Fade to Black, apart from being a great Metallica song from 1984, it is also the name that received the first official sequel to the legendary Flashback 1992. It came out three years later, drawing attention to the radical change in your perspective.
To be considered the spiritual successor of an icon like Another World, also from Delphine Software, the rise of 3D caused Conrad Hart’s second adventure to take on a totally different look. And this has resulted in the long run hulking retro-break, aging fatally at the graphical and playable level.
Escaping New Alcatraz in a 3D world
Set 50 years after the first FlashbackHere Conrad woke up from a lethargy seeing again the beings whose planet he had destroyed in the first adventure. Yes, those aliens nicknamed Morphs, with the appearance of mutant longhands and the ability to mimic themselves in human appearance to deceive us, caught us by surprise, dragging us to the New Alcatraz from the Moon.
Luckily, an ally, named John O’Conner, emerged from this prison, who facilitated our escape with a PDA to communicate with him and open the cell door, apart from a pistol. However, the feeling of being before a different game was more than palpable, going from a game of scroll side to one within a three-dimensional world, ironically flatter in its verticality.
Just compare the image above with the video below …
From that jungle setting Flashback started with, we move to a completely closed and less showy environment in this sequel. Luckily, yes, the futuristic prison (year 2190, by the way) was just one of the many scenarios to visit, although graphically there was a significant downturn if we compared the cinematics of its introduction scene with those of the game itself in action.
Today his Gouraud shaded polygons are very minimalist. But it is that the choice of a view from the shoulder was not something that worked perfectly, making waters with the aim when shooting, With Conrad’s own head obscuring vision. It was not even a satisfying mechanic with the control because of how slow the movement was if we wanted to dodge by side steps or when ducking.
Fade to Black has not known how to age well at all
The Flashback essence that captivated us so much in 1992, was gradually diluted. That measured control, heir to the Prince of Persia by Jordan Mechner, it was complicated here with unusual clumsiness and slowness, typical in part of a 3D world that would reach its zenith the following year with Super Mario 64. It is that there is an abyss if we compare both works. And only a year separates them!
Of course, the design of its rooms did not help, with great similarity between all those in the same region. And it is that from the initial prison, the most austere of all, we went to others with more color, but the same pattern: an alien ship, a temple … The problem is that it became a more corridor game in which everything was summed up to solving puzzles by stepping on certain tiles or activating certain mechanisms with the hand, while eliminating the presence of enemies in a game of “let’s see who shoots faster.” And the jump? Here it was relegated only to prevent us from stepping on some trap tile. He was quite orphaned.
I still do not explain why a certain magazine in our country gave the version for PlayStation of Fade to Black (which debuted in 1996, a year after MS-DOS) than the first Resident Evil, because in its day it seemed very inferior to me and replaying it now shows that it has aged fatally. Like the old man we have to escort in one of the phases of history … Or, worse if possible, in a section in which we control a ship that does not stop bouncing. Very irritating.
That there will be a sequel to Flashback, It is something that undoubtedly makes us happy, because everything seems to indicate that Microids will bet on the same style of the 1992 classic, also having the very same Paul Cuisset, creator of the saga, as supervisor. Although this also invites us to be cautious, because he not only worked on the “first” sequel of 1995, but also on the failed reboot the Flashback and 2013. At worst, we have the promising Lunark.