Remember The Time: Flashback Remake

By Adam Smith on April 11th, 2013 at 7:00 pm.

Another World’s re-release allows players to turn off the new graphics and play with the game as it was originally designed instead and I am very pleased about that. Less pleasing is the trailer for the remake of Delphine stablemate Flashback, the story of a man with no memory rolling through a jungle and appearing in a deadly gameshow. As with Another World, it’s difficult to detach memories of playing Flashback from memories of how the game looked – it had a varied palette and tremendously expressive animations, all of which fed into a clarity of control. The trailer for the remake, which is being developed by Vector Cell and five members of the original team, strongly suggests that everybody involved has forgotten many of the things that made Flashback worth experiencing.

Now, try to forget all about that. It’s probably for the best.

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85 Comments »

  1. Lim-Dul says:

    Man, the generic 2.5D style they opted for looks terrible and pretty much like some kind of budget title. The protagonist looks and sounds like a douchebag too…

    Flashback was all about unearthing the mystery what happened to you and few other games have captured the initial confusion of “Who am I? Why am I here?” better than the opening levels set in the jungle. Here it all looks “plastic-y” and the trailer focuses solely on frat-boy CoD generation action scenes…

    • Guvornator says:

      You mean like how the Dishonored trailers focused on the violence? While I agree that it’s a pretty bro-tastic trailer, the actual game-play looks exactly how i remember it.

      I’m not sure that game-play shots of a guy operating switches going “I hope I get my memory back so I can teach those (enemy protagonists) a thing or two” would have been terribly interesting…

      All that said, an Ubiart version would have been rather lovely.

    • Lemming says:

      At this point, I’m just grateful they went with 2.5D and not straight to 3D. Developers are clearly paying attention at this point. This could’ve been Syndicate all over again easily enough.

  2. tikey says:

    Do You Remember… Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio?

    • belgand says:

      I hope you mean Rock and Roll Racing. That game was great.

      Actual rock radio is never going to be the same thing it was even 15 years ago.

  3. Serpok says:

    I was excited when I first heard about rerelease of Flashback, drowing paralels with Another World’s one.

    But this looks horrible.

  4. Jesse L says:

    Big douchebag has a little holo-douchebag friend. That’s the douchebaggest thing I’ve ever seen.

    LOOK AT HIS FACE

  5. ass wasp says:

    One of those voices in the trailer sounded eerily like the ‘hello granvpa!” guy from xenus 2 white gold.

    • MOKKA says:

      One? All of them!

    • GreatUncleBaal says:

      Glad it wasn’t just me who thought they’d heard that! “Gravnpa where you going?”
      Now I’m going to have to watch that video again.

  6. Hodge says:

    Christ, that looks terrible.

  7. CaspianRoach says:

    I remember… the diagonal jumps. Drove me nuts.

  8. Maxheadroom says:

    Meh, couldnt be any worse than Fade to Black

    • termit says:

      First time poster, long time reader, etc..

      Why is it that so many people don’t like Fade to Black? I remember struggling with the controls at first, but after I got used to them, the game was pretty entertaining. Actually one of the few games that I played and finished more than once when I was(a lot) younger and was OK with pirating any game that caught my eye.

      • Maxheadroom says:

        Whoop! I broke someones post cherry! :)

        You are right though, I guess I never really did give it a fair go and I actually remember very little about it bar the dodgy controls.

      • FakeAssName says:

        I loved the shit out of fade to black, esp the fucked up alt ending if you shot the wrong chick at the end and had to fly the ship with no prior exposure to it’s mechanics.

      • derbefrier says:

        I loved Fade to Black too. Thanks for letting me know I am not the only one on this planet that remembers that game.

        • FakeAssName says:

          I constantly wait to see that game on GOG … hopefully the rights to it are not that fucked up.

  9. harakka says:

    Aside from excellent graphics, I didn’t think Flashback was that great of a game when it came out. Its sequel, however would be much more interesting to see remade, it seemed ambitious and had a lot of interesting gameplay elements, but suffered from clunky controls and low poly (although stylized) graphics of the early full 3D era.

    • chackosan says:

      The animation was fantastic too. It was the best feeling drawing your pistol mid-roll and getting the drop on the other guy.

  10. Shazbut says:

    The second level of Flashback is one of the greatest of all things, or was. I suppose we’ll find out which soon enough.

    I don’t think it looks that bad, just cheap. I was enjoying it quite a lot up until 0:26

    • Risingson says:

      Yes: the second level of Flashback is not only the core of the game, but a masterpiece of level design. Sometimes I play Flashback again only for this level.

      About the remake: as many say, the original game was known for its visual style, animation and such. This doesn’t have any memorable art style, at least for what we are shown.

  11. sk2k says:

    Uh, is it for PC too? The trailer suggest it’s not.

  12. MOKKA says:

    I only know Flashback from a bunch of Screenshots, I never played it. However the game looked so unique that I’m still able to recognize it.

    This remake however does not seem to have this power, which is a shame.

  13. Shadrach says:

    Oh god. I remember.

    Now I just want to forget.

  14. Widthwood says:

    I wonder why no one announces a 2D platformer made like Heart Of Darkness, but with modern tools. The main thing about it afaik was that backgrounds were basically movies, that allowed insane amount of detail, effects, very smooth animation and seamless transition between gameplay and cutscenes. The only downside was that the game was very CPU incentive so they had to seriously limit supported resolutions.

    With today’s technology there are basically no limits at all since movie playback and scaling are hardware accelerated even on phones. A modern day variant could easily look like a playable 2D Avatar and have the same level of graphics on all platforms.

    • Kobest says:

      Heart of Darkness…good old days, man! :)

    • Innovacious says:

      And Heart of Darkness just happened to be the work of Eric Chahi, who worked on such other Delphine games as Future Wars and Another World. Not flashback though.

  15. RakeShark says:

    The transition to full render 3D does not do this game any favors. Surprised they couldn’t do a merging of 3D and 2D animation, kinda like Titan AE or Treasure Planet.

  16. Dariune says:

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooo

    Flashback was and remains to be my favourite game ever made and they look to have completely ruined it :(

    I was really excited about this.

  17. MichaelPalin says:

    Can’t wait to see how they ruin the wonderful cover too. I’m betting some sort of soldier walking towards the camera leaving explosions and evil aliens behind.

  18. Optimaximal says:

    Isn’t one of the problems that Flashback’s draw was trying to work out what was happening.

    Surely the majority of the people who would be interested in a remake have finished the original (or at least played past the second level, so have a good understanding of what is going on), rendering the point of the game moot?

  19. strangeloup says:

    I actually thought it looked pretty good, myself. Though I’d certainly be happy with a straightforward upscaled version a la Another World, this seems quite promising to me. Between this and Blood Dragon, it felt like Ubisoft Trailers Of Things I Want Day.

  20. Tyrone Slothrop. says:

    Cheesy action-game with a horribly named protagonist and a plot that feels like it was conceived by a nine year old in the contents page of a library book? Seems the same, has nostalgia really blinded everyone? Trick question; undoubtedly.

    Well my brainless, horrendous action tripe of the 80′s is far better than your brainless, horrendous action tripe of the 00′s!”

    • Toberoth_Syn says:

      Ain’t the noughties no mo’!

      • Tyrone Slothrop. says:

        Mo’ noughties, mo’ problems.

      • thegooseking says:

        To say nothing of the fact that the original game was released in 1992, which was not the 80s no mo’.

        • Tyrone Slothrop. says:

          I think the salient point escaped you.

          • thegooseking says:

            I really have no idea how you arrived at that conclusion. I didn’t comment on the salient point because I had nothing to either add to it or argue against it. Don’t mistake that for not getting it.

    • Greggh says:

      “Well my brainless, horrendous action tripe of the 80′s is far better than your brainless, horrendous action tripe of the 00′s!”

      I couldn’t find better words to describe it.
      … no, actually, I do…

      Saudosismo – it’s an aesthetical (written) art trend, that started in Portugal, which derives it’s name from “saudade”, a word to which there is no exact translation in english, but it kinda means ‘longing’, ‘yearning’…

      So to everyone who belitlles this game based only on saudosismo, I fart in your general direction!

    • sinister agent says:

      What’s wrong with “Conrad Hart”? It’s a normal, reasonable name, not the usual awful generic macho crap. I’m surprised they stuck with it rather then renaming him JAMES STEELE or JOHN STRONGMAN or MAX AMERICA. The capitals are important.

  21. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    No, Ubisoft. Just no.

    Man, I love Flashback.

    • sabrage says:

      As soon as I saw the Ubi logo, this all made sense.

      • Guvornator says:

        Yeah FUCK Ubisoft, man! I mean, admittedly, they’re just publishing it and it’s actually being made by a company led by the creator of Flashback, and, sure, with both Rayman:Origins and Beyond Good And Evil they proved they have more imagination in their little toe than, say Activision have in their entire company, but whatever, FUCK THOSE GUYS!

        • Milky1985 says:

          Yeah they were working on it for a few months BEFORE they even showed it to Ubisoft, so the ubisoft hate may (for once) but unfounded :p

        • Jackablade says:

          “…it’s actually being made by a company led by the creator of Flashback…”
          whose last game was the execrable Amy.

          • Guvornator says:

            Not saying it’s not going to be shit. Saying if it’s shit it’s not necessarily Ubisoft’s fault. If you want to take stand against them and their DRM fuck ups, fine, but don’t make out like they’re a shoveler of crappy games.

  22. Stackler says:

    Even if it wouldn’t be a pile of horse dung… I will NEVER buy another game from Ubisoft again. These big publishers can die for all I care.

  23. Strangerator says:

    To enhance enjoyment of game, erase your own memory before starting.

    Out of this World and Flashback both had that certain eerily quiet and disquieting aesthetic. This one looks to be reimagined as a generic side-scrolling action game. Just goes to show you, you can create something great without understanding why most people find it great.

    They also really were beating us over the head with the whole memory wipe thing. Didn’t the first game start without the player even really being given any prompting that the protagonist had lost his memory? The player gets up and says, “why am I in this jungle?,” and the neat thing is, as you play you realize the protagonist is just as confused as you are. I guess such nuanced little cool moments are too good for us these days.

    • sinister agent says:

      Also, Conrad gets his memories back right at the start of the second level, which is maybe 20 minutes into the game at most.

      That’s admittedly a weakness of the original game though, really. They didn’t make much of the concept, considering the title points to it so strongly.

  24. Deadly Habit says:

    Guess I’m in the minority still amped for this.

    • Slurpy says:

      We both are.

      Or at least, I would be, if it was coming to PC.

  25. sinister agent says:

    I just went “Ooooh, hurra-NOOOOOO!”.

    Guess when the transition was!

    It will be interesting seeing how this turns out. I doubt it’s going to be that great, to be honest. Flashback has aged poorly in many ways, and one of the areas where it hasn’t (those magnificent animations, which are easily the most naturalistic in any game you could name) has obviously been changed already. I love Flashback, but it was of its time, and it’ll take some imagination to recapture it.

    Also if they change the ending I will poke this cat in the eye.

    • Emeraude says:

      Current readings make it sound they want to make the game too much of *this* time.

    • Risingson says:

      Flashback has aged? Really? During this last month I finished again Another World, Prince of Persia and Flashback. None of them has aged, all of them still retain the glorious game design they are known for, all of them are just hard enough, and the trial-and-error mechanics work because they teach you how to beat the game.

  26. derbefrier says:

    I don’t get it. Whats so bad about it? The cut scenes were pretty cheesy but who gives a shit about the story as long as the gameplay is faithful? I dunno looks cool to me. I am sure I’ll buy this as i never beat it back in the day. I didn’t beat a lot of these classics since I rented most of these games when i was a kid.

  27. Thiefsie says:

    I would be more agreeable about this if Chair were at the helm…

  28. TechSmurfy says:

    Since you brought up Flashback -which is on my play queue for like ever- may I ask my fellow RPS readers which version do you recommend? PC-DOS or Sega CD? On one hand PC version is closer to the original, on the other I would like a “full” experience with voiceover and FMVs, so I’m stuck between the two. I’m specifically asking between the two, I don’t want to hear anything about Amiga or Jaguar. Glad we made that clear.

    • Emeraude says:

      May I point you to this ?

      http://cyxdown.free.fr/reminiscence/

      • TechSmurfy says:

        Hmm… interesting. Thank you for the link. An effort to combine the best parts of each version? I see “support” for Sega CD files (speech, not FMV :/), but apparently no port has combined/compiled these features thus far. Nevertheless, I’ll bookmark it.

  29. MultiVaC says:

    WHAT HAVE YOU DONE AGENT CONRAD BEEHEART

  30. eclipse mattaru says:

    Cool, if there was one thing that the original game needed desperately was to get rid of its beautiful stylized art and have generic piece of shit photorealistic graphics instead.

    Also moar explosions.

  31. Vartarok says:

    This is cancer made of AIDS.

    What a terrible mistake.

  32. kikito says:

    That konrad has too much facial hair and doesn’t look French enough.

  33. Milky1985 says:

    Actually looks quite interesting really, saw hte crouch and roll so as long as that is kept in and kept important it will feel right (as you did roll about a lot in that), if they can make it play a bit like shadow complex it will be good i think.

    A lot of the people saying it looks crap are really forgetting how retarded some of the sections in the original were, I had the SNES version as a kid and it took me months to even get out of the jungle because of the lift that basically everyone only ever found by accident.

    And there was that THAT section at the start of the second level, being one of about 4 times you had to use the special run jump that was different to the normal run jump, the one you had to use most of the time. The story that jumped around because it was just unexplained in places (different places depending on the version as well) and a tshirt that random changed colour, a hairstyle that changed and a lack of a face. it had issues, but it was a great game, i really enjoyed it (once i got out of the fucking jungle)

    I enjoyed the origional, this one looks interesting, hoping for a demo however to try it out for myself.

  34. Werthead says:

    This looks pretty faithful to the original in terms of gameplay. Graphically, it’s been updated but that’s to be expected. A version of the original that works fine with modern PCs would be nice, like ANOTHER WORLD’s revamp, but this certainly doesn’t look too offensive (and my 1994 Kixx reissue of FLASHBACK does still work through DOS-Box, just without any sound…and for some reason it won’t go past the first copy protection bit on the second level). In fact, the cut scenes and cheesy dialogue look like they’ve been taken straight off the original game and just updated with modern graphics.

    Something that is more concerning is that they are reducing the difficulty level. The original game wasn’t that hard (it’s one of the few from that era I ever fully completed), just rather obtuse in some places, like oddly-positioned lifts and a few PRINCE OF PERSIA-style bits where the only way to proceed was to blind-jump into an abyss.

  35. ner0 says:

    I seriously don’t know what makes you say it looks horrible, aside from the biased article title.
    I thought I might be remembering incorrectly the original so I even played a few clips from Youtube.
    Nothing horrible about this remake. Although the voice acting and the intro seem a bit underachieved, the rest looks pretty good. Fortunately, they didn’t go “full-Assassin’s Creed” on it. Can’t wait to play it.

  36. Rick Lion says:

    Old FB was more exploration game with a story, little puzzles and medium action. In this have more boom-boom-boom action, explosions, and splashes, than feelings of great adventure without memory.
    And this… have no art style. Now we, unfortunately, live in time of remakes. But in one is good. This is no second game about Conrad. Just remake.

  37. Rick Lion says:

    I am very sorry that I will not see the new FlashBack in this art style …
    http://media.moddb.com/images/articles/1/115/114796/auto/longrun_and_reverse.gif

    but …
    http://media.indiedb.com/images/articles/1/115/114603/auto/n2_attack_and_idle.gif

    on the other hand can be born new FlashBack