Thursday, June 11, 2009

Genesis look: Fatal Rewind

One nice quality about the Genesis is that over the years it recieved a handful of Amiga ports courtesy of Electronic Arts. This is good in my case since I'll probably never get around to buying an Amiga. Fatal Rewind is one such game and the first thing one will notice is the striking box-art. Both this and Shadow of the Beast have fantastic covers. In fact every copy of both game comes with a poster...provided you can still find a copy that does.

Fatal Rewind (or The Killing Game Show if you prefer) takes place in one of those futures where the government has complete control of the people and a secret rebel group is ready to make a stand. In a story that draws comparisons to "The Running Man" one individual is caught and made an example of by being placed in this game show. Course in this game they take it a step further by removing his entire lower body and placing the rest of him inside a mech that moves by walking on its hands. Yeah it's a very twisted game.

This game show is basically a death trap as players are expected to navigate a large number of huge mazes collecting keys, avoiding minor traps, and destroying waves of enemies. The greatest worry however is an ocean of DOLL(Deadly to Organic Life Liquid). After a few seconds in the stage DOLL starts to slowly rise, consuming everything in sight. Needless to say it's obvious that you're not supposed to win but with enough time you will eventually.

This game uses a side-view perspective and the controls are pretty easy to grasp. You tap the fire button to shoot while holding the button uses a tool. C button jumps and if you jump at some walls you can climb. You also get a lengthy health meter but since you don't get an invincibility period when you take a hit it's necessary to avoid running into swarms of foes as they can drain it all very quickly. 

Over the course of the game you can collect a variety of weapons and items. The weapons have limited ammo but they're still nice to have when dealing with the constantly spawning swarms. Your main focus however will be on all of the items. There are a few items that restore health, others that give you hints(or simply mock you), and even one very important one that stops the DOLL from rising. Your most important items however will be the keys. These come in a variety of shapes and they can open doors, create platforms, and otherwise allow you to progress. You can only hold one item at a time(including keys) so you'll have to do quite a bit of swapping around to get where you need to go.

The most unique feature of Fatal Rewind is that when you die on your next life the game will automatically replay everything you did on your last life. It's here where you can figure out where you went wrong on your last life and take control when you reach the critical spot. It's really cool being treated to a replay of your last playthrough and even if you make a mistake towards the end you're not exactly starting the entire level over again. While this is trial & error gameplay after completing each level you're given an extra life so at least one of your screw-ups is covered provided you reach the end. 

Unfortunately as with most games of this type once you can figure out how to reach the end of the stage that's pretty much it. There's little in the way of additional paths or more ways to challenge yourself and once you're figured out where to go in every stage you've pretty much mastered it. It's a cool concept with a really interesting feature but without anything else to set it apart it's probably not worth the trouble of hunting down.

The poster is pretty sweet though.

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