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Out of this World (PC) artwork

Out of this World (PC) review

"The year is 1991. A young boy that will one day grow up into a roguish, jaw-droppingly handsome man - let's use the initials D.E - is home alone. At his side a single 5.14 inch black floppy disk which contained something new. Something different... "

The year is 1991. A young boy that will one day grow up into a roguish, jaw-droppingly handsome man - let's use the initials D.E - is home alone. At his side a single 5.14 inch black floppy disk which contained something new. Something different...

He didn't expect much, even at such an age. After all, earlier that day he played Commander Keen in Invasion of the Vorticons, so his standards weren’t awfully high. Placing the disk into his trusty 286’s floppy drive, he waited patiently for the screen to dim, only to then explode in an array of colours. From that first moment when he witnessed a black Ferrari come to a screeching halt in front of a laboratory, rain pounding down its windows and thunder rolling in the distance, he knew that this would make one of the earliest impressions of his young gaming career.

The doorway to the unknown cracked opened and all the boy could do was enter, let his imagination take over and assume the role of Lester Knight Chaykin, a ginger scientist, about to achieve a breakthrough in physics by employing a state-of-the-art particle reactor. Naturally, it wouldn’t be much of a tale if the experiment succeeded.

Lester would have finished his beer and departed home to await his Nobel Association call.

Instead, what awaited was disaster: the project went wrong due to an accidental thunder discharge that hit the laboratory moments before the experiment finished, resulting in Lester’s sudden teleportation into a murky pool far away from home. Far away from Earth.

This was also the first time that Lester died horribly. Tentacles hungrily snaked from the bottom of the lake, wrapped around his leg, and dragged him into the very pit of the planet.

Blaming the first death on inexperience, Lester would once more journey into the unknown. However, this time he would be wise; the moment control was given, he would begin a desperate swim to the surface, just barely escaping the tentacles that slew him the first time. Victorious, he would pull himself from the pool of death and utter a cry of pure joy at his harrowing survival.

Mere seconds later, Lester was mauled by a bison/boar/bull hybrid.

Now the boy controlling Lester started to see the pattern and knew that the scientist would repeatedly be slain by the surreal denizens of this new world. His fears were to be confirmed. Upon fleeing carelessly from the aforementioned bison/boar/bull hybrid, Lester was stung and instantly killed by a worm. With a barbed tail!

But the thing was, it didn’t matter to the boy, nor did it matter to Lester, for he gave his life valiantly many more times to the flora and fauna before proceeding to the next set of challenges. What mattered was that the atmosphere was there. That the interest to see what lies next was there. Lacking a better word, the “soul” was there.

So he proceeded.

Eventually, Lester would make his way out of the jungle, only to be captured by the master race of the planet who just happen to be tremendous gits that wanted nothing less than to rule with an iron fist over everything, sentient or not. Through a series of challenges, Lester would manage to escape his captivity with the aid of an alien chum (we will call him Bob. Everyone I know already does) who just happens to be of the same race as his captors, only not a douche. During his journey through the planet’s surface, Bob appears often enough, mostly in critical times, to offer aid, be it opening that door his considerable strength alone could pry apart, or perhaps creating a diversion for the plentiful enemies while Lester works on a way to escape the hostile planet and return to the cosy confines of his laboratory.

Lester unfortunately remains as weak as a kitten: a strong breeze of wind is more than capable of killing him instantly, making you repeat the majority of the stage he falls on. He obtains a laser pistol early on that kills most creatures in one blow and that can produce force fields to protect you from a hostile blast or two, but, unfortunately, the physics of the game were apparently not detailed enough, for you will most likely step an inch too close to the force field, causing the enemy fire to hit you in the thumb, killing you. Alternatively, if you stand too far away from the protective field, your laser blasts will dissipate upon hitting your own creation, making for quite a few annoying skirmishes.

Still, the seven-year-old boy couldn’t stop playing. He learned many curse words on that day and found that keyboards make quite a satisfying sound when smashed into the wall, but he couldn’t stop. Through countless deaths of Lester and Bob, he learned to appreciate the title as one that led into a new age of gameplay and, more importantly, immersion, and he knew nothing as good as this would ever come out. Ever.

One year later, a similar game called Flashback was released from the same producers, shook the world, and the little boy, a little older and wiser, found out just how dreadfully wrong he was. New curse words were learnt and more hours were spent without sleep.

But we'll save that story for another time.

darketernal's avatar
Community review by darketernal (November 15, 2008)

Occasional reviewer of random stuff.

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zippdementia posted November 15, 2008:

I wanted to play this game ever since seeing it in a Nintendo Power when I was, like, seven. Your review does not ease the craving.

Ah, and Flashback! One of the few games I actually had a ROM for... I died... a lot.
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darketernal posted November 16, 2008:

Good games, good - different times.
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zippdementia posted December 05, 2010:

You know, I just was informed that there is an error in this review. Flashback was NOT a sequel to Out of this World. the actual sequel was Heart of the Alien.
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fleinn posted December 05, 2010: know.. if you made some of the sentences a little bit more precise and direct (more of the "I will call him Bob". And less of the "attacked by ..bull/bison/monster... thing"... then this would be a very good story.

I'm not too fond of the wandering context, though. From being you at the computer desk, to the professor with the coke-can. There could be ways to make that flow better if you want to make the immersion a point. Maybe make it more subtle at the beginning, but focus it specifically on you at the desk - and then end it with abruptly sitting at the desk again with the floppy disk. That would complement it, imo, and make the transition easier to understand and keep present when you are about to stop reading.

Not because filling in explanations doesn't fit, but because that would be a way to avoid changing context too many times. I.e., there's your childhood, then there's you as a kid thinking about games, then it's you before the computer, then it's into the game, etc. It's not bad, don't get me wrong, but it's tiring to a reader who doesn't know the context. And that might be a way to make this into an eminently readable short-story.

..anyway, I really liked the story-approach.
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JoeTheDestroyer posted December 05, 2010:

I really enjoy games like those. Never played Heart of Darkness, which is from the same creator, but I've heard mixed things about it. I also read that Ueda, creator of ICO and Shadow of the Colossus, drew a lot of inspiration from Out of this World.
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darketernal posted December 05, 2010:

Hmmm, can't believe I said Flashback is the sequel, since I know it's not and I know it's Heart of the Alien(which is atrocious). Should edit that, it's probably EmP's editing fault anyway.

As for the immersion, I tried to bring the nostalgic feel to it, since it's probably the first full color game I played on the PC(my old 286, as I first had a monitor without colour, and played Prince of Persia on it). My cousin and myself spent some odd 17 hours in one sitting on this game, and managed to finish it.

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fleinn posted December 05, 2010:

..can I think of it as a .. presequel. Or an inter-spinoff, or something like that?

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zippdementia posted December 05, 2010:

Heart of Darkness isn't a very smooth-playing game but the ambiance of the game is incredible.
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darketernal posted December 05, 2010:

Flashback is more of a game in the same engine, by the same company. Story wise it has nothing to do with Out of this World, and I don't know if they share the same universe or not.

As for Heart of the Darkness, if I remember correctly, it was quite liked by people because it had some pretty scary scenes, especially considering the main guy was a kid, the graphics and the ambience was nice, though, frankly, I can't remember the story too good.
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fleinn posted December 06, 2010: That is a good point about Flashback. The aliens taking over earth, the universe in general, getting your memory back - it doesn't seem to actually have anything to do with what happens in the first game.

I'm not sure why, but it just obviously was the sequel anyway :D

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