Video Game: Another World
It took 6 days to create the Earth.
Another WorldAnother World
took 2 years.
is a Cinematic Platform Game
developed by Eric Chahi for Delphine Software
. The title of the game was changed to Out of This World
when it was released in America by Interplay Productions
, to avoid confusion with the popular NBC Soap Opera
, Another World
In Japan, the game is known as Outer World
To say the game was innovative was an understatement. Chahi himself wrote a polygon routine that would allow the graphics to be composed of vector outlines — which would take up less space than normal sprite graphics. Like Jordan Mechner did with Prince of Persia
, Chahi also used video recordings of his own brother to create rotoscoped
animations for the project. The result was an epic, cinematic masterpiece which told a story without the use of dialogue, voicework or screen text, and with cutscenes that led from one part of the story to the next. Controlling the player character was done via two buttons, with the player character performing a wide variety of different tasks depending on his location, speed, and movement.
The story itself concerns a hapless, adventurous and athletic young physicist named Lester Knight Chaykin, whose particle accelerator experiment gets zapped by lightning
one evening, sending him to a hostile alien world. There, Lester gets captured by an advanced race of huge warlike humanoids, who send him to an underground prison colony. With the help of a fellow prisoner, who becomes his "Buddy," Lester breaks out. He then spends the rest of the game trying to evade recapture and death at the hands of...well... pretty much everything on the planet
This game is notable, not only for its dramatic storytelling and early survival-horror roots, but also for being one of the most Nintendo Hard
games to come down the pike since Battletoads
. The slightest misstep meant death in any number of horribly unspeakable ways. The console versions of the game — such as the SNES
port — were made more difficult than the MS-DOS
versions (which themselves
were more difficult than the original Amiga
version), reportedly to give players "more value for their money". (Although it may give some players a strong desire to throw their keyboard/joypad at their TV.)
A sequel, Heart of the Alien
, which switched the roles of Lester and his alien "Buddy", was released in 1994 exclusively for the Sega CD
. This sequel was developed by Interplay without Chahi's involvement, though the original game's composer Jean-François Freitas contributed a CD-quality soundtrack.
Chahi eventually created a hi-def port of Another World
for Windows XP with higher resolutions and better graphics. This version is known as the Collector's Edition
and is well worth owning according to some, a blatant money grab according to others (because the first two levels, which are free, are markedly more "updated" than the later levels players must pay for). Mobile ports of this exist (see below).
By the way, here's
an official freeware GBA
port (also playable on emulators, of course). There is another one based on the 3DO
version, requiring the 3DO game itself in order to play.
The official PC version of the game can be bought from Good Old Games
(by the way, anyone who purchased the 15th anniversary edition gets a free upgrade to the 20th anniversary edition as the main installation file on GOG, with the 15th anniversary installation being an extra), and from Steam
, complete with achievements!
A version of the game optimized for both iPhone and iPad
is available here
, along with a version for the Android OS obtainable here
These versions, and the 20th anniversary edition of the PC version, features added difficulty levels (both easier and harder), both the original and remastered graphics (that you can change at any time in-game), an achievement system, and for the mobile versions: a new touch control option on top of the option to use the standard Pad-style controls. The GOG version, while lacking an achievement system, makes up for it with the inclusion of the full manual, making of Another World, development diary, HD wallpapers, technical handbook, the install file for the 15th anniversary edition, and the sound track from the Sega CD version of the game.
This game contains examples of:
- Adaptation Expansion: The PC-DOS port (along with all the subsequent ports) added an entire stage between the scene where Buddy rescues Lester from a long dead-end corridor, but before they enter the gladiator arena. The 3DO version also adds an extended ending which serves as a teaser to Heart of the Alien (which strangely was never released for the 3DO).
- American Kirby Is Hardcore: Both the SNES and Genesis versions place extra◊ emphasis◊ on the Beast.
- Badass Bookworm: Lester
- Bowdlerised: Alien blood and nudity were edited out of the North American SNES version (Chahi cynically defined "nudity" as the censors complaining about "three pixels of too much butt-crack" on a female alien, which were simply required to be shortened rather than removing the actual "nude").
- Cardboard Prison: Lester and Buddy's ceiling-suspended cage.
- The Cavalry: Lester is cornered in a room with no exits to his right and the enemies are coming in force from the left. Buddy appears from an above Air-Vent Passageway, grabs Lester's arm and saves him not a moment too soon.
- Controllable Helplessness: Subverted in the prison scene. Just apply momentum to the ceiling cell.
- Subverted again at the end. Despite taking some beating and not being able to walk, you can crawl to the other end of the room to activate a beam to kill the red-eyed alien, and open a teleportation passage in the ceiling to make your escape, just before the third wave of shots misses you.
- Cool Car: Lester's black Ferrari in the opening cinematic. It's identified as such when the lab's security system scans the key in his pocket; he might still have the key for the rest of the game.
- Crashing Through the Harem: One of the levels in the game is an alien harem.
- Cutscene: There's a few.
- Cutscene Power to the Max: In these games any mistake is usually immediately fatal. Yet in the cutscenes in the "Heart of the Alien" prologue Buddy takes some insane falls and just gets right back up and dusts himself off.
- Death by Looking Up: Lester swinging the cage he's suspended in, causing it to crash on his guard's head. Another clever puzzle involves a balcony above a patrolling guard. His reflection is seen on some hanging globes; shooting at the globe sends it plummeting onto his skull.
- Deflector Shields: Temporary and stationary force shields that are created by charging the pistol for a second and releasing a newly formed Energy Ball to create a shield. They only protect Lester from standard shots, charged shots destroys them, and anything else can pass by them. The enemies has access to permanent kind, and are able to make the balls travel a short distance, usually from off-screen, before creating a shield.
- Disintegrator Ray: The pistol reduces everyone to the scorched skeleton, which then explodes by itself, leaving nothing behind.
- Downer Ending: In Heart of the Alien, Lester is fragged by an electric field and dies. On the flip side, Buddy avenges his death, sets his tribe free, and gives Lester a proper burial (or as proper as they interpret it).
- Easter Egg: In the 15th and 20th anniversary editions, if you pick up the gun in stage 2 and go to the far left and wait, a UFO will come in to beam off Lester.
- Embedded Precursor: Heart of the Alien, subtitled Out of This World Parts I and II, includes the first game with a remixed soundtrack.
- Enemy Rising Behind: The tentacled monster at the beginning of the game, which will grab you if you don't leave the vicinity of the pool after escaping from it.
- Energy Ball: Charging the pistol can make two kinds of these: smaller ones for creating Force shields and the bigger ones for discharging a very powerful blast.
- Energy Weapon: Everyone's gun.
- Escape Pod: The tank in the gladiator arena has one that Lester and Buddy used to make their escape.
- Everything Trying to Kill You: Probably one of the more extreme examples of this. Even the slugs in this game are deadly.
- Falling Chandelier of Doom: See Death by Looking Up above.
- Fire-Forged Friends: Lester and the other Alien captive are total strangers. Then Lester frees himself and the captive and earns his trust. The alien Buddy stays loyal to Lester even if he has to (nearly) sacrifice himself to save him.
- Foreshadowing: When Lester discovers the city by looking through a window, he can see a silhouette on one of the buildings. Turns out it's the dragon he uses to escape the city.
- Freak Lab Accident
- Friendship Moment
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: For Heart of the Alien, the flash backs in the intro show Buddy's whip can be used to vaporize enemies with a smack or even just a touch. In the game, even when you get the whip charged, whipping does nothing to the enemies and is only useful for platforming. It suddenly works on a particular enemy in the last stage though.
- Gentle Giant: Buddy, Lester's alien ally who helps him escape but leaves the fighting up to Lester until the very end.
- Grey Skinned Space Babes: Near the conclusion of the game, Lester and Buddy crash-land into a swimming pool populated by distinctly female aliens. (See Bowdlerization, above.)
- Gladiator Games: The tank sequence.
- Groin Attack: How Lester escapes the grasp of a jailer. Some things really are universal.
- Guide Dang It: Several examples, including the tank button puzzle.
- Have a Nice Death: Heart of the Alien includes cut-scenes, most of which depict the many ways Buddy got killed.
- The 20th anniversary editions of Another World has an achievement system (save for the GOG version). One achievement is called "Free Fall", which is granted immediately after Lester falls from a great height at a certain level. The timing is pretty funny.
- The Hero Dies: In Heart of the Alien, Lester attempts to fight off a hostile alien after he pummeled his friend to the ground. This did not go well for him...
- Heroic Mime: Although pretty much everyone keeps very quiet (and the alien language is impossible to understand anyway).
- Well, yeah. In the one scene where he's still on Earth there's no one for Lester to talk to, and nobody would understand him the rest of the time.
- Heroic Sacrifice: In Heart of the Alien, Lester rescues his buddy from an ambush and attempts to fight off the hostile alien. He gets electrocuted by an electric field in the process.
- Homage: When fully-charged, Lester's gun bears more than a slight resemblance to a Kamehameha... Incidentally, at the time of development, Chahi was busy reading DBZ mangas during coding breaks.
- Leap of Faith
- Lightning Can Do Anything (when combined with a Magical Particle Accelerator). Like transporting someone to another world.
- The Many Deaths of You
- Master of Unlocking: Buddy is apparently quite good at lock picking, as he jimmies the doors open during the level two prison break using...nothing, apparently? This might go a long way toward explaining why he's in prison in the first place.
- Market-Based Title: Retitled Out of This World in North America to avoid confusion with the unrelated soap opera Another World. Ironically, there was a sitcom called Out of This World that premiered around the same time as the game. So when released in Japan, it is simply called Outer World.
- Muzzle Flashlight: After Lester cut some power to the lights, he can now run across the previously lighted area with the lasers shooting from below barely missing him and lighting the now dark area. Though he can use a temporary shield to provide the light he needs to see a gap in the next area.
- Nintendo Hard
- To put in perspective: the 20th Anniversary versions has an Achievement for dying 100 times. Even on the easiest difficulty level, most players can expect to see it long before beating the game. However, these versions have checkpoints show up much more commonly, plus (like the original) you have unlimited lives. You die a lot, but rarely lose much progress when you do. And if you DO get to a point of no return (which is rare), the game will make sure that you won't get a check point then.
- No Biochemical Barriers: Poisonous slugs can kill Lester instantly.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: In the finale, Lester loses his gun and is pummeled senseless by a red-eyed alien. Buddy comes to the rescue, and the two grapple while Lester painfully crawls across the screen and activate the laser, fragging the doppelganger.
- One-Hit-Point Wonder
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Lester can't talk to any of the aliens and as such doesn't even know his alien buddy's name. As such, he's commonly referred to simply as Buddy.
- Our Dragons Are Different: In the ending cinematic.
- Oxygen Meter: Not explicitly shown as the game has no HUD, but as Lester spends time in the water, he releases more and more air bubbles. When the bubbles start getting out more frequently, you'd better be close to the surface.
- Password Save: Present in all versions except the 20th anniversary versions.
- Press Start To Game Over: The first of the many things that are trying to kill Lester is a pool full of tentacles at the bottom. If he doesn't swim up in time they'll grab him. If he swims up in time and doesn't leave the vicinity of the pool quickly enough they still grab him.
- Ray Gun
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: The Beast.
- Also the sign that the Buddy that rescues Lester from a fatal fall near the end of the game isn't really Buddy at all.
- Red-Headed Hero
- Scenery Porn
- Sequel Hook: The 3DO version has an extended ending where Buddy transports Lester and has a flash back about his tribe being invaded by a foreign tribe (apparently the same ones they were escaping from). Strangely, the sequel was made exclusive to the Sega CD instead of the 3DO.
- Shoot the Shaggy Dog: The game's ambiguous ending can be interpreted this way, although storyboards for a non-produced ending depict the character surviving and becoming a leader in the alien world.
- Silence Is Golden: This game shows a lot, and almost never tells.
- Spiritual Successor: Flashback, which shares the graphics that Another World has, though it has nothing to do with Eric Chahi.
- Steam Vent Obstacle: The game had deadly steam vents in the area where you're rolling your way through pipes.
- Stripped to the Bone: The alien laser guns instantly reduce anyone they hit to a charred skeleton.
- The cremation coffin as Lester's corpse demonstrates.
- Take My Hand: Subverted. In the game's final sequence, Buddy rescues Lester from a plunge off of a ledge. Then smashes Lester against the wall, crippling him! Turns out, that's not Buddy! Damn aliens, You All Look Familiar!
- Trapped in Another World: The title. Depending on where you lived in the 90s, it could also be Trapped In Out Of This World, or Trapped in an Outer World.
- Trial-and-Error Gameplay: Many of the game's deathtraps are virtually impossible to anticipate without prior knowledge, and in many cases you'll keep dying until you figure out EXACTLY what the game wants you to do and where and when it wants you to do it, common sense be damned.
- Updated Re-release: First as a port to DOS/Mac from Amiga which added a new level, then the 3DO version has a different art style (besides the character models), and of course the 15th Anniversary edition which is based on the PC version and has more detailed backgrounds and runs in high-res.
- Followed by the 20th Anniversary version, which contains both the original and remastered visuals, two new difficulty levels, and depending on your version, comes with an achievement system and has a touch control option.
- Unwinnable by Design: Forget to shoot out the pit wall before flooding the caves? You're fucked. Fail to shoot the lamp chain blocking Buddy in the crawlspace? You're also fucked. If Buddy dies, you're also screwed, among other possible situations. Fortunately, you only obtain a new password if you completed all the requirements of a stage correctly. For example, if you miss blowing a hole at a certain place that is supposed to be filled up with river water so you will swim, and die later on, the password will not change until you complete ALL the requirements. All the 15th and 20th anniversary editions of the game also doubles the check points and has a level select feature, so it has gotten easier to know if you messed up somewhere.
- Video Game Setpiece: Many of them, including:
- The specific places in the game where your ally does something to rescue you;
- Special actions that you can perform at one specific place only, such as swinging the cage to make it fall, the Groin Attack you use on an enemy at one point, and pulling the lever at the end of the game;
- Special environmental features that show up only once each, such as the floor that grenades can destroy, the bat that the tentacle monster will eat, the vine that you can swing from, the glass globe that you must drop on an enemy, and the aforementioned lamp chain.
- Walk Through The Camera: When Lester gets off the elevator in the beginning of the game.
- "What Now?" Ending: Lester and Buddy escape, but Lester is badly hurt and it's not clear what awaits them beyond the city or if Lester will ever get home. Worse, some interpreted the ending to mean that Lester had actually died mere yards from freedom, although Word of God and the eventual sequel countermand this.
- A Winner Is You: The game ends with Lester and Buddy flying off on a dragon. After the credits a message appears: "Go Back To Another Earth".
- You All Look Familiar: The aliens are identical except for occasional helmets or topknots. Buddy can be differentiated from the others only because he's unarmed.
- You All Meet in a Cell