Flash in Gaming Part 5: The Flash Game That Never Was

Today’s guest post is by Colin Crebs.

Let’s talk about the ideal Flash game. The ideal game, basically.

There is one thing that haunts my dreams more than anything. No, it’s not that I never cleared my father’s name for the murder of my mother (tasteless Barry Allen joke).

It’s this obscure 1-minute long video I found by accident on YouTube. It’s the thought that a GTA-style, next-gen, sandbox Flash game was in the works and then disappeared into the Speed Force/Development Hell/Development Speed Force.

Why? I can only imagine that it was too awesome for human consumption. That playing just this demo build filled the average person’s soul with so much joy, the human heart exploded instantly from rainbow and chocolate unicorn overload.

Flash Video Game Teaser

Pictured Above: Why must you turn this into a house of lies?

The Gods of Gaming saw fit to give us a glimpse of the best Flash game ever. Just a glimpse though. Perhaps just to torture us. It is simply… The Flash Game That Never Was.

You must understand, one of my favorite games of all time is Spider-Man 2 on PS2, purely for the free-roaming aspects. It received a huge positive reaction back in the day because nobody had seen anything like it before. Swinging as Spider-Man in a fully realized virtual New York, not bound to any one objective or invisible wall? Yes. Yes, forever and amen. Webslinging, wallcrawling, building momentum, doing tricks, throwing generic thugs off the Empire State building, chasing down stolen cars, retrieving stolen purses: I did it all for hours and hours, neglecting the main storyline, because just being Spider-Man in a giant playground was so fun in and of itself. Doc Ock could keep Mary Jane for all I cared. It was so immersive I returned to the game on a daily basis, just because I had to get my “daily patrol” in.

Combining free roam crime busting with the Flash, a character 3×2(9yz)4a times cooler than Spider-Man? Well, I wouldn’t have any use for real life at all after that. I would live in the game, only leaving for sustenance to keep functional my fragile human form.

Flash Cakes

Pictured above: Sustenance. Noun. Food regarded as a source of strength; nourishment.

Cogito ergo sum. I play the Flash game 24/7, therefore I am the Flash.

Just look at all the cool stuff the Flash can do in that short video! Outrace cars! Search for tokens! Run up buildings! Take out multiple enemies! Do tricks, like jumps and grinds from a Tony Hawk game! It could’ve been the best game ever, combining exploration, brawling, extreme sports, roleplaying, and storytelling all in one.

Flash video game: running

The formula is simple. You take everybody’s favorite parts from the Elder Scrolls, GTA, Far Cry, and the Batman Arkham series, and multiply them by 1000. Let the Flash fight gorillas on the Northeast, then zip over to the Southwest to put out a fire, then stop Captain Cold from robbing a bank on the Northwest, all the while collecting Flash tokens to unlock alternate costumes and experience to upgrade your Flash. Add in chasing Zoom around the entire city at full-speed as a boss battle. As side distractions, maybe the Flash participates in eating contests, speed rebuilds all the dwellings the Rogues destroy in real time, and finds people’s lost pets. It could’ve brought the mundane together with the epic in a perfect union. Maybe Batman and Superman pop in, because they have a mission only the Flash can solve. In fact, maybe the whole game is a satire of how much Superman 64 sucked! Maybe you unlock Bart Allen, Max Mercury, or Jesse Quick at some point! Maybe you even unlock the Reverse Flash and start committing crime at light speed, like playing as Venom in Ultimate Spider-Man! It could’ve been pure escapism.

Flash in Crisis on Infinite Earths (Alex Ross)

Think of the story it could tell. Maybe you start out as a fully-powered Barry Allen, with all upgrades unlocked. You are nigh invulnerable, phase through solid objects, and even shift forward and backward in time like Prince of Persia, just so you have a taste of what’s to come. Think fully powered Kratos in the beginning of God of War 2, and then Zeus takes all your stuff! In the tutorial stage, you sacrifice yourself and destroy the Anti-Monitor’s anti-matter cannon, just to set the tone that this game is totally super-science, Grant Morrison-level bananas, but sincere at the same time.

Flash Legacy

With Barry Allen dead, we shift perspective to Kid Flash. You now play as Wally West, less powerful with no upgrades. You take your mentor’s costume and start with your “training wheels” on, learning the basics of the game from the ground up with less mastery over your super speed. Your goal is to earn the mantle of the Flash, both through great deeds and just grinding experience. Along the way, you find comic books that unlock classic missions, so you can relive the greatest adventures of your mentor or Jay Garrick, like the history missions from X-Men Legends. The over-arching theme is upholding a legacy, contrasted with TV Wally’s personality of selling out and promoting merchandise, clowning around, juggling a love life, etc. Maybe the game branches out at some point, when you decide whether or not you will reveal your secret identity to the world. Perhaps you learn Wally is playing the fool to hide a warrior’s pain.

These were the promises of a three-dimensional, next-gen Flash game, contained in that one minute bootleg never meant to see the light of day. A fully immersive and explorable city. Combat at super speed. A storyline powered by 70+ years of comic book history. Villains of different varieties, requiring different skills to defeat. And just when you’ve got the Rogues beaten, they join forces and attempt to destroy your city with their combined might!

Alas. Cancelled. Why? Financial crisis? Fear the game was too different from what sells?

We will never know. I maintain it would’ve been the best game ever.

Comic Book Guy Flash

Best. Game. EVER.

Previous articles in this series include Part 1: 90s Handhelds, Part 2: Earth’s Final Defense, Part 3: Justice League Task Force, and Part 4: MK vs DCU & MUGEN.

We’ve previously featured concept art and storyboards from the game.

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8 thoughts on “Flash in Gaming Part 5: The Flash Game That Never Was

  1. Kyer

    I absolutely refuse to let this article get me down seeing as
    I just received my Artfx Flash statue and DC Superman action figure.

    In the interest of fellow Flash fan commiseration, I’ll pencil in some miserable feelings once I’m off my personal high. Sorry, best I can do right now. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Kyer

      Okay…now I can properly commiserate.
      During a period of family confusion, I accidentally erased my Wally West Mattel order and by the time I noticed that the pre-orders were out of stock. Crap. Oh well. At least I still have my 2000-era Wally.

      Reply
  2. gugumugats

    It looks like a lot of the animation was used for DC Universe Online. I treat this game like a Flash game when I created a Flash-clone character with super-speed abilities.

    Reply

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