Another world

his classic game has been officially rerelased to the web in an updated and upgraded version, available for purchase via download from the creator’s website

A short demo is also available for download, although it doesn’t give a lot of gameplay.

Another World (aka Out of this World) is an action-adventure video game, developed by Delphine Software, released in 1991. Though not as famous as other games, it was groundbreaking for its time, achieved cult-status, and introduced a new style and feeling for computer games, making the experience resemble more that of watching a film. It spawned one direct sequel: Heart of the Alien (1994) for the Sega CD platform, which was very similar in concepts, but surprisingly, not a bit as successful as Another World; and two additional follow-ups: Flashback (1992), which was mistaken for a sequel because of similar gameplay and set in the same universe, but actually has a completely different storyline, and Fade to Black (1995), itself a direct sequel to Flashback.

It is worth mentioning that in (1997) OnEscapee was released for the Amiga, which while not directly connected to either Another World or Flashback, is so similar to both that it could be considered a third unofficial follow-up. OnEscapee won “Game of the year 1997 – Amiga Flame”, “Game of the year 1997 – Amiga Max” and “1997 CU Superstar – CU Amiga”, a testament to the greatness of the Another World experience.

Eric Chahi returned to the concept after leaving Delphine. In 1998 he and his new company Amazing Studio made Heart of Darkness, that is in many ways very faithful to the spirit of Another World.

Storyline

The player takes the role of Lester Knight Chaykin, a young physics professor who is transported to an alien world after lightning strikes his particle accelerator during a unique experiment. After getting captured and escaping, he must try to fight his way home against wild creatures, natural hazards, and the local race of humanoid aliens.

What makes the game unique

Mood

The game’s graphics, sound, surprising cutscenes and in-game events all come together to create a very rich and special atmosphere. Small background animations give the feeling of a real, living world. For example, in the jungle at the beginning of the game, birds fly in the distance, vines sway in the wind and a lion-like creature lurks in the background, silently stalking the player. At any given moment the player can expect a sudden death (usually with a short close-up cut-scene). This is not typically recommended in game design, but in Another World this is used to great effect. Fortunately, the player is provided with an unlimited number of chances to continue from the beginning of the current section of the game upon dying.

Although no words are spoken aloud in the game, the characters communicate and emote through their facial features, gestures and actions. The game successfully conveys the casual brutality and inhuman cruelty of the alien guards; the fear of the defenseless alien prisoners who are threatened by both the guards and the player; and the feeling of panic and impending doom, and ultimately of liberation, felt by the player and his alien companion as they attempt to escape from their captors.

Gameplay

The game frequently breaks the limits set by its own game interface. For example, at one point in the game, an alien guard knocks the player down and kicks away his weapon. He then picks the player up by the throat, holding him aloft in the air. The player, having no idea how to handle the situation without the weapon, may instinctively press the fire button, causing Lester to kick the guard in the crotch. Now free, he can run for his gun and pick it up while rolling on the foor. The game often puts the player in an entirely new situation, wherein the player’s only choice may be to button mash their way out.

Technical aspects

The game took two years to develop and, unusually, was developed by a single person, Eric Chahi. Chahi designed, programmed, and did the artwork for the entire game (the sound was done by Jean-Francois Freitas).

The game is the first to use 2D polygons for all of its graphics. As a result, the game has a unique visual look. Furthermore, it was possible for hardware at that time (notably 286s) to display the full-screen animation, which adds to the ‘film-feel’ of the game. The extensive use of sound and animation made the game feel like the early CD-ROM games becoming available at the time, yet the whole game fit on a single 1.2-megabyte floppy disk.

The idea and technology of using 2D polygons for games were done by Chahi six years before Macromedia Flash.

Trivia

  • The game is rated as the #1 DOS game of all times on MobyGames.
  • The game was released in the United States under the title Out of this World to avoid confusion with the popular, and totally unrelated, soap opera called Another World. Another World, however, is the game’s original title. Ironically, a science fiction sitcom called Out of This World aired at the same time of the game’s US release.
  • There is a cutscene in the second area which many people miss, because it is not required to see it to finish the game: In the prison, when you and your alien companion reach the elevator, take the elevator up instead of down. You’ll arrive at a room. Look out the window by walking to the right.
  • Another game by Eric Chahi which resembles Another World in many ways, is Heart of Darkness.
  • Recently, this game was released to the public domain for play in the Game Boy Advance and via emulation with raw (Rewritten engine for Another World).
  • It has also been released for the GP32 in the GBAX2005 Handheld Coding Competition.

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