Can VectorCell capture the essence of a classic or will their attempt be a mere flash in the pan?
Playing Delphine Software’s cinematic platformer Flashback as a young gamer was an enthralling experience. Released in 1992, its impressive rotoscoped animation and cryptic sci-fi narrative captured the imagination of a generation. When I heard it was to be reincarnated – headed up by its original game designer, Paul Cuisset – I was thrilled at the prospect of re-experiencing the 16-bit classic. Unfortunately the shallow re-imagining VectorCell have delivered falls far short of expectations and reminds us that sometimes memories are best left in the past.
The plot – largely inspired by action blockbusters Total Recall and The Running Man – retraces the steps of the original, following secret agent Conrad B. Hart, who awakens in the jungles of Titan with no recollection of who he is. As he attempts to piece the mystery of his identity together, he finds himself embroiled in an alien conspiracy that threatens the very existence of mankind.
Unfortunately a premise that was once intriguing is now largely played out, and is further hampered by its convoluted delivery and awkward dialogue. Ponderous and ineffectual, these issues are made infinitely worse by sub par voice acting, contributing towards a protagonist who is as unlikeable as he is moronic. This flaccid, insincere character strips away any urgency the plot might otherwise have had, his embarrassing one-liners and juvenile attitude becoming increasingly tiresome.
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Rob Gisbey is a games journalist and music production graduate from Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. To listen to his acoustic demo, read his articles and listen to the VxM Videogames Podcast head to his blog.