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Flashback - The Quest for Identity: What Did Critics Say in 1993?
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on April 04, 2014   |   Episode 25 (Show Archive)  

   

Flashback: The Quest for Identity (Genesis)
Ever wonder what Electronic Gaming Monthly, GamePro and other popular magazines thought of your favorite 8-, 16- and 32-bit games? Now you can find out, thanks to Review Crew! This is the only show on the internet that is willing to go back in time to find out what old school critics thought of retro games at the time. Did they pan your favorite game? Did they love something terrible? Find out every week as Defunct Games presents Review Crew!

You just woke up in the middle of a futuristic jungle with a bad case of amnesia. It sounds like you're playing Flashback: The Quest for Identity, the 16-bit action game that set the high water mark for rotoscoped animation. But what did GamePro, Electronic Gaming Monthly, Nintendo Power, SNES Force, Mega Play and other old school magazines think of this game back in the early 1990s? Get ready to find out, because today's episode is looking at one of the best adventure games of all time -- Flashback!

(NOTE: Although we occasionally cut for length, no other edits are made to the review. Defunct Games does not change any of the wording, grammar or punctuation use. Also keep in mind that our score is the average of all critics at the time, not just the sample that is reprinted on this page. If you still have more questions, I recommend you check out the Review Crew FAQ, where we address the review guidelines, converting scores, magazine covers and more.)

Flashback: The Quest for Identity
[ Company: Delphine | Console: Super NES & Genesis ]

GAMEPRO (February 1993)
5 out of 5

"If you're ready for a peek at the likely future of Genesis gaming, then flash forward to Flashback. [It's] as close to a no-brainer as they come -- get it! It's as fun to watch as it is to play. Just in time for Valentine's Day, you'll love this game. Don't let the bad guys break your Conrad Hart." -Linoleum Blown Apart

GAMEPRO (January 1994)
5 out of 5

"Like an episode from the Twilight Zone, Flashback takes you on a mind-blowing journey into the future. Flashback has all the ingredients of a 16-bit classic: great graphics, extraordinary animation, cool sounds, and adrenaline-pumping action. The only bad thing to say about this game is that it's so addicting, you won't have time for anything else." -The King Fisher

DIE HARD GAME FAN (May 1993)
97% out of 100%

"There are some games you just have to have and this is definitely one of them. Can you compare it to Out of this World ... No! Here's what's better. Graphics, color, animation, story, playability and control. I guess that's about everything ... Amazing." -Skid

SEGA FORCE #18
95% out of 100%

"Flashback is hopefully the start of a new generation of games. It's 20 times more involved that Out of This World yet it's easy to get into. It's living proof that the MD can survive on cartridge games alone and doesn't need a CD player to produce stunning graphics and sounds. Keep up the good work, US Gold, you're doing Birmingham proud!" -Paul

MEGA PLAY (February 1993)
94% out of 100%

"Wow! This is the best looking, best playing cart that I've seen in a long time. The graphics are phenomenal and the animation is so fluid you may think you're playing a Sega CD game. The music and sounds are topnotch. The game play is filled with puzzles and lots of strategy as well as intense action." -Martin

SNES FORCE #8
93% out of 100%

"To put it bluntly, buy Flashback at the earliest opportunity. It truly is one of the best pieces of software released this year, offering exceptional gameplay, amazing graphics, excellent spot effects and an overall package to last for ages." -Simon

MEAN MACHINES SEGA #7
93% out of 100%

"Groinks! I thought Another World was about as good as Megadrive graphics got, but how mistaken I was. Flashback may not appeal quite so much to everyone, it's not as frenetic as something like, say, Sonic 2. However, anyone who likes a bit of story to their death and even, gasp, a bit of role-playing will see this as an all-time Megadrive classic. Either way Flashback warrants more purchasing than you can shake a stick at." -Rad

SUPER PLAY #15
91% out of 100%

"This is excellent stuff, and definitely represents the Future of Platformgaming (or something). You get the impression that the SNES is struggling slightly to achieve what you'd be better off doing on a PC, but that doesn't stop Flashback from being one of the most playable, atmospheric and downright great games the SNES has got." -Jonathan Davies

ELECTRONIC GAMING MONTHLY #46
9 out of 10

"Flashback is one of the best games ever made for the Genesis! The action is non-stop, and it really feels like you're playing a movie! My only suggestion is that you get a joystick, because the generic Sega controllers aren't precise enough to handle the diagonal motions necessary for some of the specialized techniques." - Sushi X

VIDEO GAMES & COMPUTER
ENTERTAINMENT (March 1993)
9 out of 10

"After finishing the last level in Flashback, I walked away from the game feeling that I had actually truly enjoyed it. The sheer sense of utter frustration that I had originally encountered Out of This World was never present. Flashback without a doubt proves that you don't have to drop nearly 300 bucks on a CD-ROM game peripheral to enter the "Next Level" of video gaming." -Mike Davila

NINTENDO POWER (January 1994)
4.4 out of 5

"This sci-fi adventure begins in the jungle of Titan, one of Saturn's moons, and then proceeds to Earth and beyond with the fate of humanity in the balance. Conrad Hart, a man who has lost his memory, hunts for clues while he is pursed by danger. PLUS: The story, animation and graphics are awesome, almost cinematic. MINUS: Play control takes some getting used to."

ELECTRONIC GAMING MONTHLY #56
8 out of 10

"You have to check out the rich color and intense graphics of the game. Finally this game shows what the Genesis can really do graphically. Also the animation is near perfect. Some people may get bored with the adventure aspect but if you're into it, the game is interesting throughout. There are lots of tough puzzles to solve and excellent backgrounds at every scene. Even if you're into the other genres I'd still get it." -Sushi X

NEXT GENERATION #4
3 out of 5

"Each of the game's seven missions are fiendishly clever puzzles, and the graphics are a joy in themselves. The game's controls are, as ever, almost mind-numbingly complicated, not to mention requiring a fairly steep learning curve. However, the rotoscoped character movements are silky smooth, and once you get the hang of things, it looks and feels so natural you'll think you're there. Great stuff."
REVIEW CREW AVERAGE: 90% - With the exception of Next Generation, the critics fell in love with Flashback. Although the critics largely preferred the 1993 Sega Genesis cart (93%) over the 1994 Super NES port (87%), both versions rated extremely well for the time. The general consensus is that Flashback is bright and colorful; with animation so fluid you might mistake it for a movie. A few critics noted the control, with Electronic Gaming Monthly's Sushi-X recommending an arcade stick for more precise play. Nintendo Power may have noted the unwieldy controls, but that wasn't enough to keep it from earning one of their highest scores. As of this issue, Flashback was Nintendo Power's 18th best reviewed game.

UPDATE #1 (JULY 24, 2014): We added a review from Video Games & Computer Entertainment, written by Mike Davila. This added review does not change the average score.

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