Friday, January 28

Back To The Future, In The Present

I’m not one for movie games but when I noticed Back To The Future: The Game (BTTF) had been released, I was so excited I was tempted to go out and buy a red puffer vest. Then I realised that was a stupid idea – puffer vests are not cool. And where was I going to get one in Brisbane? It’s the middle of summer. I haven’t been thinking straight lately.

Created by Telltale Games, BTTF is an episode based graphic adventure game taking place six months after the finale of the trilogy.

Marty is trying to move on and accept Doc Brown’s decision to live in the Wild West with his new wife and kids (even the one who stares down the camera, points to his junk and nods confidently). With no sign of Doc, the bank is moving in on his estate, selling off his belongings to create a new parking garage.

While rummaging through Doc’s lab, a new DeLorean appears outside, prompting Marty to rescue Doc from jail during the 1930’s American prohibition era. Suspected of burning down bootlegger Kid Tannen’s speakeasy, Doc learns he will be shot the next day unless the situation is resolved.

By freeing Doc, Marty manages to subpoena his grandfather, Tannen’s accountant, only to find himself yet again fading away from existence. From here the story is set up for the next episode, which is to be released in February. A new episode is released every month until the climax in May.

If the visual style and game play seems familiar, it’s most likely due to the fact the developer is Telltale Games; a group of former LucasArts designers who were responsible for such titles as Sam & Max, Monkey Island and Maniac Mansion: Day of the Tentacle.

Telltale are also responsible for the newly released episodes of Sam & Max, Monkey Island and the upcoming Jurassic Park game.

From what I’ve seen and played of the game so far, I’m unsure of how challenging it will be. Graphically it isn’t anything special but it seems to have a deliberately goofy feel to it, which reminds me of Marty and Doc in the movies.

Christopher Lloyd does a great job (again) as Doc Brown, while Biff Tannen and George McFly were quite annoying. If you recall in the movie, Biff goes from bully to submissive household gimp and in the game, George doesn’t let him forget it. At times he’s like a whiney old lady, watching and commenting about every move Biff makes. Biff just takes it, reminding me of a dog – he potters from one position to another and seems to enjoy whatever attention he can get.

Unfortunately Michael J Fox doesn’t reprise the role of Marty McFly; however his actor does a good job. His voice seems a bit scratchy at times but it has all the nervous enthusiasm you know and love from the films.

Although I’m unsure if I’ll pick up the rest of the episodes, I can say I’ve enjoyed the game more than the recent Sam & Max episodes on Xbox Live - I suffered a case of lost interest and didn’t even finish the demo. The appeal of BTTF may be a result of the games’ story telling style – it’s a continuation of the film with a fresh and relevant storyline, as opposed to a side story, retelling of the film or prequel which is often found in mainstream and boring movie games.

Episode One of Back To The Future: The Game is available now on PC, Mac, PS3 and iPad.

What do you think of this emerging style of episode-based gaming? Would you prefer five or six episodes spread out over time or just hit the game running with all your enthusiasm and finish it as soon as you can?


  1. Episodic content makes me a sad panda. I agree, the Sam and Max games were pretty light on excitement and laughs. Just make a full game people!

  2. Yeah I don't think I will ever pick up an episodic game. Regardless of how good it is, I would rather wait for all the episode to come out, then play them straight through.

    On the demo side of things, did anyone else pick up the Bulletstorm demo? I find it rather enjoying! I will probably pick up the game, if I can find it on the cheap.

  3. On a totally unrelated topic, has anyone played either of the Blaz Blue games (Calamity Trigger or Continum Shift)? I am considering picking them up.

  4. I bought the collector's edition of Continuum Shift from and am awaiting delivery. Calamity Trigger may only have 12 characters (from memory), but the combat system is so deep that it doesn't present too much of a problem. If you can find either on the cheap (and you can at the afforementioned website), then get on it.

    I've actually written up impressions for the Bulletstorm demo which I'll publish on either Saturday or Monday. I liked it, but I think it will lose steam in the same way Vanquish did.

  5. I saw that, it was only $23 which is pretty amazing. I think I will pick it up.

  6. Dude, pay $6 more and get the sequel. It has more characters.