I do not have good times with these types of games. Prince of Persia, Another World and now Flashback - an ironic title, perhaps. No amount of fluid animation and nice visuals can alter the fact that I just don't ever feel in control of what I'm doing and therefore have a bad time of things from the start.

By that, I mean that the control schemes these games put out are simple enough, but to me, they just feel off and plodding and wrong, and each and every mistake I make just feels like someone is laughing at my incompetence.

Only I can laugh at my incompetence, y'hear?

Fun Times

Let's at least get the good stuff out of the way. Flashback, from the developers of previous 1001 entries Another World and Cruise for a Corpse sees us on the run and suffering from amnesia in the distant future that is 2142. The only tools at our disposal are our wits, whatever we can scavenge on the move and a gun with infinite ammo.

Sounds pretty good, certainly seems different to the titles that we've played up until this point, and just like Another World, it looks great. But then I've only seen three or four screens worth of it.


This game, as expected, requires plenty of trial and error in order to make progress, and it's the kind of trial and error that requires you to test out solutions to puzzles with items you find as well as your skill and reaction when moving and shooting.

If trial and error feels fun, then I'll let it slide - to a point. But if something handles like a sack of spuds and doesn't present at least some hint towards a solution (on what is the first enemy, no less), then it's understandable that you're going to have some disgruntled gamers, no?

Now I'm hating on Flashback mostly because of me, and I'm not entitled to an easy game catered to my needs. On the other hand, it is presented almost as a film, more than a game, so should it not at least ease players into the game?

Am I just being a whining baby because I didn't stick around long enough to shoot the tiny little stalks that occasionally stick up out the top of those robot things? Probably. Having seen the next few screens, I wouldn't have made it much further if I had worked out what to do on this screen, such is my video game problem-solving ability.

Final Word

I can't rate Flashback on what might as well be five minutes of gaming. Even watching it I can't really rate whether it's any good or not because I've not been following along with the plot.

It looks pretty good, though, with plenty of varied level backgrounds. More realistic than Another World, if you found that too cartoony (weird, because it was essentially a cartoon).

I'm saying nothing of value here because I'm just wasting my time now. I'm glad I very briefly played Flashback so that I could put a face to the name, so to speak. I'm glad I watched it on fast forward because I don't feel it's worth the time at any other speed.

That makes me sound like quite the arsehole when an awful lot of time and effort went into making Flashback, but it's just not my kind of game. What are you going to do about it?

Have I given it a fair chance? Eh, I doubt that. Will I go back to it to give it a fairer chance? Well, if the first impression had this much of an impact on me, something incredibly drastic is going to have to happen in my life.

If you think you'll like it - not that I've told you anything about it, really - by all means try it out for yourself. You can feel smarter than me by making it, oooh, five screens in, shall we say? Go on, you can manage that.

Fun Facts

Nintendo censorship strikes again! We can't visit bars, but we can visit cafes. Thanks, Nint.

Flashback, developed by Delphine Software International, first released in 1992.
Version played: Sega Mega Drive, 1992, via emulation.
Version watched: Sega Mega Drive, 1992 (Torne)