Back To The Future: The Game Preview
It’s an iconic movie franchise that doesn’t deserve to see its name dragged through the mud. This is why we’ve been skeptical about the new Back to the Future interactive adventure since hearing about the announcement, even though we’re honestly hoping for a worthwhile digital homage. Telltale Games has quite the chore on their hands but in learning more about the project, it seems the developer is on the right track, and the first 5 episodes – scheduled to release early next year – could really grab the player. Essentially, we’re looking at a direct follow-up to the popular film trilogy; you will control Marty McFly and work to solve all sorts of puzzles. On top of which, they’ve included all the characters you know and love, including the irreplaceable Emmitt “Doc” Brown, played by Christopher Lloyd. While we sadly don’t get Michael J. Fox’s voice, we do get Lloyd’s, and that’s a definite bonus. Good voices are essential for this one.
You will also participate in conversations, as you can select how Marty responds to certain questions, ala role-playing style. One of the options will be Marty’s actual response in the movie, while others are all new; the only downside is that characters won’t respond any differently regardless of your chosen response. Even so, it’s nice to have the option to switch things up. The setting will be very familiar: you will notice environments from the films, but don’t expect the same events to occur; remember, this is a sequel of sorts. For instance, near the start of the game, you’ll wake up in 1986 (modern day in that time period, kiddies), months after Doc and Clara said goodbye to Marty on that really cool time-traveling train. Marty wakes up and goes to see his father at Doc’s house, which is being auctioned off due to the semi-loopy doctor’s disappearance. And yeah, you’ll even recognize Doc’s house.
You know, based on the few screenshots and last few debut videos, you might be really surprised at how good the game looks. Furthermore, as this is a faithful creation, you’ll see Doc in his trademark white lab jacket, Marty is in his trademark totally ‘80s jacket (the life preserver), Marty’s father in his suit when he’s finally done something with his life, and Biff in his track suit after becoming a big fat zero. I particularly like the fact that this seems to be shaping up as a true-blue adventure game, where the player must spend the majority of his time solving problems with quick thinking and ingenuity. If they had made this game back in the day, it would’ve been a side-scroller with Marty on his skateboard, moving through all the settings in the movie, hopping on the heads of Biff and Co. duplicates. I think they really wanted to maintain the special side of the movies, and mindless action doesn’t fit.
The game will help you out with a built-in hint system and throughout the quest, you will always be encountering situations that make you go, “yep, that’s a sensible progression.” The characters act as they should, we’ve heard Marty’s voice actor really is a dead ringer for Fox, and we’re counting on episodes of a decent length. Being episodic in nature, after nabbing the first five episodes, we’ll obviously have to shell out again for the next five (or however many they produce). Will the entire game be worth the price of admission? Well, if we hadn’t been impressed with what we had seen so far – and trust me, we weren’t planning on that – we probably would’ve remained skeptical. But man, for fans of the movies, this could be very, very cool. Still, I have to say that whenever I go to watch a movie, or when I go to play the game, I’ll be once again saddened by Fox’s situation. It doesn’t really seem fair but he did give us some memories, didn’t he?
12/21/2010 Ben Dutka