Mention the name Delphine Software to gamers of a certain age, and you'll almost certainly get some excited chatter about titles like Another World and Flashback, two of the finest cinematic platformers ever made. However, while those two games are unquestionably the most notable in the French developer's back catalogue, it was responsible for a wide range of titles, including Moto Racer, Darkstone and (ahem) Shaq Fu.
Delphine Software Collection 1 sheds light on the company's other contribution to gaming: point-and-click adventures. Alongside the aforementioned Another World and Flashback, we have Future Wars (1989) and Operation Stealth (1990), a pair of titles which were intended to go head-to-head with the sterling works of Sierra and Lucasfilm Games.
Unfortunately, neither title can truly hold a candle to the best of the genre, despite some interesting ideas. Future Wars (also known as Time Travelers: The Menace and Adventures in Time, depending on your region) has a neat time-travelling premise that sadly under-delivers and the same can be said of spy thriller Operation Stealth (which was marketed as a James Bond game in North America). Both titles struggle thanks in part to their shared 'Cinematique' interface, which isn't anywhere near as elegant as the SCUMM system employed by Lucasfilm at the same time.
It's also annoying that the Evercade lacks mouse control, as interacting with each game is fiddly via the D-pad and buttons. It's also worth noting that the in-game save systems have been disabled, so you'll need to make use of the Evercade's save states instead.
Of course, we'd argue that most people picking up this pack will be focused on Another World and Flashback, and neither title disappoints. Another World (also known as Out of this World) is the Amiga version, and it remains seriously impressive, even today; the animated introduction and cutscenes set the tone brilliantly, while the slick gameplay, tricky puzzles, and subtle storytelling really set this one apart as a landmark video game.
It was ported to a wide range of systems, but the Amiga original really does take some beating. In a neat touch, the Evercade version maps 'jump' to the 'B' button, making it easier to control protagonist Lester (the original Amiga version had only a single action button, so jump was mapped to 'up' on the joystick – it still is in this version, if you prefer to play the old-school way).
As groundbreaking as Another World was, many people consider Flashback the superior game. Again, it mixes wonderful visuals with Prince Of Persia-style 2D platforming action, this time offering a grander storyline and tricky puzzles to solve. The version included here is the Sega Mega Drive / Genesis version, which some might find disappointing (it has weaker music than the Amiga original). However, creator Paul Cuisset told Retro Gamer magazine in 2013 that this is, in his opinion, the best version of the game, and even went as far as to say it was created with Sega's 16-bit console in mind – so who are we to argue?
With only four games included, Delphine Software Collection 1 feels rather lightweight – even more so when you consider how superfluous the two point-and-click adventures are. And, let's face it, if you're a fan of Delphine, you'll have no doubt played Another World and Flashback quite a few times by now. We'd like to have seen Cruise for a Corpse or the excellent PS1 title Fade to Black make the cut – but then again, there's always Delphine Software Collection 2, right?