Out of This World (3DO) review
"Imagine being in another world, totally different than this Earth - blue and purple-shadowed, otherworldly and brimming with sudden violence. Anthropoid beasts brood in black uniforms, walking the sunless earth, their faces telling of the grey atmosphere with matted, chalky complexions. Black as death are the animals they keep, resembling bulls, charging about when not kept in check. Lasers crisscross your panorama from the weapons of their two-legged masters, while their proud stone edifices and buildings push up from the ground like crooked fingers. "
Out of this world - this game certainly is that, if nothing more. I loved it when I first experienced the grim results of Lester Knight Chaykin's experiment gone awry on the Super NES. It was different. Imagine being in another world, totally different than this Earth - blue and purple-shadowed, otherworldly and brimming with sudden violence. Anthropoid beasts brood in black uniforms, walking the sunless earth, their faces telling of the grey atmosphere with matted, chalky complexions. Black as death are the animals they keep, resembling bulls, charging about when not kept in check. Lasers crisscross your panorama from the weapons of their two-legged masters, while their proud stone edifices and buildings push up from the ground like crooked fingers.
Did the developers strive to create gaming's Animal Farm? Is this the microcosm they arrived at? Are those pterasaurs? While you ponder these things (what place does this kind of thought have in a video game, especially at the time of this game's conception?), watch one fly out of your path and be pulled up and crushed by outstretched tentacles growing out of the ceiling. The rocky floor is no picnic either -tread with trepidation; don’t you see the slicing, piercing teeth in those pits seemingly born with your foot size in mind? A false move in this malevolent environment means instant death and back to a continue point. Passwords will be issued upon your death; you’ll get a chance to write them down very, very often.
Interplay’s adventure is not your usual side-scroller; you’ve got to think your way through the obstacles. Find yourself beset by one of those raging bull-things early on? Pay attention; you’ve got no weapon fool--this isn’t Castlevania. Run. What did you think? You could whip it to death? Or slay it with some mighty sword produced from the air? Don’t be silly. This is like real life, whether set in this world of ours or not. Find yourself trapped in a cage, a prisoner of the giant anthropoids? Rock that cage. Find that dropped laser pistol. Use its charges sparingly, set up shields with it to buy yourself time, recharge it whenever you can, trust your new friend (I won't give anymore about this away), and always, always keep running and thinking. Thinking and running.
Your patience must be thick and solid as oak. Trial and error is paramount and there is no escaping numerous deaths. Even when you’re experienced, you’ll never feel quite sure-footed as you run and leap and shoot your way through this dismal alien place, and that's no fault of the excellent controls. The Star Wars quality, majestic music in the Super NES version helped lift your mood by serenading your spirit with buoying bits that kicked in at appropriate times, signaling your smallest successes and progress. Regrettably, that splendid soundtrack has been changed (foolish move!), and we are left with competent tunes, but the notes don’t hit the emotional highs of the score they replace. On the upside, this 3DO version is much faster and smoother than the Super NES and Genesis versions, and as you might expect, it looks breathtaking in comparison. Blurry bluish triangles become unmistakable towering mountain ranges and so on.
If you've got a 3DO, you simply must try your hand at this obscure port of what has become an obscure game. It was revolutionary in its inception, with its rotoscoped, polygon-based graphics (movements were fluid, but drawings were simplistic and comic book-like) and lack of bosses and other such platform game staples. If you've never tried any incarnation of Out of This World before, be prepared for a tricky trek of hard-earned progress in the vein of Prince of Persia. If you've tried either of the 16-bit releases, expect a better look at the world that captured you in the first place, at the cost of the majestic sounds that entranced you in the meantime. This aural strike against it does not prevent Panasonic's Out of This World from being the engaging experience and aesthetic anomaly that it was meant to be.
Staff review by Marc Golding (December 13, 2003)
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