Another World

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Another World, also known as Out of This World in the US, is a cinematic platformer by Eric Chahi that was released in 1991. To this day it remains notable as one of the most artistic games made, as well as one of the most challenging.

Although the game was released on several systems back in the day (Amiga, SNES, DOS PCs), there is a new version available that's compatible with Windows XP, that includes updated artwork. However, while the artwork is updated, the characters and animations remain the same as they ever were. And for purists, all the new features can be disabled to play the game in its original form. This is the version I recommend, as it looks quite nice and runs very well.

Box Art
The beautifully drawn box art of Another World.

Another World tells the story of Lester, a scientist who is zapped to an alien planet. Here he must find a way back home while surviving the dangerous animal life, as well as the hostile humanoid aliens who are hunting him down. Most of the story is told without any dialog, and is all implied through character actions and facial expressions. It's simple methods of storytelling like this that often make the most profound stories.

Gameplay focuses on running, jumping, and later shooting in order to survive each level. The gun that is used can also be charged up to create force fields and shoot super shots, adding some strategy to the hostile encounters. The levels are very dangerous though, and it's easy to die quickly. However, in the spirit of keeping the player involved, going back to the last checkpoint takes no time at all, and there are an unlimited number of lives. Make no mistake, though. Another World is a HARD game. Expect to die a LOT. (But then, we're lacking in properly difficult games nowadays anyway.)

Graphically, the Another World incorporates hand-drawn backgrounds, and vectorized foregrounds. Since they're vectorized, the animations are quite detailed. Take a look at the screenshot to see an example of the two.

Also notable are the sound effects, which are sparse yet add a lot of the atmosphere and feel of an older DOS game.

Screenshot 1
Starting area of the game.

Overall, Another World is an amazing visit to the games of the old days, and is quite a memorable experience.

There are 2 versions of Another World that are available. The original version is free to download, as it is now abandonware. The new and updated version can be found on Eric Chahi's website and purchased for approximately $8. (There is a free demo.)

The original runs nicely on Linux via Wine. The updated version does not, but it's slowly reaching that point.
Eric Chahi's website. The updated version can be purchased here.
The old, free version.

Highly Recommended