by Justin Snyder, reviewed on
Filling a gap
Despite that adventure games were my introduction to the world of gaming, Another World (aka Out of This World) managed to fly under my radar. When I learned about the HD re-release and about its importance for PC gaming, I was excited to fill this gap in my gaming repertoire. The five hours that I spent with Another World felt too short, but were as great as I could have expected.
Another World held me enthralled from the moment that its intro cinematic started to play. The art style - simultaneously dated and somehow fresh - is great in its simplicity. A one-button switch allows you to switch between the game’s original look and the updated graphics. It was great to see that the fundamentals of the original had not shifted in any way whatsoever. The feel of the characters and environments have been improved by smoothing out jagged lines and adding more detail in the environment, backgrounds and more. Delphine also re-mastered the game’s audio, everything from sound effects to character noises and the musical score been improved. And here too, purists have the option to toggle the re-mastered sound on and off. Yet the key parts of the game look exactly the same. For those who would pick this up out of nostalgia, the switch is a definite bonus.
Another World stars Lester Knight Chaykin, a genius physicist. The intro cinematic shows Lester driving his Ferrari 288 GTO through a thunderstorm and arriving at a remote particle accelerator, apparently to work on some experiment. As he starts the accelerator, things quickly spiral out of control. The device is struck by lightning and some anomalous event occurs, transporting Lester, his computer, and a chunk of the ground around him to some distant alien planet. Lester finds himself in a pool of water, and, as his things float to the bottom, he has to swim to the surface, avoiding strange tendrils that reach up from the depths for him.
Do a little dance
As I guided Lester through this strange, wasteland-like planet, stomping on slugs to avoid their deadly poison and being chased by hulking creatures that would kill me in a second, I felt incredibly engaged. The traditional “find stuff and put it together in interesting ways to solve puzzles” gameplay found in your average adventure game is simply not here. Another World is all about observing the environment, acting on reflexes, and occasionally solving frustrating platforming puzzles (curse you man-eating floor traps!).
Early on, Lester comes across an alien guns that becomes his sole means of defending himself throughout the game. It fires standard laser shots, but charging it can place a shield that blocks incoming shots and charging it even longer fires a giant beam that breaks shields, as well as some doors and walls. Combat can be anger-inducing at times, but for the most part it is an enjoyable dance between the player and the enemy, a fluid mix of offense and defense to dodge grenades, breaking down shields, and overcoming your enemies before they can take you down.
The games puzzles often require unique solutions, some of which kept me stumped for quite some time, and one where I only discovered the solution by accident. True to form, the solutions require quick thinking to avoid certain death while either cleverly taking out the enemies or diverting their attention to clear your path. Sometimes, it is pure reflex as you have to outrun or outshoot whatever’s coming at you. Either way, it is always fun. Another World is a tight experience, a factor that certainly comes from the era in which the game was originally released. There’s not much room for fluff, so Delphine didn’t have any reason to deal with it.
Another World is a short experience, and those five words are the only negative ones I can come up with. Despite getting (embarrassingly) stuck on some puzzles, and having to play the game’s last sequence a few times, I finished the game in about five hours. Yet I didn’t feel gipped, I didn’t feel let down, or like there should have been more to it. As I watched the game’s ending, I just felt a sense of satisfaction. This was five hours of my time that I enjoyed immensely, frustration-inducing moments and all.
Great gameplay; nicely done re-mastering of visuals and sound; fun for nostalgia seekers and newcomers alike.