The brainchild of Eric Chahi, Another world was released in 1991 primarily on Amiga, Atari ST, Apple and Dos through Delphine Software coining the description “cinematic platformer”.
Attempting time travel experiments with his trusty console and a can of coke, Lester is flung into a reality where not only does he need to act fast to avoid drowning he also needs to escape a tentacle lake monster.
That pretty much sets Another World up, which starts with a blast and never lets up. It is a completely unique experience from beginning to end. Infact you will sit and watch Lester drown the first time, as the player control kicks in with no warning as you are enjoying the pre-game FMV.
If that wasn’t the only problem to contend with, Lester has to contend with poisonous flick knife tail worms and a huge black lion desperate to eat him.
Even a tiny bit of breathing space bought by jumping a crevice to hang from a vine, is broken as it snaps and plunges Lester right back into the lion Chase.
This game perfectly captures in 16-bit polygons the uncomfortable nature of an Alien world. It doesn’t even look that dated 20 years on, as the game has its own weird look and its own sense of style.
Later on, you are glad to have been rescued by a race of huge aliens, you even manage to befriend one as you try to escape the alien city.
The FMV’s between gameplay provide a sense of an epic sprawling alien world and a fully interactive movie experience.
Lester finds a gun in the Alien city which shoots a lazer, a shield if the button is depressed briefly and a huge shield destroying lazer barrage which turns your alien foes into a charred skeleton.
A lot of the fun in this game derives from the many varied deaths Lester can undergo, everything from being zapped to being grabbed by a cave dwelling vine monster, drowning or being decapitated by a huge black lion.
The game has sparse sounds and no music – bar the end credits, sonething which lends greatly to the sparse alien feel of the game.
It’s hard to know where one stage ends and the next begins sometimes as the cinematic experience even within the game makes you feel you are watching rather than playing.
As to controls, it takes some skill to manipulate the player through the varied locations and something as simple as a running jump over a crevice or the raising of shields whilst taking a barrage of lazer fire, takes some considerable skill.
French Software developers Chahi & Delphine Software first major release revolutionised the games market forever. This game was ever the more surprising as it came on only 2 floppy discs due to very little storage required for the polygon graphics. Take that into account against the 14 discs needed to play Monkey Island 2 and you can appreciate how revolutionary this all was.
Delphine followed this up in 1993 with Flashback which pushed the envelope again in terms of what 16 bit gaming could achieve.
If there was a downside to all this, it was that this pretty much pushed 16 bit gaming to its very limits and the next step up would require a step up in terms of technology and this pretty much signalled the death knell for 16-bit gaming.
Youtube Vid Courtesy of Cubex55.