and the use of close-ups for extra emphasis, the game was a tad thin and you could whizz through in a few days.

So have Delphine realised their mistakes and made good with their latest effort? It would appear so. The gam opens with a truly stunning and thoroughly filmy opening sequence. We see a running man (though not the Stephen King character that was turned into a rather lame Arnie movie) who's being pursued by hard-looking guys with dangerously cool raincoats and a worryingly large amount of firepower.

The bloke being chased goes by the suitably Gallic name of 'Conrad', but that's not the reason they're after him. Leaping on a hoverbike (so we know it's a sci-fi thang), Conrad jets off as the dudes let rip with lasers. Escaping from the city, he's shot down and wakes up in a jungle.

From this point onwards, you're in the game itself. It's soon obvious that it's one of those arcade-adventury affairs, where you run around platforms picking up helpful items, so you've got to wander round a verdant maze until you work out your next move.

To make matters more interesting, Conrad's memory has apparently been completely wiped, which means that if you don't read all the accompanying blurb, you've got about as much idea of what's going on as he does. So when the old bloke tells you he'll sell you a grav belt for 500 credits, you feel that it must be a good idea, and so set off to get the cash.

Prince with an attitude, packing a handgun

Once you're past the jungle and into the city, things start to get a lot clearer, since you bump into your old 'pre-lobotomy' mates. These helpful fellows fill you in on all kinds of details, like the fact that most of the people are aliens who're invading Earth using the cunning guise of looking like humans. From these hints you can go onto raising the cash to get a shuttle off Titan, and continue your adventures all over the place.

Now, plot differences aside, anyone looking at the pictures is going to say "Prince of Persia" , tarted up", and they'd be right - sort of. The influence of that popular and practically ubiquitous game is undeniable, but to describe this as just being a prettier version does it no justice whatsoever.

Flashback's Conrad is Prince in Levis and a casual jacket, Prince with an attitude, packing a horny handgun, putting the brakes on the bad guys, leaping gaping canyons with a single bound and (ultimately) saving the entire planet from the ravages of alien replicants. The Prince is dead, long live King Conrad.

What can Conrad do then? Well, for a start the controls are impressively responsive, with only a slight inertia lag to stop him when he's running. He jumps, runs, sneaks, crouches, fires his gun from most positions and generally indulges in all manner of actions that would raise a sweaty sheen in us mere mortals, but which leaves Conrad (who, remember, is only a two-dimensional game character) none the worse for wear.

However many frames of animation there are for Conrad, it's enough to cover every conceivable move, apart from maybe scratching his nose and brushing his trousers down after a particularly nasty fall. There are so many in-between frames that the action flows credibly from one movement to the next. If you want to jump down when you've got your gun drawn, for instance. Conrad holsters the gun, jumps, bends down as he hits the ground, the straightens up and takes his guns out again, and all this is accomplished by a single nudge of the joystick.

Adding to this fluid progression, the control system's simplicity itself, with essentials like jump and crouch being pretty obvious, and more flashy moves such as running jumps requiring you to must let go of the joystick and keep the fire button pressed. In no time at all, you'll have Conrad racing fluidly all over the place, pausing only occasionally to waste a few bad guys.

So, now we've got over the Prince of Persia comparisons, let's take another look at the screen shots. Impressive or what? Unfortunately for you magazine readers, you don't get to see the animation of the characters, you don't see the empty bullet cases eject from Conrad's gun, or the horrible green blobby aliens ooze their way towards you before forming into a humanoid (but still fairly green and horrible) form. All this in-game graphical wonderfulness is topped off by the excellent between-level sequences, which not only look great, but also logically link the levels by adding the storyline.

It's as much fun as eating nice cake

Come to think, when you get down to it, the plot's a bit like the John Carpenter flick They Live (Obey authority!- Ed), with Conrad having been kidnapped after he discovered the (Marry and reproduce! - Ed) invading aliens masquerading as decent, red (Stay asleep! - Ed) blooded humans on our very own (Consume! - Ed) mother planet.

Okay, so it's all a bit 1950s 'Aliens ate My Grandmother', but it's not supposed to be high art is it? The story allows for Conrad's wanderings, and manages to fit in a bloodthirsty TV show, space travel, being thrown into prison and entering underground caverns, which offers plenty of variety for the player, and more than enough high jinksterness for the long-suffering Conrad.

The sound's equally impressive, with varying effects for the gunfire, moody atmospheric backing tracks and even some fairly passable Europop music for the linking and intro sequences. And as for the gameplay, well, take my word for it, it's the Ferrari of arcade adventures, and so brilliant it'll burn your eyeballs into prunes and make them plop out into your cheeks.

A good indication of how I feel about this game would be to just keep tying the words "Like, Wow!" until I go to the end of the review, but seeing as this requires limited word power, and would ensure my rapid demotion to the post of ex-Staff Writer, I've to go for another approach. It's epic. It's awesome. It's as much fun as eating nice cake, or having a pretty nurse wash your hair when you're in hospital. It's nearly as great as lounging on an inflatable crocodile while floating on the sea during the summer. I like it. This game I like. It's more likeable than a big likey thing. Get the picture? (No. Tell us WHY you like it, Mark - Ed)

Whatever 'it' is that makes you stay up all night playing a game, then Flashback's got 'it; by the skipful. Everything about it seems to be just right: if you're halfway through a level, you'll run into a 'save' console, so should you fall to your death or get blasted, there's no need to backtrack too far.

You've got unlimited ammo, so no problems there, and even though you can only take as many hits as the bad guys you kill, you'll find recharge points for your force field at strategic points. The balance between nasties and bonuses seems to be right, even down to passers-by that you can talk to for helpful advice.

Looking at the huge score given at the end of this and all my witterings about the incredible graphics could well blow open the great 'graphics vs playability' debate. The fat is that a major factor of Flashback's appeal is the graphics, but the gameplay's also fast and has that rare feature of being easy to learn, but also thoroughly absorbing. This comes down with one foot either side of the line in the 'great debate', being wonderful to look at and to play, with each side contributing to the other. Just play it, okay?

Flashback logo CU Amiga Screen Star

Delphine finally display their latest arcade adventure, while Tony Dillon tries to convince all that they based the main character on him...

What happens if you 'borrow' plots from The Running Man, The Lawnmower Man, Total Recall, They Live and Blade Runner and mix them together? You create the plot of Flashback. In Delphine's latest you take the role of a young scientist who, by inventing a pair of glasses which can read molecular density, discovers that aliens have infiltrated society. Once the aliens realise this, they kidnap you and drop you on their planet with a blank mind.

Flashback is an arcade adventure from the team that brought you Another World, but this is far more basic, going more for the traditional platform adventure. Unfortunately, this means puzzles where you have to find an object and give it to someone else. Yawn. On the upside, loads and loads of action! Yes, Flashback is rich with the stuff Arnie's films are made of, with more scraps than Street Fighter 2!

You begin the game with few possessions and no idea as to who or where you are. Move one screen down and you find a holocube which gives you some idea of what to do. 0ff you trot and before long you're picking up stones and using them to open doors, or manipulating lifts using an intricate set of foot switches.

The game is played over seven levels, and each level is cleverly broken down into segments. Not that you'd notice the segments. From the start, there are only about eight screens you can actually get to - the rest of the level is blocked by a bridge that has to be activated. By some stroke, the last puzzle of the segment happens to be the bridge activator, so you move to the next segment without realising it.

It is the variation in the gameplay that makes Flashback so groovy. On level two, you race around a space city, talking to people and eventually working for a living. From there on there's a part in a futuristic game show and your return to Earth.

The graphics are fabulous. Using Rotoscaping, Delphine have come up with the most realistic main character animation ever, even better than Prince Of Persia. Every possible movement has been covered, and no matter what you do, the sprite always moves in a fluid and convincing way. The same goes for all the enemy sprites and other animation. 'Film-like' was a phrase that swam through my head while playing; 'the best ever' was another.

Sound has been used to minimal effect, which is strange alongside the obvious effort put into the visuals. Very few spot effects and the occasional burst of music make up the aural experience. One very nice touch, though, is the way that major effects, such as a cannon firing, can be heard faintly if you are on one of the screens adjacent to the action.

Flashback is one hell of a good game. The first few times I played it, I hated it. Coming from the wrong angle, I assumed it was a graphic adventure, and with that in mind quite rightly panned it. It was only when I found myself bashing away on level four at three o'clock in the morning that I realised what a superb game it is. Its mix of quality animation and all-out blasting make it highly recommended.


There's no doubting that Flashback is a quality game. Unfortunately, it looks like it's going to he a victim of its own success. Already released in Europe, pirate copies of the game began circulating in the UK before Christmas and an English language version appeared soon after. Why then, you might ask, has its release in this country been delayed for so long? Apparently, this was because US Gold. the game's publisher over here, decided to coincide its release with the Megadrive version. Sadly, it looks likely that this decision will affect the game's sales as the playground pirates have already got their mitts on it. I would have expected a game of this calibre to zoom straight to the top of the charts, but now I doubt if it'll even make the top ten. I sincerely hope I'm wrong as Flashback deserves to be a huge hit - we'll just have to wait and see.