Another World, or, as it's known in North America, Out of This World, is a stunning example of storytelling in a video game originally released in 1991 (and re-released with better visuals in 2006) by Eric Chahi. Built as a cinematic platform adventure, you take on the role of Lester Knight Chaykin, a young physicist who is teleported to a barren alien planet while running an experiment using a particle accelerator. You soon make friends with one of the humanoid aliens and together work your way through the subterranean environments trying to escape with your lives!
Lester's acrobatics in Another World are more similar to real-world physics than your average action game. Instead of being able to leap twice his own height, Lester's jumping skills are limited to a gazelle-like leap forward. You also have the ability to run, though you'll spend a surprising amount of time walking, and in addition to a few simple kicks, you soon get your hands on a gun that can fire a beam and create temporary shields.
The game is divided into over a dozen invisible chapters that are only apparent when you die. And yes, you will die a lot in this game, but it's never frustrating and you rarely have to replay more than a few seconds of your previous actions. Trial and error puzzle solving will get you very far, and most of the time you won't realize exactly what you have to do to proceed until you fail a few times. No worries, though, as it never gets frustrating.
Combat isn't the central focus of Another World, but you'll find yourself in a fair number of gunfights all the same. Most of these will be tests of your ability to alternate between firing regular shots, replenishing your shield, and trying to take down your opponent's barrier. One hit and you're a goner, so work fast and practice your timing at every opportunity.
Analysis: Another World is one of those games that will quietly stun you. The music and sound effects are sparse, transporting you to this alien world with little more than a few colors and a few polygons. The characters feel very alive, and you immediately become attached to them and their plight. The innovative use of cutscenes and non-standard portions of gameplay keep you enthralled by the experience from beginning to end.
It would be impossible to discuss Another World without mentioning the impact it had on cinematic gameplay in the early 90s. Although the game enjoyed a released on well over a dozen platforms, it was originally available for the Amiga. Back then, animations this rich were practically unheard of, and cinematics were rarely anything this special. One look at the game's opening cutscene and you'll see what I mean.
In 2006, Chahi re-released Another World for Windows with higher resolution graphics than the original Amiga game. The backgrounds received a remarkable upgrade, though most of the active elements of the game remain unchanged. It's quite a step up from the 16-color 320x200 game, but if you're a purist, this 15th Anniversary Edition offers both modes. The storytelling is very powerful no matter your graphical proclivities, and the subtle emotions conveyed on the characters' faces is phenomenal in any decade.
An early standard in interactive storytelling and artistic creativity, Another World still manages to challenge and intrigue gamers years after its release (and re-release).