OUT OF THIS WORLD 2 / Interplay / Sega CD

Heart of the Alien actually comes with both the second Out Of This World game, and a port of the first game. Let's talk about the port first, since it's quicker. It looks really nice, and has a fitting ambient Vangelis-like soundtrack (more like background soundscapes than formal music for most of the game really.) As good as it appears to be, however, I had an issue with Lester firing the gun too fast, thus making it impossible to put up shields or charge the super-blast and effectively keeping you from getting past level 2. I don't know if that was an emulation issue or something like that, so I'm not factoring that into the bad rating.

What gets the game the bad rating is the fact that OOTW 2 is just butt awful in almost every way. Main designer of OOTW Eric Chahi started to develop this one as a game where you play as the alien buddy during the events of the first game, but abandoned the idea and stepped out of the project personally very shortly after starting due to beginning development of Heart of Darkness. So the game actually got farmed out to some other team at Interplay to design, and they decided to make the game a straight sequel where you still play as Buddy, but now he goes back into the evil alien compound to avenge the burning and trashing of his home village and etc., which we see was directed by an alien leader who conveniently has glowing red eyes to identify him from all the other samey aliens.

OOTW was a very tough and demanding game, but the challenge was mostly in just figuring out the right moves in each scene, and once you did that you generally could repeat them fairly easily. In OOTW 2, even when you know what to do, you'll still die 10 times attempting it because the design is so ridiculously demanding of crackerjack timing, and because Buddy's responses and animations are so horribly sloooooow compared to the rest of the world around him.

Between the unavoidable cheap I Wanna Be The Guy-esque "gotcha" deaths peppered through every level, the crap-ass play control and level design, and a certain plot twist dealing with hero of the first game Lester that just seems completely senseless, whoever ended up taking the development off of Chahi's hands seems like they were either a massive troll, or under orders from Interplay to intentionally sink the franchise for good. Neither of those makes any business sense at all, but weirder things have happened in life. Whatever the case is, the game is terribad, and even if the port of the first game is actually excellent and doesn't have inherent button-press issues, you're still buying this for OOTW 2 and not OOTW 1. And OOTW 2 is crap.

Links :

* Heart of the Alien Redux - to run the Sega CD or image on a PC or Amiga without an emulator. I don't know if this makes the game any less shitty somehow.

Videos :

* Gameplay Video