Les Mondes Fantastiques (1994, Expand, France)

Journey with us now back to 1994. We’d like you to come with us as we journey to some Fantastic Worlds…

2010 edit: I’ve added bits to this, thanks to information given by friend of the Bar Cosser.

Here’s our title sequence. We must confess now that our French is fairly useless so we’re going to have to guess at the storyline. This is also the first time we’ve used our NTSC to PAL converter, so we apologize that the pictures are slightly letterboxed with noiselines. And are a bit grainy.

We’ll have to fill in bits for you here. There’s a woman dressed in lycra, a robot going through the jungle, an explosion and Olivier Minne running towards some kids playing football. It looks like there’s a mission afoot, and inside these rooms marked on the map are glowing orbs. What could they mean?

“The story : After levy extracts from Earth, the motor from Déboulon’ spaceship exploded and freed all the “Pulsors” in the ship. Olivier he’s the first to discover the ship and try to help Déboulon by bringing some little “Chmoluc” (= “human” in Déboulon lexical) to bring it the pulsors. To help the children, Frak (the woman in lycra) a member of the ship -The three world are named “Le Labyrinthe des phraons” (Pharaohs Labyrinth), “Les Temps modernes” (Modern Times) and “La Planète Mystérieuse” (The Mysterious Planet).”

Here are our contestants with our host Minne who these days can be found hosting Fort Boyard with slightly less hair.

“Olivier wasn’t the only presentator of the game : Eric Bacos was in 1992 the first season.”

The kids have twenty minutes to win as many glowing orbs as possible. There are three different fantastic worlds, each accessed through one of the three doors in the mission control centre. That robot in the middle actually works and seems to double as Minne’s comedy sidekick. It’s main secendary function is to keep track of all the clocks. There’s a kid going through the door on the right. The rest of the team watch and offer advice on the large screen.

Our first world seems to be Aztec World. The lycra clad woman directs our contestants silently. In each room is one orb and two tasks. When they complete the first task they win an orb which they post back to mission control through a pipe. You’ll notice a second clock down the bottom left, to continue they have to have escaped the room before this clock runs out. When the pointer gets into the red (denoting thirty seconds left) sirens and flashing warning lights go off and the comedy robot goes mental.

This is the “find the orb under a cup” game and isn’t difficult. The bloke dressed in the Egyptian garb is Gilles Arthur who was Fort Boyard‘s resident magician for most of the last fifteen years.

To unlock the door and escape the room our contestant must put two sequences of pictures in logical sequential order. Doing this unlocks the door to the next room.

In getting to the next room he gets a fresh time limit to complete both tasks. This is the classic “slide the tiles to make a hole big enough to release the orb in the centre” puzzle. Four of those boards have their corners cut off. If you get all four around the middle you can reach through and get the orb out. In fact you only need three in the correct place if you put the empty tile in the fourth position.

For some reason there are some turtles and a big lizard thing crawling around the puzzle as well. Egypt, there.

That little red square embedded in the wall is where the contestant posts his orb. The kid’s second task is to use a grappling hook and rope to get to the exit high up in the room. Sadly he doesn’t make it and his time runs out, so instead he must take the lower exit.

To get back to the control centre, our losing contestant has to go through a time consuming Funhouse style obstacle course.

“The test to escape the room is called the “Sésame”, the trail to come back to the control room the “Galère” and the sound which mean the last 30sec. “Warning”. If a contestant didn’t win a pulsor nor get of the room a question was asked.”

And here he is coming out. The next person can’t go travelling until the current person has finished.

This seems to be the “Future World” antechamber. This is what the contestant faces when they step through the door, waiting for Strange Lycra Woman to direct them.

This is quite a clever game. In the room is a Kerplunk style grid and some large poles. The idea is to guide the orb from the top to the exit point near the bottom by putting in and taking away sticks. To make life more difficult some boards have been placed which the contestant will need to work around. If the orb falls off the path a second and third one will fall from the top when the sticks are in the correct place.

Here are the kids watching in the control centre.

But she fails and must leave.

Third kid now gets a go and we’re not quite sure what the world is. “Black and white”, perhaps, or maybe even “Atlantis”. Anyway, this is version of the popular memory game Simon. To win the orb the contestant must correctly follow a sequence of lights that grows by one each time. After the sequence of nine, the orb is released. This is rather difficult so it’s useful that the kids back in the control centre can help out as well. For some reason our contestant has to wear silly gloves for this.

To escape, the player has to turn those blocks so that the equation adds up. The “=30” bit can’t be changed, but each of the other blocks have four sides with four different numbers on.

Next room and it’s quite tough. The kid has to use removable hand holds to climb up some steep slopes with velcro pads inset into them. What you can’t see is that some of the blocks are at quite nasty angles and even downhill!

There’s the orb in it’s holder in the top right with the tube to post it through right next to it with a rop hanging out. He gets it just in time.

But as Johnny 5 now informs us, the twenty minutes are up and it’s time to leave.

The kids put the orbs into the robot, who spins around and announces that they’ve earnt themselves one minute and thirty seconds in the Treasure Room. They’ve got five orbs, so I’m not entirely sure how it works out. Perhaps they won an orb for exiting the room as well?

“In 1992 at the end of the 20mins. a question was asked, this one was special because the faster the contestans answer during the timer of 30sec. the more the pulsors was given per 10 sec. step.”

For one reason ro another, the kids have to play a sort of Virtual Breakout. There are bricks up the top of the screen, and you can just about make out a wobbly ball above the guy in the middle’s head. They have to knock out all the bricks by using their hands to hit the virtual ball. If they knock them all out hen they go to level two. They have two minutes to complete this.

Time runs out on level two though so the middle kid is electrified. Not really of course! But the team are penalised by not having his help in the Treasure Room for 30 seconds.

In the Treasure Room are prizes hung up in nets hanging from the ceiling with ropes attached to the wall. To claim them, the kids have to climb the walls and let them down within the time.

An arty shot of a bike.

And eventually time does run out and here are the kids with the prizes they’ve won. a load of board games, apparently. Hurrah!

“The sponsor was “Banga” a fruit juice for kids. And from 1992 to 1994 the sponsor was on the screen when a contestant win or lose. Imagine how many times you have to see it in one episode ! ^^ -The first season there was some differance : The treasure room consistis to bring with a crane the pack full of present, the warning was actived at the last minute, the “Galère” was take place in the dark, and Déboulon had an other voice and apparence.”

This article was originally written in 2004, the following comments were left in the original comment box:

Nice article..I think something like this could do really well on TV here on Nickelodeon (and that logo looks awfully similar to one of the Spongebob Squarepants characters to me). Anyway, I looked at the page about the show from the production company [Brig’s note: page doesn’t exist any more]
and apparently the orbs are worth different amounts of time (10,20, or 30 seconds-perhaps it depends on the difficulty of the game or how far in the zone they’re in?)

Brig Bother:
Thanks for that. That’s an interesting page as well. I’m not sure it would sit well with Nickelodeon these days though, ten years ago maybe. 

CITV on the other hand…

Ah… the days when TV5 ran these things here in Canada. 


Looking forward to the Mission:Pirattak review. I saw a few minutes of it when I was scanning through tapes today. 

ryan 🙂

Les Mondes Fantastique really is fantastique!! 🙂 Bravo!

2 thoughts on “Les Mondes Fantastiques (1994, Expand, France)

  1. James E. Parten

    Interesting regarding the slide-puzzle game (picture #7). “The Crystal Maze” had done an identical type of slide puzzle two years earlier (called by Marc Gerrish the “Diamond Slide Puzzle”). At least one contestant actually got it during the third season of the Maze–remarkable considering how often players came a-cropper at slide puzzles in this show!
    Of course, slide puzzles are “old as the hills”, and this type of slide puzzle may also be of that vintage. Still, if this had been a Jacques Antoine production, one could see it as a case of getting one’s own back, since Chatsworth consulted with Antoine’s people in the first place.


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