I think it's high time I started posting about something for my beloved Tapwave Zodiac 2 and frankly, I think there has never been a better reason than the release of Another World (a.k.a Out of this World) for the Zodiac
And what a port it is! This is probably the first port of a PC game that truly feels like if it was made for the Zodiac. In fact, this game looks even better than the original PC version, and not only because the screen is a bit smaller, but because it indeed features a higher resolution than the original (of which you can see the intro movie on the left).
But, first things first: Another World is what most people would describe as an Action Adventure game, where you run and jump through large levels, always looking for the next item, while shooting at everything that comes in your way.
The game starts with a long and extremely well done intro sequence that explains how you end up in this bizzare world and this is something that continues throughout the game. Wherever you turn, you are greeted by yet another movie and to tell the truth, that's what keeps you going. And indeed you'll need all the motivation you can get to pass all the levels in this game (I have to admit that I never got very far, so if you really want an in-depth review about the WHOLE game, you'll have to look somewhere else).
But enough about the game itself, most of you have probably played it anyway while in highschool (I still have my original SNES cartridge). I said at the beginning that I think this port is special in that it actually feels like a native Zodiac game:
It starts with the fact that Another World doesn't display some oddly coloured launcher screen or annoying debug messages. Instead you get a nicely done welcome screen that, which after maybe half a second of loading gives way to the intro sequence. An intro sequence with loud digital thunder, wonderful music and native 480x320 resolution.
That's right: 480x320, not 320x200 like the PC version. That's because Another World is one of those few 2D games that use vector graphics instead of the usual raster graphics. And unlike raster graphics, vector graphics stay sharp no matter what resolution you choose. Oh, and not only do they look great, but they are also really fast. There's never any noticeable slowdown and if I had to guess I'd put the framerate somewhere around 30 fps.
Next are the controls, which are special in that they are really simple. You duck, jump and walk with the analogue stick and you do pretty much everything with the yellow button: run, jump, shoot, activate, build up a shield and so on. I know it sounds crazy to have so many controls on a single button but it really works perfectly. The only button that behaves slightly unusual is the Function button: This button takes you to a menu, where you can enter a four letter code, which will take you to the level specified by the code. The reason for this is that sadly, Another World doesn't have a savegame function. Instead you are given a code at the beginning of each level. I really hope that later versions will automatically remember any given codes, because this is pretty much the only evidence that you're not dealing with a native Zodiac game.
Speaking of differences to a native game: The installation is of course slightly different as well. You have to get the files from the PC version and put them (together with a few files from the Zodiac version) on the SD card. Don't worry, it's about 1MB and you don't need any additional libraries like Timidity. Sadly, the legal situation is a bit... well... difficult... to say the least. The PC version is what most people refer to as "AbandonWare". That means it's not available for purchase anymore, but the copyright holder is still alive and well. On the internet it's now common practice to publish these "abandoned" games (just search for abandonia on google), even without the consent of the original author, but it is almost certainly not legal when you're not a registered library like archive.org
. On the other hand, there is no victim with true abandonware, so I'll leave this up to you (while I'm holding on to my SNES cartridge).