Another World

From one world to another...

I think a fair few gamers are familiar with the first handful of screens from Another World, a Dragon's Lair-like adventure where the fate of protagonist Lester is determined by our quick reactions and puzzle solving abilities.

Sorry, Lester. We hardly knew ye...


It takes a little while to get a feel for the sense of weight the animations and controller inputs are giving you in Another World, and so your first steps will be of the Bambi-like bumbling around variety.

In any other game, this scraped knee wouldn't be a problem. Any action hero you could think to mention has gone through far worse and lived to tell the tale. If it's not obvious by now, such a wound in Another World is fatal.

To be fair, that little scratch was probably a glaringly large entry point for an alien poison to work its way through Lester's bloodstream, and being a particle physicist he's not exactly the action hero type. Another World requires you to try something out, fail, try again, succeed a little more, but generally fail again so you learn for the next time.

Personally, too much of that puts me right off a game, so I didn't get too far when playing the Sega Mega Drive port.

Fun Times

But just look at it. It is a sight to see, isn't it? It's like a sci-fi Prince of Persia, but not so much of a dungeon crawler - rather a cinematic epic.

Failing - repeatedly - at making progress through Another World is one thing, but failing to at least watch Another World is quite another, and you should just stop and watch a run through the game right now.

That was a video of the 20th Anniversary edition, but unlike HD remakes like The Secret of Monkey Island, the revamped graphics have been kept as minimal and functional as the originals. Backgrounds have seen some added details, certainly, but Another World looks as good now as it did back in the early 1990s, and in the early 1990s it looked fantastic.

Lester has been teleported to - ah-hah - another world, thanks to lightning striking his particle accelerator at just the right moment, and from the very first screen at which you are in control of his movements, you are under threat from something or other.

In the early stages it'll be strange creatures and menacing beasts, but soon enough an alien race makes their presence known, locking you away like the trespasser you are. Escaping their clutches requires some exploration, puzzle solving and smart gun play - as well as the determination to keep going when you mess up time and time again.

Your futuristic weaponry involves a laser pistol that can also generate shields and has a charged shot for knocking down walls and punching through the shields of your enemies, and you'll be doing a fair bit of both, sometimes in order to progress, other times simply to clear your path for later.

Add a jump button and you're about done with what Another World asks you to do with Lester's movement and action options. Your limited tool set will still allow you to venture through a multitude of environments, and they look like nothing else you've seen in gaming. Or at least they did, back in the day.

Final Word

As you would imagine, timing and positioning are almost vital in a game like this, but generous checkpoints and a short story will help you get through the game - I assume. I didn't finish it myself.

I don't think I ever will finish it myself either; not because I've watched it now, but because I know I don't have the time and patience to keep trying, even with a guide to follow. What would be the point in doing that? Where would my achievement be?

No, instead, I get to say that Another World clearly belongs on this 1001 list. I've not even bothered to mention the tech and the history behind its creation, but that's worth a read as much as Another World is worth playing. And failing at. And playing again.

Fun Facts

There are some butt naked aliens seen from behind towards the games end. Nintendo were not best pleased with their ample buttocks and required them to be somewhat censored - to the tune of three pixels per butt crack...

Another World, developed by Delphine Software, first released in 1991.
Version played: Sega Mega Drive, 1991, via emulation.
Versions watched: Amiga, 1991 (World of Longplays)
20th Anniversary, PC, 2011 (Achievement_King)