The long dormant intellectual property Back to the Future returns, thanks to Telltale Games, who have made a habit of resurrecting IPs and making them work, from classic adventure games like Sam & Max and Monkey Island to fresh adaptations of IPs like Homestar Runner, Wallace & Gromit and Jurassic Park.
The first episode of Back to the Future opens in 1986, one year after the events of the trilogy. George McFly is selling off Doc Emmett Brown’s possessions, as he’s been missing for a year. This understandly upsets Marty, who knows Doc Brown is galavanting somewhere in time. Things get strange when the DeLorean time machine, last seen destroyed in Back to the Future III, reappears, with no driver and Einstein in the driver’s seat. Next thing Marty knows, he’s in 1931 interacting with a teenage version of Doc Brown.
The game, as with most Telltale productions, is very true to the material. The game aims for a cartoon, almost anime, look, which fits the mood of the game. Christopher Lloyd reprises his role as Doc Brown, but he is the lone returning voice from the films, while newcomer A.J. Locasio does a good job of impersonating Michael J. Fox’s performance for Marty McFly. The musical cues, especially the opening dreamlike score, are true to the film series. The jokes are plentiful, from inside gags that only Back to the Future fans will catch to giggle-inducing slapstick. None of the humor are laugh-out-loud variety, but more of the Grim Fandango-ish low key comedy that will keep a wry grin on the gamer’s face.
The game itself has some devious puzzles that will take even veteran adventure gamers some time to figure out – the hint system helps to an extent. All of the puzzles have logic behind them, so there won’t be any headbangingly odd puzzles that will make gamers say, “How was I supposed to figure that out?”
The one big drawback is that the episode is fairly short, even for a Telltale Games episode, and ends at a peculiar point. Unlike other Telltale games like Wallace & Gromit and Sam & Max, the episode’s cliffhanger ends in the middle of the scenario, mid-narrative. It’s somewhat frustrating, especially since the next episode is not due til February.
However, the story as a whole seems like it’s going in the right direction, and Episode 2, Get Tannen, is eagerly awaited. Check Back to the Future: The Game out here at the official Telltale Games site.
Jonah Falcon is a blogger for TMRzoo and GameStooge.com and covers all gaming consoles and platforms including Sony Playstation 3, Microsoft XBOX 360, Nintendo Wii, Sony PSP and computer games designed for Mac OS, Microsoft Windows and Linux operating systems. Jonah provides his readers with reviews, previews and up to date gaming industry news and rumors.