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Out Of This World!
by: Dr. Boogie

When I was a wee one, video games were, for the most part, pretty straightforward. You ran, you jumped, you fought villainy with swords or guns, depending on the developer's preference, and getting to the end of every level was just a matter of putting one foot in front of the other and killing the bad guys before they killed you. Or knocking them out; we didn't really have a ratings system back then, so you had to tone the violence down every once and a while to keep the parental fuzz off your back. Anyway, I distinctly remember one particular game, a fairly out-of-this-world game where you traveled to another world to match wits with brutish aliens and brave deadly obstacles to escape with your life, even though you would die many, many times in the process. The exact title escapes, but I do remember that above all else, it was Out of This World.

He is OUT there, man!

It's an apt title, and not just because you control a scientist who drives a Ferrari. The basic premise is that your character, Lester, was working at some kind of secret experiment involving a particle accelerator and a desk inexplicably stationed in front of said particle accelerator. Long story short: lightning strikes the particle accelerator, the... accelerated particles I guess, fly out and blast Lester and his desk, and Lester winds up stuck in another world. Where? I don't know. It's never given a name. If I had to name it, though, I would call it the Horrible Death Star, because that's exactly what's waiting around every corner.

The gazelle-cam.

See why I hate caves?

A slobbering maw that causes epilepsy?

And that's just to name a few. Thankfully, the odds start to tip slightly in your favor once you lay your hands on an alien laser gun:

Is that the Nintendo Zapper?

It's a very fancy laser, let me tell you. Normally, I'd be happy enough just to lay my hands on a weapon that, in a single shot, can skeletonize any living creature:


Pretty schnazzy, huh? Well obviously, you can't just hand these things out and not include some kind of defense mechanism. That's why the laser can also produce a force shield that can repel laser blasts for a short while. Of course, it can also produce a super shot that can destroy said shield, so at least you can enjoy a few extra seconds of life before being flash-fried.

Anyway, a scrawny weakling like Lester isn't going to be able to do a lot of pull-ups and quick maneuvers like the Prince of a certain Arab nation, but lucky for him (and honestly, luck plays a HUGE role in all this) Lester busts out of prison along with a stocky alien buddy.

Nice vest, McFly.

Obviously, the two of you don't share a common language, but thanks to the miracle of improv sign language, the two of you can come to some kind of understanding by way of the periodic waving of your friend's stubby arms. "I'm unlocking a door," "I'll pull you up this ledge," "let me toss you across this gap," all of this can be communicated through a single wave and maybe a grunt or two. It's the kind of friendship that transcends words.

It's all very entertaining, putting aside the fact that each new scene often requires nothing short of clairvoyance to escape unharmed. There is a fair amount of laser-play, but more often than not, you'll wind up fleeing in the face of overwhelming firepower, and wind up using that "fire" button for a context-sensitive action, like flipping a lever, stomping a leech, kicking an alien in the crotch, that sort of thing. It's all very nifty and innovative. Hell, the game even introduced one of the first drivable vehicles:

Let's see what this lump of coal can do!

And don't even get me started about the aliens and their "hot coffee":

That's hot.

Some things never change, and what sells on this world is bound to sell on another world. Anyway, do yourself a favor and check this game out. It's great on it's own, but recently, the game's creator, Eric Chahi, has made an updated version of the game that runs on Windows XP with improved graphics, and you can get this new version off his site for just nine bucks! And really, wouldn't you rather spend nine bucks on a classic game than spend sixty on some crappy new Xbox 360 game? Of course you would. You're a crafty consumer who appreciates the finer things in life, and nine bucks is a small price to pay for a trip out of this world.


Questions or Comments about this piece?
email Dr. Boogie

*** You too can play Out Of This World! ***


Note: to play this game you'll need a Sega Genesis emulator.

Want to see some more video game related content?
Then check out Dr. Boogie's feature on:

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