About 15 years or so ago there was a pretty groundbreaking little game that took gamers by storm. It was called Another World, or in the US: Out of this World. It told the story of a scientist that whilst engaged in research into some form of acceleration using particles experiences a freak storm, the storm strikes the lab that our hero works in and transports him and a chunk of his machinery into an alien landscape.
The game (by today's standards) is retro and archaic, but the game-play still (in my opinion) shines through. There have been many emulated versions for the PC and even some emulated versions for consoles and until now gamers who could only dream of Another World, had to make do with those.
Eric Chahi - the brain behind the game has recently released the 15th Anniversary edition. A re-mastered and quite simply put, Director's cut of the game.
The graphics have been smoothed out (but don't expect next gen PC graphics here folks - they are still true to the original, and that's what lends the game its charm) and there is a totally re-orchestrated and re-mixed soundtrack to boot.
Another World has been called too simple or too hard by some gamers. I prefer to think of it as being a mix, there are some sections that require pixel-jump accuracy and preferably a shiny control pad for the best results and some sections that are just as easy as tapping a button repeatedly to shoot a laser beam at your enemies.
But that was the charm of the game. It had puzzles, fights and a pretty clever storyline that took the hero from bemused scientist on the run to scientist on the run with a blaster pistol and a big brutish alien sidekick, like one of those B-Movie sci-fi films that used to show in dingy old cinemas back before the days of HD TV and Popcorn gamer attention spans.
You can't compare it to today's games because frankly, well, there aren't too many games that have the sheer adrenaline fuelled game experience that's Another World. It had me kicking and screaming at my computer, when I died dozens of times. Thankfully you go back to a previously saved checkpoint (these were always created pretty intelligently and you didn't need to backtrack too much) and try again.
Perseverance was the key to getting the best out of the game and as the story unfolded, Eric Chahi's world came alive. You wanted to find out what was in the next room, you wanted to gun down the big cat-creature that was un-killable but you had to run from it, you wanted to get your own back on the alien overseers and blast them into tiny bits.
It made you laugh in places, cry in others and back in the day it had the power to sweep you along this story just like the original Tomb Raider did. I dreamed of a 3d remake of Another World from the moment I first laid eyes on Lara Croft. I could see the potential, but now I look back, I think it might have lost the feel of the original Another World so I'm glad that they didn't go that route.
Unlike one of the Flashback games, but we won't go into that.
The game cannot be reviewed under the normal criteria, the AI was rudimentary, simple stuff and the strength of Another World's game-play came from its mix of lethal/fiendish puzzles, evil pixel-jump timing and clever use of the game's special weapon.
The alien blaster pistol is capable of churning out rapid shots, a power shot or if you hold down the button and release it quickly a particle wall that can block the enemies' shots at you. By mastering this particular skill you can make short work of the enemies in the game and get back to solving the puzzles and reaching the climax of the story.
It wouldn't be fair to even score it against the games of today, so that's exactly what I am not going to do. I scored Another World on its game-play, the re-mastered sound. The graphics are as I mentioned still true to the original, there are some upgrades but they won't blow your mind.
The animation and use of clever cinematic camera, action sequences and dramatic timing is excellent. Another World used Rotoscoped animation techniques to capture the athletic scientists' motions and those of his lumbering friend, evil alien bad guys. It stands with Karateka and Prince of Persia as one of the truly groundbreaking titles of yester-year in that respect.
If you have ever wondered what people like me were raving about all those years ago, when we mention Another World in the same breath and the excellent X-Com series, then you can now forgo the emulators and get your hands on this shiny new version of the game.
It stays true to the original, has a nicely re-mastered score and by using the save system (of passwords and checkpoints) allows you to play it, leave it for a few days, come back and play it again.
All in all I think that this Director's cut of the game is worth the price tag for a slice of the:
"Highest rated game ever" Computer Games Review
And I actually agreed with them, and still do. You can't go far wrong by getting this; you are in for a treat if you have a desire to experience a re-make of retro-gaming at its finest.
You just need to have more than Popcorn gamer's attention span, no blinkers in regards to graphical quality and a desire to play the game for what it was and not what it could have been if they'd have spent millions remaking it.
If you can get past that, then you're going to have a good time with Another World.
So with that in mind Another World gets a resounding 8/10 from me because it's a classic that you should own (along with Pitfall damn-it Ed.)
There's also a bonus in the package (on the CD are some AW related goodies) and for £14.99 you can't grumble (though some people will Ed.)