Mean Machines Sega


Publisher: U. S. Gold
Machine: Sega Mega Drive (EU Version)

Published in Mean Machines Sega #7


What do you do when your end of year science project reveals that an evil race of aliens are infiltrating Earth's society? That's exactly the situation that the hero of this game, Conrad Hart, finds himself in. His project, which measures molecular density (or something) reveals that hundreds of people aren't human at all - they're aliens, bent on taking over the world!

Conrad decides that a bit more investigation is in order. However, before he can present his findings to the authorities, the aliens are made aware of his investigations and (not surprisingly) decide to kill him mercilessly.

After the aliens' first attempt on his life, Conrad decides to play it safe, recording his entire memory and sending it on to his friend Ian, on the moon of Titan. Shortly after, the aliens abduct him and completely wipe his memory (for some reason). But then the order arrives from the supreme alien - an order that demands Conrad's immediate execution!


Luckily, he manages to escape and purloin a gun, but as he flies off into the distance on a captured air-cycle, the aliens give chase and shoot him down. Conrad survives the crash, but he's alone, bewildered and wondering what the hell is going on. It's your job to help Conrad retrieve his memory from Ian and then foil the aliens' evil plan that could threaten the safety of the entire galaxy!


Flashback is an original platform game. Another top effort from Delphine.

How To Play

Guide Conrad through the platform levels, killing aliens and solving fiendish puzzles.

  1. Stage One: The Jungle
    Conrad regains consciousness in the jungles of Titan - a hazardous terrain, full of blaster-wielding mad aliens! Adding to the carnage are a number of search droids, despatched by the aliens to destroy Conrad! Only by making full use of the sparse technology is Conrad able to survive. One massive jump down a chasm finds Conrad in the Titan underground city!

    Jungle Fact: The jungle is the place to learn exactly what the limits are to Conrad's superb physical skills. Use the many platforms to learn how to jump properly and use those aliens and probes for target practice!
  2. Stage Two: The Underground City His memory wiped, Conrad is almost completely lost until he stumbles on the underground lab of his friend, Ian, who manages to restore his memory. Aware of the urgent situation on Earth, Conrad decides to head home. However, first of all he needs falsified papers.

    Unfortunately, this requies a lot of cash - 1,500 credits to be precise! The only way for Conrad to get the cash is to take jobs, first as a courier, then as a mercenary, facing incredible risks in order to get his hands on the papers!

    City Fact: The Titan City is a massive stage, brimming over with lethal assailants and corrupt cops after blood. To link the many stages, there's even a tube train and four stations!
  3. Stage Three: Death Tower Papers in possession, Conrad learns that the only way to actually get a ticket to Earth is to participate in Death Tower - a Running Man-style TV show, where the contestants are killed hideously if they fall foul of attack probes, Death Tower employees or even land mines! It's Conrad's job to work his way up to the top of the eight storey tower - where his prize (a flight to Earth) awaits.

    Death Tower Fact: Death Tower is a circular building, meaning that if Conrad travels in one direction, he eventually ends up back where he began! Travelling the entire level, dodging the hazards and operating switches is the key to progression.
  4. Stage Four: Earth Conrad arrives back on Earth, only to discover that his rather public appearance on Death Tower has alerted the aliens to his presence! Not surprisingly, they've sent a welcoming committee for our hero. Blasting a path through the xenomorphs, Conrad hires a taxi, deciding to gatecrash the aliens' private party at their HQ. However, whilst overhearing the enemy's evil plan, Conrad is captured and thrown in jail!

    Earth Fact: This level is a blast frenzy, with aliens and probes aplenty - all awaiting destruction! It's Conrad's task just to wade through the meanies until he reaches the enemy base where a tad more thought is required.
  5. Stage Five: The Alien Base Locked up in the aliens' base, Conrad decides that a jail break is in order. Just as one of the xenomorphs arrives to cart him off for investigation, Conrad cheekily scarpers, half-inching a firearm. However, standing between our hero and the next level are some of the most fiendish disintegrator puzzles the game has to offer. One false move and he's atomised!

    Alien Base Fact: This level gives Conrad one of his more useful pieces of equipment - a matter transporter! Just throw the receiver wherever you want and activate the transmitter and you're instantly transported to the location of the receiver. This is highly useful for negotiating massive chasms or dropping down large distances.
  6. Stage Six: The Alien Cruiser Conrad's made it to the heart of the alien operation - his task, to destroy the massive power generator that the evil ones have created. The question is: how?

    Cruiser Fact: This level gives us our first glance of the aliens in their true form. They're shape-shifting beings similar to the T1000 from Terminator II. What's more, in their blob-like form, they're able to stick to walls and ceilings - making Conrad's life very tough indeed! Fortunately, they can only attack Conrad by morphing into humanoid form, giving the hero time to attack.

Animation Extravaganza


As anyone who's seen Another World can testify, Delphine are the masters of animation. They've extended this expertise into Flashback. Each of the main characters is superbly animated, lending an incredibly life-like atmosphere to the proceedings. The effect is stunning - making even Another World look dated in comparison!

Action Man

Conrad Hart is the most well-animated, athletically proficient character in the history of video games! His repertoire of athletic abilities is almost endless. As well as walking and running, Conrad's able to perform a range of different leaps, as well as climbing platforms with ease. With his gun drawn, Conrad is always ready for action - sneaking along, blasting and rolling his way out of (or into) trouble. Mastering the full range of Conrad's skills is essential in beating some of the game's more fiendish puzzles.

Conrad's Tools

Although Conrad is free to pick up any items he pleases during the game, there is some basic kit he always keeps about his person.


Gun: Essential for blasting any aliens who dare cross his path, the gun becomes less effective the longer you play, with later aliens requiring a lot more hits!

Holocube: This isn't really useful at all, once you've watched the message. Its only purpose is to open a door on level one, as well as filling you in on a few basic details at the beginning of the game.

Stones: Chucking one of these past an alien is usually enough to distract it, allowing you to gain the advantage of surprise!


Keys: These see-through keys are just the ticket for opening doors and progressing further into a level.

Credits: Any cash you collect during your travels is added to your cashcard.

Cartridges: Some doors, as well as other devices, are activated by charged cartridges. You won't see much of these past level two.



I was privileged to have access to an early version of Flashback some months ago - and I'm still playing it even now - it's that good! You'll be amazed at the graphics in the game.

As you can see from the screenshots, they're completely different from every other Megadrive game available, such is their unique style. But what the screenshots can't show you at all is the sheer excellence of the animation... it's totally incredible! Conrad himself is a masterpiece of animation - the scope of his abilities is stunning. The game's no pushover either - Easy mode is quite taxing, but possible with persistence. Normal mode is a lot different, with many more enemies to tackle - making it even more action-packed!

Flashback is one of the best Megadrive games I've played in ages - for an arcade adventure second to none, get this.



Taking the Prince Of Persia genre a huge leap forward, Flashback is a truly stunning game. The graphics are the first thing that hit you. The opening sequences are absolutely marvellous, with fully-animated cinematic scenes which wouldn't look out of place on a Mega-CD game. The in-game graphics are also fabulous.

The sprite animation is smooth, fluid and ultra-realistic and the backgrounds are outstanding and evoke a wonderful atmosphere. This would all fall as flat as a pancake if the playability was poor, but fortunately the programmers have lavished as much attention on this aspect of the game as they have on the visuals. Drawing you slowly into the action with a fairly straightforward first stage in which you learn all the different moves and capabilities of the main character, the game quickly moves into top gear with another five massive, tough levels which tax both your brain and reflexes.

But while Flashback is a totally brilliant game, I can't recommend it to absolutely everybody. It's a game that requires a lot to play and a lot of thought and I think that pure arcade action fans might find it a bit too slow and not exciting enough to justify the sheer amount of attention required to finish the game - rather like Ecco The Dolphin, really. If you're up for the challenge, though, and like unusual, original, detailed in-depth adventure games which require the use of your brain as well as your joystick, this is a must.



Groinks! I thought Another World was about as good as Megadrive graphics got, but how mistaken I was! Flashback has more impressive cinematic sequences than Another World ever had, plus there's a much more in-depth game to back it up.

The first level is a bit simple, but it's really just control orientation. Once you've passed that, you know how to perform just about every move you'll be called on to make. Mind you, that said, there are absolutely heaps of things Conrad can do, and it's not just limited to jumping around and shooting things.

You have to exercise your brain as much as your thumbs to get the better of Flashback. Each of the levels follows a different theme, and the plot progresses at such a rate and with such fervour that there's a huge desire to see the next level, or even just the next scene.


Flashback may not appeal quite so much to everyone; it's not as frenetic as something like, say, Sonic 2. However, anyone who likes a bit of story to their death and even, gasp, a bit of role-playing will see this as an all-time Megadrive classic. Either way, Flashback warrants more purchasing than you can shake a stick at.


Presentation 92%
P. There are loads of amazing cut-scene animations interspersed throughout the game. Also, there are loads of options to tweak and a password feature.

Graphics 95%
P. The animation on Conrad and the other inhabitants of Flashback is simply stunning. The backdrops score top marks too for their unique style and originality.


Sound 87%
P. A strong range of sound effects help liven up the sonic side of things. Some suitably dramatic music adds to the cut-scenes and dramatic moments of the game.

Playability 93%
P. Flashback is simply brilliant to play. Once you've got the hang of controlling Conrad, you'll have a ball trying to solve the game's fiendish puzzles.

Lastability 93%
P. The Easy level will be polished off in around a week by experienced players, but the Normal and Hard levels are amazingly tough - providing more enemies to blast!

Overall 93%
Flashback is a ground-breaking Megagame, boasting stunning graphics, decent sound and a massive quest to undertake. It's the best arcade adventure since Ecco The Dolphin.