It’s the stuff of legends, the game that blew people’s minds back then and has…kind of held up…I’ll explain. This was the Amiga game that, visually, was stunning at the time, there was simply nothing like it back then. But has it aged gracefully? Innovation is great but there’s always something else to innovate and up the ante, leaving the previous innovator in the dust. So here’s a French rotoscope cinematic platformer that goes by the name of Another World, known in the US as Out of this World and Outer World (アウターワールド Autā Wārudo) in Japan. It was developed and published by Delphine Software and was first released in 1991 for the Amiga and then ported to many, many consoles. It was designed by Éric Chahi, who was inspired by other sci-fi work like Dune, Hyperion and of course, Star Wars. The development of the game took two years and that’s massively impressive when you look at what the result was.
So we have a young physicist named Lester Knight Chaykin, he experiments with a particle accelerator where he wants to reconstruct when the universe was first birthed, but before the particles can reach their destination, a lighting bolt during a thunderstorm interferes with the experiment which causes a particle fusion and rips a hole in the time space continuum, which sends Lester to another planet, or…ANOTHER WORLD! He finds himself captured by aliens but manages to escape with the help of Buddy…and this is where I usually tell you that they’re supposed to do but…there really isn’t an objective, you run and try to shoot aliens in the most awkward way possible. At the end of the day, you’re not really fighting to achieve anything, you play it, solve the puzzles and then getting a climax that doesn’t feel like one and it ends, an hour of nothing much happening. So there isn’t really a story of sorts, you got to make it up as you progress.
So the game is known as a Cinematic platformer where the visual aspect of the game makes it the way it is with fluid animation and has near real life rotoscoped movements of the character or the art design, and yes, Karateka and Prince of Persia were the first games to do it and I will take a look at them in the future. Now let’s talk about the gameplay. For newcomers it can be a little awkward, considering that you move left and right which is no issue, but for the action buttons, we have a shooting button that is also used as a running button when holding it, but you’ll quickly get used to it.
Other than that, it’s one of the most trial and error games I’ve ever played, even more than Limbo, mostly because you’re solving puzzles. Though I hate most of the puzzles because they’re the ones where you have no idea what to do. For example, I swim across a hole which I made because I shot a hole below and there’s an alien there who will kill me no matter what I do, so what do you do? Go to another room above, find this green set of chandeliers, make sure the alien’s reflection is in the center of one of them, shoot it and it will crush the alien…HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO FIGURE THAT OUT??? And there are many puzzles like that where you need to backtrack and that’s probably the reason why it would take hours to finish considering that if you play it perfectly you can beat it in around 30-40 minutes. So yeah, the puzzles are way too cryptic.
Now to the reason why it became a hit. The graphics. I mean, no one had seen animation in video games like that at the time and I will say, it would have blown my mind had I played it back in 1991. But here’s the thing, I played the 20th Anniversary Edition of the game on the PS4. This version gives you the option between the original graphics and the remastered version, both in HD. The original version in HD severely ages the graphics and the remastered version doesn’t look any good either. With that said, I absolutely adore the level design…so long as it’s in low quality. Yep, the graphics and unique level design are much better in slightly low quality, just enough that you can appreciate the world you’re exploring. You also get some music but it’s mostly background music that isn’t too important to really hear but it’s just to liven up the atmosphere.
Overall, this is…OK, it’s not the best game ever made, heck, the only reason why it became a classic was the graphics, but even then it hasn’t aged well, neither has the gameplay. But despite the issues, I still enjoyed it and I think it’s because the design is very appealing, it’s still one of the best looking games design-wise out there. It’s a game I do recommend to everyone to at least try, though you may want a guide if you ever want to finish it, especially the second half of the game.
You can get it on Amiga, Android, Apple IIGS, Atari Jaguar, Atari ST, BlackBerry 10, Game Boy Advance, iOS, Linux, Mac OS, Microsoft Windows, MS-DOS, Nintendo 3DS, OS X, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Sega CD, Sega Genesis, SNES, Symbian, Tapwave Zodiac, Wii U, Windows Mobile, Xbox One and 3DO. Though DO NOT purchase the PC physical copy of 15th Anniversary Edition due to the DRM BS.
Feel free to take a look at my Facebook page, where you’ll find review posts, my art work and maybe some other random bits and bobs.
You can also take a look at my Twitter page, if you like tweeting too.