Another World: 20th Anniversary Edition (Nintendo 3DS) Review

By Rudy Lavaux 21.03.2015

Review for Another World: 20th Anniversary Edition on Nintendo 3DS

There are games out there, in the history of video games, which have marked big steps forward in terms of technical advancements. Classics such as Pong, Pac-Man or Donkey Kong have marked their era, each by accomplishing something special that helped move the video game format forward as a true mainstream entertainment media. Back in 1991, video games that offered a truly cinematic experience were limited to arcade machines that employed the laserdisc to output a constant stream of full-motion videos on a large disc, such as Dragon's Lair, or classic 2D games that attempted recreating realistic movements through the use of rotoscopy, the ancestor of motion-capture, as was the case with Prince of Persia. Games that offered real-time graphics to offer a truly movie-like experience, however, could not yet be considered as feasible. However, Another World, or Out of this World as it is known outside of Europe, attempted to fill that gap, through clever uses of the technology of the era. First seeing a release on the two popular micro computers of the era, the Commodore Amiga and the Atari ST, the game quickly saw ports to the SNES, Mega Drive and many other formats of the time, bringing the wowing experience to as many people as possible who will remember it to this day as being a unique and ground-breaking experience. Fast-forward to 2014 and the HD re-edition of the game released a few years back on PC for its 20th anniversary finally lands on consoles. After taking a look at the Wii U version, it is time to dive into the portable, 3DS iteration.

The game opens on Professor Lester, who experiments on antimatter creation using an underground synchrotron during a thunderstorm when his lab is struck by lightning and the experiment, going badly wrong, sends him into what seems to be another dimension - a totally different planet, inhabited by all kinds of monster-like creatures and a humanoid race of aggressive aliens.

What sets the experience offered by Another World well apart from anything else is how the player is thrown into control and action right off the bat without a single idea of what he or she has to do or how to accomplish it. This is indeed truly a trial-and-error and riddle solving experience, from beginning to end. Additionally, what little story there is gets told through cut-scenes devoid of any dialogue, other than the occasional line of indecipherable alien language, and yet everything still manages to make perfect sense, which in itself is quite an accomplishment. Back then, the lack of dialogue could easily be attributed to technical limitations, but nowadays most game designers would shudder at the idea of conveying a story with no text or voiceover whatsoever. Another World, for this alone, deserves its title of landmark masterpiece in the history of gaming.

Screenshot for Another World: 20th Anniversary Edition on Nintendo 3DS

The player is sent into the action as soon as arriving on the planet, and has to battle for their life through unexpected situations from beginning to end, requiring multiple attempts to figure out the way out of a tight situation, which is easier said than done. For example, Lester gets thrown in jail very early in the story and has to escape his cell, with explanation. Even as he does so, he has to run down unknown corridors, pursued by guards that shoot on sight! Little does the player know that the three-pixel-tall black line lying on the ground near the wreck of his cell is the laser gun that was carried by the guard he just killed! However, even when picked up from the ground, sure enough it's easy to press a button to shoot, but this alone isn't enough to survive the next few seconds of being chased by guards. It must be discovered that holding down the shooting button for a while can summon a force field to block enemy fire or that the gun runs out of energy if used too liberally, or even that it holds yet another unexplained function!

Screenshot for Another World: 20th Anniversary Edition on Nintendo 3DS

The player literally IS Lester, in all his lost and confused feeling of desperation, in the midst of action. That, while it may seem frustrating and clunky for some, will appear as simply genius to others as it works better than a lot of modern games at immersing the player into the action of the game.

Scene after scene unfolds, and should death occur, Lester is sent back to a previous checkpoint, which auto-saves progression through the game, with the main menu allowing previous points in the story to be visited without the need for passwords, as had previously been the case in the SNES version, for instance. Speaking of which, the amount of checkpoints has been at least doubled, meaning that death won't be as punishing this time as it used to be in the original versions. While this will make the experience less frustrating, it will also make it much shorter. Indeed, not having to go back too far after dying means that the game doesn't have to be mastered quite as much as it used to require and means that less time will also be required to finish it, thus diminishing its longevity. It doesn't make the whole experience less enjoyable, though, instead merely offering less worth for money spent, which is unfortunate.

Screenshot for Another World: 20th Anniversary Edition on Nintendo 3DS

What else does Another World 20th Anniversary Edition bring? On home consoles the game adds HD visuals as the main centre of appeal. This, of course, isn't to be found on 3DS, as the 400 by 240 pixel screen is simply incapable of producing the same level of detail as a HDTV. This portable version does have the added new details in the scenery that the Wii U version adds, but pressing the Y button, other than making these new details disappear as the game plays in its original form, the only noticeable difference that remains could be compared to a light anti-aliasing effect. Also, much to most people's displeasure, the game offers absolutely no stereoscopic effects, which is truly a shame! This 3DS edition does feel like a quick and dirty port to the handheld as the bottom screen even remains desperately black from beginning to end, as its existence, and that of the 3D screen of the handheld, are simply ignored. The sound part has the same enhancements as the Wii U version at least, however, the ambient sound effects track of the re-mastered option does not even loop properly and produces a light "pop" sound every time it does so, which is kind of infuriating considering the price of this is the same price as the Wii U one. Saying that, the re-mastered option makes the whole experience too bland anyway compared to the SNES or, even better yet, Mega CD soundtracks, which did add to the experience, so the included option of playing with the latter soundtrack, coupled to the original sound effects should be preferred at the end of the day anyway, and those loop properly.

Screenshot for Another World: 20th Anniversary Edition on Nintendo 3DS

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Another World: 20th Anniversary Edition takes a beloved classic of the past that hasn't necessarily aged very well and brings to players who are hungry for monuments of gaming history just the version they needed to finally take a dive if they hadn't already. Those who played it back when first released may find here a good reason to dive in again on their Wii U and reminisce youth, albeit at a kind of a steep price. Waiting on a discount may be a good idea for those who have their hesitations. The game is indeed fairly short and this 3DS version, compared to the home console conversions, doesn't offer the same level of detail and comfort of play that a large D-Pad and a big screen can offer. It only offers portability, doesn't bring HD graphics, offers a shoddy attempt at a re-mastered sound effects track, and completely overlooks what gives the 3DS its identity - a stereoscopic 3D display - which would have made this worthwhile and would have given it the edge that it now lacks in the absence of HD. Nevertheless, the simplistic design, HD rendition, great CD soundtrack of the Mega CD version, and the overall intriguing experience of trial-and-error still stand out well enough to make this a worthwhile purchase for those looking for a unique experience on the eShop at the moment. Whether or not one needs it to be completely portable, though, has to be taken into consideration when choosing between this version and the otherwise much better Wii U one, both sold at the same price on the eShop.

Developer

The Digital Lounge

Publisher

The Digital Lounge

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10 (1 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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