Developer(s) – Delphine Software & Interplay Entertainment
Publisher(s) – Delphine Software, US Gold, Interplay Entertainment & Virgin Interactive
Designer – Eric Chahi
Another World was the first of Eric Chahi’s two most well known games; the other being Heart of Darkness. Eric Chahi’s most recognizable work is yet another reason why I believe there is not only been a danger of over-emphasis on story in video games today, but there has been as far back as the fourth generation of gaming. Maybe one day, I may find a game that Eric Chahi was involved in that has enough emphasis put on gameplay, but after playing Another World, I feel my search continues.
Graphics – 8/10
The biggest and most worthwhile talking point of this game for me is most definitely the game’s visuals. Whist below par from a graphical perspective, even for the time, the effort put into the game’s conceptual design is staggering. Especially at the time, it was unlike anything that had ever been seen in any video game. Today, it’s also clear to see how many developers drew inspiration from it; for example, the element of two moons illuminating the sky would later be seen again in Dark Cloud, and the element of having to swing to and fro from a cage would be seen again in Final Fantasy IX to name but a few. It’s use of cinematic techniques would also go on to inspire the creation of many future classics, such as Final Fantasy VII and Metal Gear Solid 2.
Gameplay – 5/10
Sadly, like Murdered: Soul Suspect for example, where innovation wasn’t found was in gameplay. By that token, it just seems like too much of a fleeting and repetitive experience, and nothing like what it could have potentially been. The most positive thing I can say about the gameplay is that there is at least some basis in legitimate challenge, as it can sometimes require some lateral thinking to progress through.
Controls – 8/10
What I found puzzling was how unresponsive the controls are, even in the 20th anniversary edition. Like Heart of Darkness, it can add quite a lot of unnecessary frustration at times to a game, which is already inherently difficult. I’ve found the same problem in games that people consider classics, such as the original Castlevania and Mega Man. Hard games should at least have responsive controls to make them as legitimate a challenge as possible, in my opinion.
Lifespan – 1/10
Another World can be completed in less than 40 minutes, and I think even for a time when the average video game lifespan was considerably less than what it is today, that’s intolerable. Nintendo were known for pushing out a lot of 2D side scrolling adventure games, which all lasted considerably longer than Another World, and I think if this game were to have lasted a little bit longer, it would have made even more of a mark than what it did.
Storyline – 5.5/10
The story of Another World centres around a young physicist named Lester Knight Chaykin, who is transported to an alternate dimension after a failed particle accelerator experiment, and finds himself in a one-man struggle to survive. What I like about this game’s story over Chahi’s future effort, Heart of Darkness, is that although minimal dialogue is spoken, it feels more like a fully cohesive concept as opposed to one with a lot of random elements put together in order to form a fully cohesive concept. But there are also elements of the story left unelaborated on and because of that, it seems like less than what it could have potentially been. I believe if these elements were explained and expanded on more, and if more emphasis was out on gameplay, Another World could have possibly have been made into a series of games as opposed to remaining one obscure one for so many years.
Originality – 6/10
Though there’s no innovation in terms of gameplay, credit is indeed due to this game, as so many developers have taken inspiration from it, and it most certainly stands out in terms of both visual concept and story. I only wish more prominence could be found in the element that truly matters. Perhaps then the game could have been seen as a video game masterpiece by no other than another diamond in the rough.
In Summation, Another World to me represents something, which could have been a whole lot more than what it turned out to be. Though a very historically important game, nowhere near enough emphasis was put on gameplay and makes me feel surprised that Eric Chahi thought he could get away with doing the same thing again with Heart of Darkness, and achieve even the same level of success. Maybe one day, I will play one of his latest efforts, From Dust and see if more emphasis on gameplay is put in that, but for now, I remain critical of him.