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Vintage & Modern Tech Blog

Discovering: Back To The Future - The Game

August 16, 2016

Last year I was browsing You Tube videos and noticed one about Back To The Future: The Game.

 

My initial reaction was "Oh yeah, here we go - another fan parody. That movie is ancient - why would there be a game?" but, I decided to watch it anyway.


To my surprise, there actually was a BTTF game, and it was running on a modern PC. 


Back To The Future was probably my favourite movie trilogy as a kid. I don't say that lightly. Everyone I met in the 1980s and 1990s after '85 seemed to have seen BTTF. It was amazing - in particular the remote controlled DeLorean scene in the Twin Pines Mall parking lot and the optimistic vision of life in 2015 from the second movie stood out to me.


Sadly, the real 2015 was just a curvier, grittier version of 1985 in real life but, back then I watched the movies over and over again, wearing down the video tapes, and was able - at the time - to recite the whole of the first movie without a script or any other help.


The natural progression would be to then PLAY a character from the movies. 


I had a game of BTTF 2 for my ZX Spectrum in the early 1990s. It was okay but, limited by the then decade-old hardware it had to load into, and it was basically a psuedo 3D isometric affair which I found difficult to play, as I did many games from that time.


The game I had seen on You Tube was for Windows 7 and made by Tell Tale Games. This game is a point and click adventure comprising 5 episodes that all follow the same adventure.


The story - I'll try to avoid spoilers - is that the past has been altered, and Marty - starting out alone with Einstein, the Doc's dog - must put thing's right.


This isn't a plot from any of the movies - although there is some overlap with movie scenes - but, a completely new adventure for the characters from the films.


The graphics in this game are rendered 3D, with a sort of 'animated movie'  look to them, reminiscent of movies like The Incredibles. There was a brief moment, to begin with, when I thought - 'They could have gone for a more realistic style.' but, it actually works very well. When you consider that Back To The Future also had a cartoon series on television, this style seems to make more sense.


The point and click interface isn't too difficult to use, and often objects are highlighted, eliminating the need for so-called pixel-hunting (the act of systematically dragging your mouse from side to side until an object is detected).


The sound isn't bad either, with nice ambient variations on the movie music in the background as you play, and directly recognisable tunes at key moments.


You could be forgiven for thinking that Marty's role is voiced by Michael.J.Fox. It is in fact an excellent impersonation by A.J.Locascio who was hired when Fox was not available. The original actor does show up in cameo roles later in the game and Doc Brown is voiced by Christopher Lloyd who played the part in the movie trilogy.


I was able to play through the game without much help in the way of walkthroughs or clues - in fact there are clues available in the game - and all but the occasional puzzle made sense.


My only real complaint is - across 5 episodes - it should have been possible to drive the DeLorean in at least one of them!


Back to the Future the game can be picked up for numerous platforms on disc used, or downloaded from the Telltale Games website at https://telltale.com/


Thanks for reading
Stephen

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