Reviews

Flashback 25th Anniversary review – Father Time is Cruel

Originally developed by Paul Cuisset for the Commodore Amiga, the original Flashback became a cult classic whilst appearing on the Sega Mega drive and more infamously on the SNES. 2018’s offering of the title has been cleaned up somewhat and published by Microids and Maximum games. Whilst being compared to other legendary platformers of its time such as the original Prince of Persia, Flashback depended on rotoscope animation for its unique and smooth looking presentation and step by step platforming approach.

Flashback set the benchmark for content with its amount of tasks, character development and satirical comedy elements at the time of release. The title perfectly reflected the economic climate of early 90’s life through the lens of Science Fiction such as seeking work in a job center and touching on worldwide oppression / political tension. However, this reviewer believes there are two types of cult classics: ones that age beautifully and ones that age worse than a sagging breast. The latter could the likened to Flashback.

The main issue this reviewer found with the Anniversary edition is the controls. Flashback employs one action button to cover shooting and interactions throughout the game, this can become cumbersome very early on. How a 25-year-old game hasn’t been re-balanced throughout is beyond ones understanding of sound games development.

Flashback-Nintendo-Switch-News-Screenshot-2

 

Happy Anniversary Honey

The anniversary remaster treatment has been pretty light on the ground for Flashback, with a horrible anti-aliasing feature which blurs textures and a couple of CRT TV effects being implemented. How new technology pasted over a 25-year-old title makes it’s presentation looks worse is beyond this gamer. The CRT ‘Dodgy wire’ effects and screen glow are a lovely throw-back to the glory days, but the gimmick soon wears off.

Another flaw is that the only real modern features that have been implemented is a rewind option to avoid Flashbacks cruel punishments of dying, which is limited by higher difficulties. Whilst this feature makes Flashback more accessible to today’s gamers who haven’t played before, the feature becomes redundant with no amendments to core game-play 25 years on.

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16 Bit Rotoscoping

Before motion capture, there was rotoscoping. This is a motion capture method used mostly within the film industry (George Lucas used this method to create lightsaber beams) Scenes are animated using 16-bit tech but look amazingly fluent for their time by using this technique. The games textures and character sprites have been lovingly hand designed and still look amazing today, especially when compared with the ‘Nindy’ library.

The sound engineering in Flashback is also a product of its time with no major adjustments for this release. However, one believes a re-score would have ruined this release. Think about it readers, Maximum games and Microids already ignored the horrible control system so are we really surprised?

Verdict:

Graphics and Presentation: 4

Sound: 3

Game-play: 2.5

Total Score: 3.2 / 5

Flashback is a brilliant product of its time, however punches smoke in 2018 due to its terrible control layout and slow pace. Once players get used to the control scheme and movement mechanics, they can then start to enjoy the story and immersion. By not updating the dated control schemes and movement mechanics, Maximum Games and Microids have essentially made a classic and essential game inaccessible to the gamers of today. Flashback 25th anniversary is more of a port than a celebratory edition.

Platforms: Nintendo Switch (Reviewed)

Release Date: 17/06/2018

Price: £17.99 (eShop)

Publisher: Microids / Maximum Games

Developer:  Microids / Maximum Games

Pegi Rating: 12+

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