Also known as “The Quest for Identity“, Flashback is a classic platform action game from Delphine Software International, set some time in the future, where you’re trying to piece together your memory after a recent trauma. The MS-DOS version was first published by US Gold in 1993.
What caused that trauma is gradually revealed to you in a series of almost silent film-like cut scenes. The visual style in Flashback is simple but well-drawn and animated. The main character is rotoscoped so is particularly well defined. The cut scenes are a little cheesy in places, but at other times are extremely well done, and in the PC version are enhanced with extra ‘shots’, giving them more detail and a slightly longer run time than in most other versions.
Where it counts most, though, is with the gameplay, and Flashback has an excellent ‘rigid’ style of gameplay, with a very agile lead character who can be deadly when controlled by the right person. Being able to do a running jump and grab onto a platform above you takes a bit of practise but in reality most of your moves are easy to pull off, it’s just the timing that’s hard. You also have a pistol for shooting, which you’ll need from the first level onwards. There are plenty of hostiles – aliens and robots alike – and they become tougher the kill the more you get into the game. Thankfully the game uses passwords to start at the beginning of the eight main levels, with save stations during the game at certain points.
MS-DOS Flashback is a superb game. A classic even. It could even be argued that it’s the best version of the game around. While I’m not sure about that, I can say that it’s one of those games that everyone should play at least once in their lives, and playing the DOS version is a great way to do it.
More: Flashback on Wikipedia
Steam: Flashback on Steam
GOG: Flashback on GOG.com