Part 1Ah, Flashback. Released by French company Delphine Software in 1992, and according to its Wikipedia article in the Guinness Book of Records as the bestest selling French game of all time. Flashback was a staple of my childhood alongside the Commodore Amiga, and for my first attempt at an LP I could think of nothing more I'd like to run through and poke affectionate fun at.
Flashback is frequently mistaken for the sequel to Another World. This is rubbish - Heart of the Alien was the sequel to Another World, Flashback was more of a follow-up, taking Another World's initial starting point - a step platformer mingling gunplay and cinematic storytelling - and running with it to create something altogether more complex and polished. It also used a new form of rotoscoped graphics to create some of the smoothest platforming animation since Prince of Persia.
Interestingly, Flashback was initially going to be an licensed adaptation of The Godfather, but they drifted away from that pretty early in development - and it must have been pretty damn early, because I can't imagine how they'd have reconciled everything otherwise.
Anyway, that's enough wankery, let's get onto the screenshots and silly captions. If it really matters to anyone I'm playing the SNES version through ZSNES, although the game was also released for the Genesis, Sega CD, Jaguar, Amiga, PC, Mac, 3DO and 'Archimedes', whatever the hell that is.
The intro throws us right into the action with a very James Cameronesque sequence in which our hero's feet flee down a corridor amid a storm of gunfire. His knees do not fire lasers, as this image implies.
And here are our pursuers. At this time all we know about them is that they're terrible marksmen and both go to the same tailor.
Luckily for our unknown hero, someone left a hoverbike lying around, and in the future, bike locking mechanisms rely on the honour system.
The bad guys arrive too late. One of them gets a bit overexcited and shoots aimlessly in our hero's general direction, despite the fact that he is long gone and was moving much faster than the laser bolts do.
The other bad guy, who seems to have a slightly better head on his shoulders, makes for a high speed pursuit vehicle.
They easily catch up with the bike which appears to be flying through the void of space.
Suddenly, the rider's luck runs out, or the driver of the hovercar suddenly remembers how to shoot properly.
The bad guys sweep the area to make sure their prey is dead...
...and seeing nothing after about two seconds, they decide to drop the matter and head off home. These are not, it must be said, the most motivated evil henchmen in the universe.
And thus begins Flashback, although the title screen features Ace Ventura for reasons unclear.
Shortly: getting to grips with your protagonist