The general rule of thumb with movie to video game tie-ins is to avoid like the plague, sterilize any areas they come into contact with and dispose of the offending product in a timely manner. Like all things, there are a few exceptions to this rule like “Spider-Man 2” and the original “Goldeneye” but they are so few and far between that the rule should still stand. There is however one great equaliser: fan-boy-dom nostalgia. Maybe that’s why I jumped at this title the second I saw it pop up on the Playstation Network and started to worry after the credit card payment went through. Ironically, I was beginning to wish I had a time travelling DeLorean before starting up “Back To The Future: The Game”.
Okay, let me start by saying it’s good, even though it is an episodic movie sequel. It’s faithful in it’s substance and TellTale Games clearly have a great love for the movies. The opening sequence mirrors the DeLorean’s test run from the perspective of the camcorder that Marty McFly is holding in the first flick. I found myself fist pumping the air when that immortal line is quoted, “once this baby hits 88 miles an hour, you’re gonna see some serious shit”. Christopher Lloyd even reprises his role as Dr Emmett Brown (“great scott!”) and the fellow they got to play Marty McFly sounds so close to perfect, I was convinced until the ending credits that it was indeed Michael J. Fox himself. So all the elements that made the movie great are there but how does this game fit into the story, I hear you ask.
“Back To The Future: The Game” is actually set after all the events of the three movies and starts with the before mentioned DeLorean test drive (because if that event never happened, none of the adventures would have happened), complete with your choice of following the movie’s dialogue or changing it around a little. Why let you change it? Because Marty has been there before, remember? He even watched from the side as it happened at the end of the first movie. This is one of the endearing things about the game’s adaptation is that it has an explanation for everything and has proof from the films. The story starts to change relatively quickly and within a few minutes, even Marty notices that something’s not right with the course of events and the mystery thickens.
TellTale Games are playing to their strengths here with the game being a point-and-click style adventure with plenty of witty dialogue, recognisable characters and an absolutely A grade soundtrack. The graphics are cartoony but have the same resemblance as a well drawn caricature. Whilst I wasn’t a huge fan “Sam & Max Season 2” due to the random stupidity that made no sense to even the most outrageous imagination, I have enjoyed their other offerings and “Back to the Future: The Game” feels like a matured “Sam & Max Season 1” with clever sequences and rational inventory use. Unlike “Monkey Island” where you found a membership card in a hanging pair of socks, or put the mints in the barrel of flat grog to make it bubbly then drop the root in it to make root beer then dunk your sword in it to get the enchanted sabre (I’m not kidding about either of these!). So you don’t need to be a savant to figure half this shit out for a change.
As far as it’s downfalls are concerned, they’re kind of trivial. Point and click adventures have a certain immunity when it comes to controls and action because they are not made for that purpose. It’s here to tell you a story but let you feel like you are working it out rather than watching painfully as some crap actor stumbles around the obvious clues to fill an hour and a half. The main gripe I do have with the game is that it’s in five parts that get released one a month. Since this part can be knocked over in about two hours, it will feel like a damn long wait to see the next episode.
If you are a fan of the films or really into point and click affairs, “Back To The Future: The Game” will not disappoint. The sharp, and sometimes adult, wit will have you laughing out loud constantly. Only once was I stumped puzzle-wise but after taking a step back, the solution made sense so a rational mind will get through the game with relative ease but you will enjoy one of the best scripted and voice acted games in a very long time as you go. Definitely worth the money for the fans and I, for one, can not wait to see the next episodes!