Flashback review

Flashback review

The quest for identity.

Flashback's title screen allows you to play through the original 1992 game in its entirety. A generous move on the part VectorCell, developer of this remake, you might think, but the message is obvious: Look how far we've come. The idea is that we have a quick play of the original and then find out what a difference two decades' worth of improvements in game design and technology can make.

The move backfires. The juxtaposition only serves to highlight the failings of this update - and, perhaps, the folly in trying to remake a game like Flashback in the first place. It does, however, make for an interesting case study in how game design has changed over the years - for better and worse.

Let's start with the good stuff, then. New Flashback is certainly a more accessible game than its predecessor. Its difficulty curve is gentler and its controls aren't nearly so fussy. You can clear gaps without having to wait an agonising split second for a gorgeous rotoscoped jump animation to kick in, and you no longer need to press a button simply to unholster your weapon before firing; here, it's just a case of holding the right analogue stick in the direction of an enemy and squeezing the trigger.

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The original Flashback was, I think a fair few of you will agree, something of a gem, a slick slice of 90s action that hasn't really dated thanks to its gorgeously smooth rotoscoped animation. So it's with equal parts excitement and trepidation that I learnt of a remake, with French developer Paul Cuisset returning to his creation after over 20 years.

The strange origins of Flashback

It began as a Godfather tie-in, and over 20 years later Cuisset's classic is preparing a comeback.

In the 90s, Delphine Studio was a developer defined by two brilliant Frenchmen. On the one side there was Eric Chahi, whose Another World was a game marked by dense, surreal imagery. It was Jodorowsky played as a slick side-scroller, an alien fever dream that retains its ability to stun over 20 years on.

XBLA's Summer of Arcade lineup dated and priced

Flashback and Charlie Murder are only 800 MSP.

Microsoft has announced the official release dates and prices for its XBLA Summer of Arcade line-up, which kicks off on 7th August with non-violent adventure Brothers: a Tale of two Sons.