Another World – 20th Anniversary Edition (Wii U eShop) Review
Another re-release of a popular 90’s title has arrived! And like a Wine aged 20 years, it is potentially questionable in quality depending on the brew. The prospect of another re-release might not be as exciting as it once was but that should not deter yourself from going back and reliving an occasionally forgotten classic. On the initial release of Another world back in 1991 it was considered an amazing achievement in terms of expanding the possibilities of a cinematic experience in games that had rarely been seen before hand and surprisingly parts of it still deliver in a big ways. It expanded the scope of games in the same way they have expanded the definition of the 20th Anniversary to represent a release 23 years after the original* – it is bold but had issues.
If you have never played this game before the plot is fairly simple but very cool in it’s Sci-Fi concepts. You play Lester, the protagonist of this here space voyage who makes the unfortunate mistake of disregarding all the feng shue rules in placing his office desk at the end of a Linear particle accelerator – needless to say it doesn’t end well and he gets punished by being teleported to an alien world… to Another World!
Spawning into a a pool/dangerous aquarium (it has tiles around it so I don’t have a clue here) you start to explore the world of extreme danger, in the first minute you have to avoid Japan’s nation sport of Tentacle dodging, avoid poisonous cat sized lychees that have drop bear like tendencies and out smart of giant bear that probably represents something like capitalistic depression compounded with the fear of parenting issues, this depends on how deep the developer went on the writing… I over analysing this.
It is not long before you are brought into the main gameplay and story line of being kidnapped forcing yourself to fight for your escape and get back home. This involves you solving all manner of puzzles, navigating various platforming sections and fighting off your captors to figure out a way to progress. You progress in a very linear fashion essentially making this a very interactive story this is both it’s strength and it’s weakness.
When this first came out it was a very original and incredibly bold title that could get you absorbed into a alien world while trying to figure out all the little tricks and oddities of each area. I am happy to report that if you did play this originally and it has been a very long time since playing – you will most likely be absorbed back into this other worldly, weird and obscure place in its unique style and atmosphere. All the cinematic qualities are still just as engrossing as the day it was released, the adventure lives on as you remember it like a great film or book.
The one things that most players will also remember was the very sluggish poor control that the game provided and this has not changed – for in order to keep this game faithful the biggest flaw’s are still present and still drag down the actual gameplay. One of the reasons why it usually took people so long to finish this game was that the amount of deaths you would have to endure from failing a jump or accidentally running into an enemy, it is still just as frustrating today. This is a game from an era where control was somewhat abused as the push for additional visual grandeur had higher importance than greater gameplay. It is a shame because beyond the actual base gameplay this is a title that is exceptional in every other way.
Like a lot of the modern re-releases, all the visuals have been redone with every background being redrawn in exquisite detail – and yes, the option to switch between the original art assets and the new on the fly is included. While a little bit of the charm is lost of the new assets, I’m not entirely sure if this is just nostalgia clouding my vision or my slowly fading eye sight due to excessive hobby of sun binocular staring contests, but that is another issue altogether.
Audio is unchanged however but it does include the entire CD audio track from the later PC/3DO releases, in no way is this a bad thing as it didn’t need to be changed. Every sound effect resonates with the drone of an early 90’s audio processor but combined with the unique and alien backing audio tracks. While there is not much memorable in relation to the audio it doesn’t annoy the player but it doesn’t exactly stand out in any memorable moments.
It is great to see this game get another release as it is a somewhat forgotten classic predominately of the early 90’s PC era, it is not remembered as fondly or in a fanatical manner similar to the like of Mario games but for those that played it, for the most part always has a special place for them. While the gameplay doesn’t hold up to the riggers of time – it didn’t have the most abundant amount of quality gameplay begin with.
Despite that this is a game that really should be played by old players returning and new ones discovering it for the first time. It might not handle great but the rest of the game is still just as engrossing as ever, the simple yet effective cinematic nature combined with odd and unique level design and challenges combine to push forward a brilliant narrative that everyone should at least try.
It might not have the re-playablity factor that is present in most other traditional games but it is a brilliant is somewhat flawed experience worth taking a look at.