Another World Still Out Of This World… - subsaint Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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Another World Still Out Of This World…

The past month or two I've been on this retro - throwback kick where I have been playing a ton of old Super Nintendo games. While others have been playing Killer Instinct on their brand new Xbox Ones, I've been playing the original. Hmm, let's see...what else have I played? NBA Jam, Shadowrun, Doom Troopers and Secret of Mana come to mind. In nearly every instance these are being played on an original SNES. But I recently found one of my all-time favorite SNES games on the unlikeliest of platforms.

I don't know how long Another World has been available on Steam (wait, yes I do...apparently it was released on April 4, 2013), but when I discovered it there on October 31, 2013 - I happily paid the $9.99 price tag to acquire this gem of a game from my early days of gaming. I have blogged about this game on a number of occasions including the lead character, Lester Knight Chaykin, a geeky scientist and the unlikeliest of heroes. I have so many fond memories of this game I couldn't wait to play it again.

Lester Knight Chaykin

Lester is an experimental physicist who gets drawn into another dimension when a lightning bolt strikes his underground lab, disrupting an experiment with his supercollider. (Source: Giant Bomb)

I'm always somewhat hesitant when I play a game on a different platform than I originally did, fearing it might alter my impression of the game. Seeing the game had controller support for the PC version, I hooked up my Xbox 360 controller and jumped right in.

I'm happy to report the game has been beautifully recreated in all of its wonderful splendor. And not only does it enjoy improved graphics, with the click of a button you can transition between the original graphics and the revised graphics. It's amazing how much better it looks, but also how well the game looks and feels and captures the essence of the original. Equally amazing is how I remembered nearly every puzzle as it appeared, since I haven't touched the game since the 90s. I do remember when I played through it the first time it was one of the more challenging games of that time. Not just challenging...down right brutal. It was definitely one of those games you learn by trial and error...error usually in the form of your death - and you trying the level all over again.

Contributing to the difficulty, it is one of the few games I have ever played that basically does nothing to help you figure out what you are supposed to do. There are no hints or clues. There aren't really any color variations or flashing colors to draw your attention to particular places or objects.  You don't have a HUD or a map or an inventory system. No on-screen text. The other non-player characters speak some sort of alien language, assuming you're alive long enough to actually hear them.You just have to wing it.

While it is extremely difficult, there are plenty of those moments where you think or say to yourself...

"Oh, if I do this, then this will happen and I then maybe I can do that."

It's cool, because whenever I had a moment like this...it was always accompanied by that little twinge of excitement that I was on to something. Especially when I tried it and it actually worked. I'll give you an example, and I'll try to speak in generic terms as to not spoil anything, in case you are so riveted by my blog you actually give the game a try.

There is a part where if you move past a point, something will kill you. You try and sneak past it. Death. You try and move by it quickly. Death. You try and jump past it. Death. You try and figure out a different way to go. Realizing there isn't a different way, you repeat the sneaking, moving quickly and jumping method one more time just to make sure. Death. Then you remember there is an object nearby. Seems insignificant. You don't really understand how it can help. You interface with it. And it moves. And you think, hmm...if I time it just right. This object might distract the other object...and I can get by it, safe and sound.

And then you try it.

And it works.

Yeah, Another World has plenty of those moments.

Something else I find odd about the game. It seemed so difficult when I played it the first time. It took forever. I don't know how many hours I sank into the game, because back then...our systems didn't track the amount of time we played them (and we're probably thankful they didn't). But Steam tracks this. And apparently I finished the game in less than three hours. Not bad, especially since I went back and got all of the achievements (only three hours though, really? I swear I spent much longer when I played it the first time around).

Which brings me to my next praise of playing the game all over again on Steam - achievements.

The game has thirteen achievements, and truth be told, they're fairly easy to unlock. You pretty much play the game, beat the level and get an achievement. But there is one in particular that was kind of neat. And that is the Secret UFO achievement.

I can honestly say I don't recall this from the original game. But apparently if you wait in a particular area for too long, a UFO flies across the screen from left to right. And if you wait around to see what it is up to, you may be in for a little surprise. Now I know I mentioned above the game never really prompts you what to do, so I may have to clarify that just a little bit. In this particular instance, you will figure out really quick what not to do.

All in all, it was a wonderful moment (a three hour moment) playing this game again. Having the polished graphics but leaving the gameplay alone resulted in an exceptional title, just as exciting now as it was the first time I played it nearly 20 years ago.

A challenging game with an epic story illustrating the power of never giving up and trusting the unlikeliest of allies, Another World is Out of this World.

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