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Flashback: The Quest for Identity

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Flashback: The Quest for Identity, released just as Flashback in some countries, is a cinematic platformer developed by Delphine Software of France, a now defunct company, and published by U.S. Gold in the United States and Europe, and Sunsoft in Japan. The game is listed in the Guinness World Records as the best selling French game of all time.

Story

You play an agent named Conrad B. Hart in the year 2142, who has just discovered that a group of aliens disguising themselves as humans are planning to destroy Earth. Fearing that you will be found out, you download a copy of your memory onto a holocube that you will need to retrieve later on. Upon being captured, the aliens blank out your memory and dump you on a planet from which they hope you won't escape from.

Gameplay

It is similar to that of Prince of Persia. You must guide your hero through several different environments using precision movements and jumps to and across platforms. You are also equipped with a laser pistol with which you can use to shoot alien agents and other obstacles.

Objects/devices

  • Camera—has several uses, such as opening or closing doors, summoning an elevator, or triggering a laser cannon
  • Card lock—requires a card to unlock a door
  • Credits—money in a card device form
  • Disintegrator—kills anyone who comes into contact with it
  • Electrified Floor—kills Hart if he doesn't run or jump over this area
  • Energy Generator—recharges a shield or magnetic cartridge
  • Exploding Mouse—can be picked up when not moving, but if it is moving and comes into contact with a living being, it will explode and cause damage
  • Falling Mines—will fall once someone passes underneath it, then explode when it makes contact with any surface
  • Force Field—a barrier that gives protection from shots
  • Holocube—contains a message from Hart that he recorded for himself (found in Level 1)
  • I. D. Card—a form of identification, although can also be used as a key
  • Key Lock—requires a key to open a door with
  • Land Mines—will explode when someone or something passes over it
  • Laser Cannon—fires lasers. Activated by camera or pressure pad
  • Magnetic Cartridge—once charged and put in a specific place, it has a use, like for creating a bridge
  • Mechanical Mouse—moves along a surface, and can set off pressure pads and cameras
  • Pressure Pad—activates an item (weapon, door, etc.) when a weight is placed on it
  • Save Station—saves the game
  • Shield—used to block projectiles with. Hart starts a game or level with four of these and will get them back when his shield is recharged
  • Stone—a rock that can be used for pressure pads or a distraction to mutants
  • Switch—opens a door or summons an elevator
  • Teleport—teleports Hart to an area (Note: this is not the same as the portable Teleport Remote Control that is found in Levels 2 and 5 in the game)
  • Teleport Receiver—once this has been thrown and lands somewhere, the Teleport Remote Control will take Hart to wherever the Receiver landed
  • Teleport Remote Control—used to teleport
  • Transportation—a sub car (Level 2) or Air Cab (Level 4) that takes Hart places

Levels (Sega Genesis and CD versions)

Level 1: Planet Titan

The first area of Flashback begins in the artificial jungles of Titan. Upon searching around, the player will run across the Holocube containing a recorded message from himself warning of upcoming dangers. They will also find a man who had been attacked by mutants and can't walk, which he asks for Hart's help, saying he needs his Teleporter in order to obtain medical assistance.

Upon getting around/defeating the surrounding dangers of mines, traps, mutants, etc., the player should find the Teleporter, and upon giving it to the wounded man, he will leave behind his I. D. card after teleporting away.

Upon accessing further areas of Titan, the player should also find an old man who says the way to New Washington is down a hole, but it would take an Anti-G belt to safely go there, which he will sell one (should Hart try to drop down the hole without it, he will die). After scouring through Titan, Hart will find a bunch of credit devices lying around with more than enough money for that so he can safely drop down the hole to New Washington/level 2.

Level 2: New Washington

It won't take long before Hart will run into a person claiming to be his friend Ian...after blowing away a couple of cops. Ian says to take a seat, which a machine restores Hart's memory from there, which, with a cutscene, it tells the story of a pair of special glasses that, when worn, detects aliens who have disguised themselves as humans and have mixed in with them. Once his knowledge of this became known, Hart had to download his memory into the Holocube right before he got kidnapped, which brings the game to the present time in New Washington.

Hart asks Ian how to get back to Earth, which Ian says the ticket there is very expensive and Hart will have to participate in the Death Tower TV show in order to win a ticket back home. He also gives Hart a Force Field to use for later (plus he'll rendezvous with Hart on Earth), then it's off to several areas (via subway car) where Hart will get the runaround from the local bureaucratic nonsense in order to try to obtain work (along with trying to acquire a fake I. D. from a forger as well, but Hart doesn't have enough money for that).

Once Hart gets a work permit, near the Death Tower Show entrance is a row of machines offering jobs, which include delivering a package somewhere (which is more dangerous than it sounds), escorting a V. I. P. of some stature (who will stand around and not proceed through the area until Hart has wiped out mutants, traps and all) through a dangerous restricted area to a research center, kill a replicant that has a virus that is affecting it, run through an area and fix a generator with a tampered board before it explodes, and wipe clear a restricted area overtaken by mutants before they affect the population.

Once all of the above is completed, Hart then—with more than enough money—return to the forger for his fake I. D...which a man at the door to Death Tower will admit Hart into the show with his I. D.

Level 3: Death Tower

Hart starts the Death Tower game on the eighth level, where he faces replicants, a variety of traps and other enemies.

The play areas range from being wide open to more enclosed with traps and the like, and the same goes for the replicants, which can either take a lot of hits and/or can be difficult to deal with to being extremely stupid and easy to pick off.

Once Hart has destroyed the last replicant on the first level, he is awarded the ticket to Earth, proceeding to that level then.

Level 4: Earth

Ian is nowhere to be found, but gun-toting police, watchdog robots and other enemies are plentiful. It isn't long before Hart descends into a local club called Paradise, which is booby-trapped, and has many secret passageways that run several levels deep, along with enemy replicants and other dangers.

If Hart is able to make it to the end of this level, he will wind up in a ventilation shaft and overhear a conversation stating that millions of warrior aliens will descend on Earth via teleport to wipe out the humans...which is when he gets discovered by them, and it is instructed by one of the aliens to have him thrown into a dungeon to be interrogated later.

Level 5: Secret Base of Paradise

Immediately after this level starts, two replicants open the door to the cell Hart is being held and come storming in. Hart will need to locate his gun and dispose of them quickly in order to continue proceeding through the level.

This level has the usual elements from all the previous ones in regards to climbing and all; however, another Teleporter (like the one the wounded man had in level 2), along with its Receiver is found here, and in many areas until the end of the game, the only way to get through those areas is to throw the Receiver, then use the Teleport Remote Control to beam Hart to the point where the Receiver landed.

Also, Hart will run into morphing aliens for the first time in the game, then find a teleportation device that will transport him to their planet at the end of the level.

Levels 6-7: Planet of Morphs

In Level 6, there are gangs of the morph aliens, which strategy is key in using the Teleporter to get back to shield recharge units after Hart has taken a lot of damage. However, at one point he will also run across a man who will hand Hart an atomic charge right before he dies, which his diary will also be recovered nearby. In it, the man reveals of a terrible experiment and how the aliens want to destroy the human race. In order to stop them, he has discovered the aliens are controlled by a master brain, which is inside the planet's core, but communication lines have been cut, so it's impossible to reach. He also found out how to reach the brain and drop the atomic charge into the core, but he will have to use a spaceship from a hangar in order to escape before the planet is destroyed.

Level 7 involves more trial and error with using the Teleporter Receiver, since there are areas where it needs to be left or thrown, as there are elevators that are sent away and are inaccessible in order to continue.

Hart obviously gets closer to the brain once a chamber (which appears to have a huge heart dangling from the ceiling) is reached that keeps on producing morph aliens unless it's disabled, then after the atomic charge is placed and lowered to the planet's core, Hart will have a short amount of time to retrace his steps back to the hangar in order to secure the spaceship and fly off the planet before it explodes.

And as it's revealed in the final cutscene of the game in the Sega CD version, the planet that Hart destroyed wasn't on the ship's computer's navigation charts, so it would be impossible to figure out a return trajectory to Earth. Hart's final words are that he would probably "drift in space for a very long time" as he enters cryogenic sleep, leaving the game open for the PlayStation sequel of Fade To Black later.

Differences between versions

  • The Sega CD version is exactly like the Genesis version, just with improved music and cutscenes and has different passwords.

Notes

  • The Sega Genesis and Sega CD versions of the game included a brief comic book (created by DC Comics) telling the story of Hart finding out about the disguised aliens and all.

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