Flashback from Manomio LLC is a port of the much-beloved Amiga action platformer from 1992 by Delphine Software Int’l. Delphine created some of the greatest Amiga games ever including Future Wars, Cruise for a Corpse and most especially Another World (Out of this World in the US) but let me not get off track. The version of Flashback presented here is somewhat unique in that it’s not a port per se but a rebuild of the original executable using the REminiscence engine, compiled for the iPhone OS. The catch is that all the original art assets are needed to make the game work. Before you scream ‘copyright violation’ just relax; the developer contacted what what remains of Delphine and they expressed no desire to enforce ownership of the IP. Therefore the assets can be legally distributed as ‘abandonware’. Anyway the notable side effect of that is when you buy the game from the app store all you download is said executable; on first launch it goes out to one such abandonware site and downloads all the assets. Be aware that this can take a long time so be on WiFi when you run it for the first time. I didn’t get round to reviewing this game right away and because of that the 1.1 update was since released which is what I’m now reviewing. That’s a very notable thing as 1.0 was fairly universally panned for it’s poor presentation, control layout and actual game-stopping bug on the game’s 2nd level. The 1.1 update addresses all these things and more so kudos to the developer for taking the criticism constructively and trying to give the public the best product possible.
The backstory concerns 1 Conrad B Hart, agent for the Galaxia Bureau of Investigation. During an investigation he unearths a plot concerning aliens who disguise themselves as gov’t officials and want to take over the Earth; from there it’s all up to you to follow along the journey and help Conrad save humanity. If you’ve never played Flashback before on any other platform, it’s a big game and quite challenging but a summarily excellent entry in the annals of cinematic platformers. The controls here are intact from the original and work well which is quite a feat considering the wealth of moves at Conrad’s disposal. The graphics are pixel-perfect but for some reason appear just a bit muddy on the iPhone so perhaps they can be ‘crisped up’ in an update. The new fullscreen feature is just a screen stretch but even though the aspect is off you really don’t notice too much and it will definitely end up the preferred way to play (unless you’re an absolutely stoic purist). A really awesome feature which is a direct result of the engine rewrite is you can now save your game at any point, unlike the original with its checkpoint codes (which are still there but not used, though they can be in the next update).
My take is the reviewed 1.1 version is worth it to play one of the greatest platformers ever on any platform. If you’ve already played it through in the past, you might wait for a sale to grab it for nostalgia but for everyone else this easily competes with the best the app store has to offer in this category at any price. That said, if you wait just a little longer a lite version is due any day now so you can kick the tires a little first.
version reviewed – 1.1
reviewed on – iPhone 3G 8GB 2.2.1
iTunes music support – yes
Pardon me AppVee for the blatant use of your video but the developer’s promo video is pathetic and doesn’t even show gameplay. Also interesting is this video is from the 1.0 version so you can contrast how it was on release with 1.1+.