(Super Nintendo)

Another World (Super Nintendo)

Game Review

Another World Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Darren Calvert

Simply out of this world

Poor old Lester Knight Chaykin (Les to his mates), an unwitting physicist, innocently went to put in some overtime in the lab during a thunderstorm one night. Who’d have thought that playing with a particle accelerator could magically teleport him to a strange alien planet when his lab gets struck by lightning?

In the blink of an eye our red-haired hero finds himself underwater with mysterious tentacles grabbing at his feet. There’s no time to waste, he's got to swim to safety. Within the first few minutes of the cinematic opening, he’s avoiding falling rocks, kicking blood-sucking leeches and running away from a giant dog-like beast who wants to rip him to shreds. Thankfully, young Les is a nimble chap, and with some Tarzan-style vine swinging action he escapes to safety.

The beast makes once last-ditch attempt to maul him and thankfully he's saved by an alien guard. Not that it’s on his side, however, the fiend knocks him out stone cold! When Les wakes up, dazed and confused, he’s in a cage with a strange alien cellmate for company. Before long they kindle a friendship and the pair soon get busy rocking their prison, making it collapse on the unwitting guard. Freedom!

There are not many games of this era that have such an impressive cinematic opening sequence. The use of vector polygons creates an attractive visual style and allows the action to unfold with silky smooth rotoscoped animation. It’s amazing to think that Another World was originally the work of a talented French guy by the name of Eric Chahi for the Commodore Amiga. Interplay's SNES port improves on it by adding extra content and background musical scores throughout.

The action takes place within the framework of a 2D platformer. Like Prince of Persia, the main character features lifelike animation and slightly fiddly controls. Les doesn’t have the most immediate reaction times to your commands, which you will need to consider when dealing with dangers like falling rocks or ducking to avoid enemy laser fire.

Very early on, Les finds a cool alien gun that can instantly vaporise any guards who get in his way. He can also set up a temporary forcefield that will protect him and his alien chum from enemy fire. Unfortunately for Les, the guards aren’t shy in using these to protect themselves as well, which can often lead to some tense stand-offs. You can also charge up the gun, R-Type style, producing a powerful blast to break these down as well as certain walls throughout the game.

Aside from the many corridors to explore, there are sections were Les must swim through underwater passages or drive a strange alien vehicle. Your extraterrestrial mate will help you at times by chucking you from one rooftop to another or gesturing to give you a hint of where to go next. The gameplay itself is fairly linear without too much backtracking, so there’s never too much danger of getting hopelessly lost.

Throughout, you will encounter puzzles such as setting up various obstacles before breaking down a dam that, if you get wrong, will kill you in the flood. Most of these you can only really solve through trial and error. There are lots of checkpoints along the way, which help when Les meets an untimely end. This will happen often; thankfully, you have unlimited lives. There is also a handy password system to allow you to get back into the action where you left off.

The game itself is very immersive, and there are few bells and whistles to distract the player. Diagrams, gestures and audio cues provide any guidance that you might need. Interestingly, there are no visual indicators such as an energy bar or score. Obviously the intention here was to create a truly cinematic experience, which pays off nicely as you can focus on the visuals without any distractions.

The look of Another World is quite unique, using vector outlines for the background scenery. The developers also interspersed cutscenes throughout, adding to the sense of depth. The game features some interesting cinematic effects, such as soldiers marching past in the foreground while the action takes place in the back. These allow the player to feel even more immersed in this quirky alien world. The animation for Les and the alien characters was captured with a process called rotoscoping, whereby real people are used as models for the animations in the game; this gives a quirky life-like feel to the movements.

These impressive visuals are complemented nicely by a top notch soundtrack. The music changes pace to suit the onscreen action, which conveys a great sense of tension at just the right times. While the Super Nintendo’s humble soundchip could not hope to compete with that of the Commodore Amiga, this version does at least feature music all the way throughout the game, not just for the opening and ending scenes.

With lots of trial and error, the average gamer might complete Another World in a matter of hours, but it’s a fun trip while it lasts. Replaying it in quick succession might feel a little repetitive, so we recommend a long break after you complete this game.

Conclusion

Another World is certainly well worth a look, and was a very unique game for its time. The quirky artwork and emotive soundtrack are as immersive today as they ever were. Players looking for a fast-paced action game might get frustrated with the trial and error nature, but those who like puzzles and a stern challenge are in for a rewarding experience. It’s unlikely that we'll see a release on the Virtual Console, so your best bet is to track down the SNES cart.

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User Comments (58)

Archy

#3

Archy said:

It made absolutely no sense to me ... I just couldn't get it!

CorbsAdmin

#4

Corbs said:

I could just never get into these games, no matter how I tried. Perhaps a bit too cerebral for my simple mind. :D

JamieOStaff

#5

JamieO said:

Back in 1993, I was too set in my ways for Another World. I had made the transition from the Amiga to the Mega Drive, plus ultimately the SNES, and my head was fixated with fast, explosive arcade conversions. My mate was more open-minded and I remember he introduced me to Another World, and later on he also played through almost all of Flashback.

Reading the intro, most of my Another World memories also revolve around being bitten repeatedly in the leg by a leech, getting chased off a cliff by a huge hound and dropping a cage on an alien thug. I got stuck when my laser blaster ran out of juice and I was fried by enemies in a jail. I only experienced the very early parts of the game.

I found the stop/start, nitpicky animation's reaction times jarring and I felt that it was just a trial and error game, in which you repetitively had to memorise the timing of jumps and actions. I figured it was not much different from Laserdisc titles like Space Ace or Dragon's Lair, games in which I felt a bit disconnected from the on-screen action. Reading this review makes me feel like I've missed out. Come to think of it, there is loads of memory based, repetitive progression in arcade games like R-Type and Shinobi.

I do remember that it was massively atmospheric, I went up a tower and the cinematic camera swooped over the alien world, demonstrating how far you have to travel. As Daz says, the music is also brilliantly implemented, with epic bursts of the score at opportune moments to heighten the mood. However, as I repeatedly died, the death tune which played drove me completely nuts. Perhaps I was just rubbish at this, or maybe I did not have enough patience. I can appreciate that it has aged well, and was attentively developed, progressing Prince of Persia's template and influencing games like Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee.

Cheers @Dazza, perhaps I need to give Another World...another go! ;)

timp29

#6

timp29 said:

Was flashback the sequel to this?

I remember playing flashback on the 3DO and loving the intro and subsequently becoming hooked. What are the chances of seeing another world on the VC?

JamieOStaff

#7

JamieO said:

@timp29 I think that some gamers view Flashback as being a spiritual sequel to Another World, because both games were made by Delphine and both featured rotoscoped animation. However, my understanding is that the games are not directly linked and they have completely different stroylines.

The two games were not programmed by the same people either, Flashback was made by Paul Cuisset, and as Daz notes here, Another World was the work of Eric Chahi.

Other_DaveStaff

#9

Other_Dave said:

Great review Daz. A top game with a stylish look. Took me a while to get used to setting up forcefields but I like this game a lot.

KrazyKain

#10

KrazyKain said:

best bet is actually getting the pc anniversary edition, NOT the snes version.

and this is actually my all time favorite game, Eric Chahi being my most looked up to games developer of all time.

bestbuck

#12

bestbuck said:

Its everyone to there own but I would only give this game 6/10 I found it boring

NeoRausch

#13

NeoRausch said:

such a great game. i owend it on Mega Drive/Genesis and loved it. The Soundtrack is just amazing.
never played trough, though. the "shooting/load up shield"-controls later on in the game just mocked me all the time. but nontheless a very unique and astonishing game!

madgear

#14

madgear said:

Another World is a work of art. The graphics were amazing for the time, it has beautiful environments and a great sense of mystery. The best part of the game, however, is how the story is told. It's completely without text or dialogue - like a silent movie. However it still portrays an emotional story - you feel Lester and the alien actually become friends and the ending is quite a sad one.

I'd love to see this on the Virtual Console but, if it does happen, I reckon a Wiiware version with enhanced graphics (like the 2006 release) is more likely. I don't think Delphine exists anymore and the original creator bought back the rights to the game.

madgear

#15

madgear said:

Also just noticed the SNES box art is terrible! Why didn't they use the amazing original artwork that was on the Amiga and Megadrive versions that was drawn by the game creator himself?

Will_Ireland

#16

Will_Ireland said:

Ah, this is a 10/10 for me. One of my all time favorite games. PC edition is your best bet to get these days. Really, this is just such a fantastic game, also... Best. Death. Ever!

PhillaLoup

#18

PhillaLoup said:

played that game when I was really young ... and had nightmares of it ... now I finally know which game that was ... honestly! o.O

David77

#19

David77 said:

Go on GOG.com (for good old game) and you can download the 15th anniversary edition for 10 bucks. It's way better than the snes version.

Philip_J_ReedStaff

#21

Philip_J_Reed said:

@6 timp29:
Jamie does a good job of explaining Flashback's relationship to this, but Another Word does have a direct sequel as well: Heart of the Alien.

David77

#23

David77 said:

@ Chicken Brutus:
The sequel was not made by the same people. I heard it's a very bad game.

MakeMyBiscuit

#24

MakeMyBiscuit said:

I loved this game and Flashback. Seriously, these were 2 games I missed from my SNES and Sega Genesis. If these games were on VC I would buy them in a heart beat.

Come on VC. I still have some hope for you.

Philip_J_ReedStaff

#25

Philip_J_Reed said:

@David77:
It may not have been made by the same people, and you may have heard it's a very bad game, but neither of those things negate the fact that it is a sequel. :)

SilverBaretta

#26

SilverBaretta said:

I've never actually heard of this game, but, now, I really want to pick it up! Great review, Daz. :)

SwerdMurd

#29

SwerdMurd said:

OUT OF THIS WORLD!

This was the first game to ever achieve a 31/10 Murderscore.

True story. Game has loads of personality...almost survival horror before it was a genre kind of...like Prince of Alien-immersive-strange-sense-of-progessionersia. Rotoscoping ftw.

Never liked Flashback as much...I still play this one straight through on occaision.

EDIT: Anushta! Anushta....anushta! :)

Odnetnin

#30

Odnetnin said:

Hugo Smits?!

Also, does this have anything to do with the Level-5/Studio Ghibli collaboration for DS? That's "Another World" too right?

KDR_11k

#31

KDR_11k said:

Why did you review the SNES version instead of the recent re-make with the more detailed graphics and stuff?

Spoony_Tech

#33

Spoony_Tech said:

I loved his game growing up as a child. The puzzles were unique at that time and presented a nice level of challenge.

Zach

#34

Zach said:

Great review, Dazza! Just seeing these screen shots makes me want to track this down. Good thing I'm about to get a free SNES.

CanisWolfred

#35

CanisWolfred said:

Never played Out of This World, though I think I'd prefer a CD-based version. I loved Flashback on the Sega Genesis and Sega CD, though.

WanderFan91

#36

WanderFan91 said:

I agree with the few users that mentioned it: the box art is quite cheesy, but I don't think it's horrible.

Betagam7

#37

Betagam7 said:

Beat this back in the day. Very cinematic and a lovely bittersweet ending to it. The bit in the gladatorial arena was a horrendous piece of trial and error though...although that may have been the intention.

Just picked this and Flashback up on ebay from Demon212 so will give them both another blast later in the year when I collect them.

Bakajin

#39

Bakajin said:

This review has inspired me to dig out my cart and place it by my monitor, where it will taunt me mercilessly until in another week or so I will plug it into my SNES and let it kick my repeatedly again.

Man I love this game. I only wish I were any good at it. The button-input-lag issue just kills me. That and they really make you careful about conserving your blaster's battery. So atmospheric, and I'm a sucker for anything and everything rotoscoped.

OldBoy

#40

OldBoy said:

Nice review Dazza.Brings back memories of staring at images of this in magazines as a kid thinking that the graphics were the best I'd ever seen. :D Never did get to play it and probably never will now...shame :( sounds cool.

jbrodack

#41

jbrodack said:

Really cool tough game. The snes version has a fairly large amount of slowdown though which I didn't see mentioned in the review.

EdEN

#44

EdEN said:

Need to replay Another World again. It has been about 7 years since I did that.

Yanagi

#46

Yanagi said:

Ah, I have... memories of this game. I used to hear the soundtrack of this game booming in my head while I had nightmares (probably because my younger brother played it while I slept). I can never look at this game without regressing back to that frightened little boy with fevered dreams of being stranded on that hostile alien world.

Forget survival horror games. This is the only game that really scared the crap out of me.

MeloMan

#47

MeloMan said:

I could not swing the Prince of Persia's, Flashback, or Out of this World's for the life of me, but everytime I put them down in frustration, I'd always pick them up again. Maybe one day I'll find the time to fully get them completed.

Does anyone remember one more of these "types" of games where a dude has a shotgun, was in another world, and could fire the shotgun backwards? It wasn't Nosferatu... Argh, what's the name of that game, any have any idea???

JebbyDeringer

#49

JebbyDeringer said:

I always appreciated the game but never really got into it. I didn't really like the controls since they were timed to the animations so there was always a bit of lag with any of your actions. I'll maybe try again and see if I can get into it.

WanderFan91

#51

WanderFan91 said:

I looked up that Blackthorne was done by the same company behind The Lost Vikings (Blizzard), one of the best games ever made, imo. :) I saw Shiryu's gameplay footage of it, and it looks intriguing.

MeloMan

#52

MeloMan said:

Ah yes, Blackthorne, that's the one! Thanks a bunch :)

Yeah, I actually managed to get pretty far in that one. I gotta re-add that one to my "to beat" list :D

JohnWalrus

#53

JohnWalrus said:

I've heard about this a while back, and I wanted to play it. I still do. Hopefully I can get my hands on a PC port...

Shiryu

#54

Shiryu said:

When people question me if videogames can be considered art, I usually point them towards this game and explain how it was made on the Amiga. Timeless classic, it's a shame it's true sequel (not "Flashback" but "Heart of the Alien") only graced the Mega CD.

DrCruse

#55

DrCruse said:

Heart of the Alien is the true sequel for the Sega CD and picks up right after the first game left off. And the Heart of the Alien CD contains the original game as well.

Kenji

#56

Kenji said:

I loved this game and was disappointed by how short it was and at how inaccessible the sequel was. The original is available for Windows at GOG.com, but I'll probably never get to play Heart of the Alien.

Gashole

#58

Gashole said:

“It's unlikely that we'll see a release on the on Virtual Console”... UNTIL NOW!!!

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