Tag Archives: Back To The Future

BTTF: Final Verdict

In the last two days, I played the remaining 4 episodes (the first being discussed here). My overall impression is still more or less the same. But I got some screenshots, and a couple of things to point out, and what better way to get rid of them than to put them in the form of a post. Since I’m on a four-day weekend at the moment, my original plan was to play one episode every night, but I liked it so much that I played it a lot more.

Maybe this is a good point to mention, for those that are allergic to it, that the rest of the post will contain spoilers, though I’ll try to keep it down.

In short, after the daring escape in 1931 in Episode 1, you (you being Marty) have a serious problem with your existence. It seems you got your dad in trouble, so in Episode 2, you go back a couple of hours in time 1931 to solve that. That leads to a lot of other problems, and you end up in an Orwellian 1986 Hill Valley in Episode 3. So, in Episode 4, you go back to 1931 yet again, at which point you have a bit of a fallout with Doc, which you have to deal with in Episode 5. Oh, and Episode 5 also has an alternative catastrophic 1931, because you inadvertently changed something in 1876, which you’ll also visit. Still with me? No? Great. That keeps spoiling at a minimum, and after all, isn’t that how time travel stories are supposed to if you don’t revisit them afterwards? Oh, and don’t even try to understand why Doc went to 1931 originally. You won’t until the very last scene. You’re welcome to guess throughout the game, though.

Episode 2 was quite funny again, with the 30ies appeal of prohibition, corrupt cops, and all those things. Episode 3, on the other hand, was probably my least favorite. The Orwellian Hill Valley felt depressing, and without Doc around, there were fewer fun dialogues. It had a couple of nice one-liners though.

Don't we all?

Hairdressers, always at the forefront of bad puns.

Orwellian 1986 Hill Valley, in a strange twist, has a thing for 30ies-style agitprop banners.

In Episode 4, the focus is back on the weirdest kinds of research again, as is the first part of Episode 5. You’ll get to know a couple of Doc’s early inventions, most of which rightfully never made it into everyday use. But that’s nothing a good researcher should be afraid of! I should put one of these lines on my office door.

My thoughts exactly... as long as my suit doesn't look like that afterwards.

Hill Valley Expo was merely a setback!

Overall, as I already said, I really enjoyed the games. On the other hand, I probably would’ve enjoyed them almost as much if they had been a movie of about the same length. The game part is somewhat weak, don’t expect any hard puzzles (one or two are frustrating, but that’s because they feel random). The scripting and voice acting is great though, and the characters are likable (except for those that aren’t supposed likable, which aren’t, obviously) and believable as much as a you could expect in a BTTF-style adventure. There are a couple of minor bugs and typos. It is kind of sad to see that somebody, for example, mixed up “your” and “you’re”. The grammar geek in me died a little.

Good thing this is an exception, and doesn't happen all the time.

There is also a very annoying bug in Episode 5 that cost me quite a bit of time. You have to solve a puzzle revolving around a cactus, and I didn’t realize what I had to do, because the game already displayed everything in place, when in fact it wasn’t. Sure enough, after I went through the motions and manually draped everything required around the cactus in the way the graphics already showed to me, the puzzle was solved. Things like this really should be caught by your QA. But oh well. At least there were no game-breaking dead ends.

If you can get the game on sale, and you liked Back To The Future, get it, no questions asked. At full price, it’s up to you whether you consider 15-or-so hours of game time worth it.

Final verdict: don't discard the game! Or if you do, at least recycle correctly.

Back To The Future: The Game

As I said earlier this week, there was a Steam sale for Telltale’s BTTF game. I couldn’t resist and got it for 10€. After I played Episode 1 (of 5) last night, I can say it was worth it. The rest of the text will contain spoilers, but the game is so easy that you will probably see everything I’m going to talk about in a matter of 2-3 hours anyway.

The game starts with a scene that every BTTF fan will remember.

You disintegrated Einstein!

It took me a couple of minutes to get used to the models. They’re closely modeled after the film characters, but just that slight bit off. Oh, and don’t get me started on the walking animations. The voice action is spot-on, though (for the most part), and very enjoyable.

The story in Episode 1 is relatively straightforward, for a time traveling one. We start in 1986, where Doc’s stuff is getting auctioned off because he has gone missing (in 1885, if you remember the movies). Suddenly, the DeLorean appears in the parking lot, with nobody inside but Einstein, and a tape recorder telling you the newly added homing device has automatically brought the DeLorean back to 1986. A very smart idea, it makes sure that, if something happens to Doc, Marty can go back in time and rescue him.

Of course, the DeLorean time machine, being the fragile thing it is, forgot which time it departed from, so that’s the first thing to find out. Helps comes in the unlikely form of Vice Principal Strickland’s sister. Anyway, you find out you have to head to 1931, where Doc apparently was murdered by a mob for being a suspect in burning down Hill Valley’s speakeasy.

You run into a Tannen during your trip…

The Tannens, charming as ever... I think I'll stay up here for a bit.

… as well as Marty’s grandfather and Doc’s younger self, who is just starting his scientific career against the wishes of his father. (The scene where you listen to their argument while Doc gives you some hints of how to operate a complex alchemical setup is one of my favorites.)

Like the movies, the Episode ends in chase scene; you have to break Doc out of a police transporter.

This is a rescue, BTTF-style.

In the end, all ends well, or not so much… but that’s when we’re told that the story is “to be continued…”

It’s a fun little game. As I said, the animations are weak, and the character models need some getting used to, but the voice acting is great. 10€ was totally worth it (seeing how there’s four more episodes waiting). For fans of the series, even 25€ might be okay. You basically pay 5€ per episode, and it’ll give you a couple of nights of fun. Just don’t expect a lot of puzzle solving. They are all so easy that I didn’t get stuck once. It was more like an interactive movie at times. But the heydays of point-and-click adventures are long over, so I’ll take what I can get these days.