“A love letter to the fans of the Back to the Future trilogy which should not be missed.”
I was never really a fan of point and click adventure games. I’m not sure if I can offer a valid reason as to why, so I’ll just go ahead and say that the genre as a whole isn’t my cup of tea and I rarely ever like adventure games in even the slightest amount. The only exception, ever, was Dreamfall: The Longest Journey. That game strayed a bit from the typical adventure formula, so it may not even count.
However, I can now say that there is a point and click adventure game that I feel I really and truly enjoy. Back to the Future.
Based on the amazing film trilogy from the late 1980s and early 1990s, Back to the Future: Episode 1 is the first of five stories that will ultimately make up the full game itself and is, in a way, Back to the Future 4.
The game picks up a few months after the end of Back to the Future 3. Doc Brown has been gone for some time and his belongings and property are to be sold off. When the DeLorean unexpectedly shows up outside of the Doc’s house, Marty is practically forced to investigate.
After using the time traveling DeLorean, Marty is taken back to the year 1931 where he finds out that Doc Brown has been imprisoned and is linked to burning down Hill Valley’s speakeasy. The rest of the episode deals with Marty trying to bust the Doc out.
Overall, Episode 1 is fairly short, and most people should be able to get through it in about two and a half to three hours. Considering that there are several more episodes to play through in the coming months, this isn’t such a big deal and I imagine that the full game, complete with all five episodes, will run about as long as most games out there today.
The graphics in Back to the Future aren’t really pushing any boundaries as they aim for a cartoon-like presentation. I found the graphics to be a little off-putting initially, but they quickly grew on me and I ended up liking the graphical style quite a bit. The graphics aren’t bad at all, they’re just done in a different style than we’re used to.
The sounds of the game are pretty decent. Music is mostly in the background and not too distracting, and actual sound effects also take a backseat in favour of the voice acting. The voices are definitely the high point of the game’s sound department. A few actors from the film series lend their voice to the game, the most notable being Christopher Lloyd as Doc Brown who does an absolutely awesome job in the role considering he hasn’t had to voice Doc Brown so much in well over a decade. Michael J. Fox unfortunately does not voice Marty, but the guy they got to play Marty (AJ LoCascio) sounds so much like Fox in the films that it is almost scary.
Since the environment is fully 3D and the player has to hold down the mouse and move it around to tell Marty where to go, I found the controls to be a little awkward. I never really seemed to adjust to them, and they are perhaps the greatest strike against the game in my opinion. In this day and age, poor controls are almost impossible to find in a game, so it baffles me that Back to the Future seems to have a control scheme that feels like it was lifted straight out of a ten year old game.
For fans of the Back to the Future series, there are a lot of references and little hidden goodies that the player will spot as they play. Those who are not overly familiar with the film or even the setting won’t notice too much, and will probably just chug through the game.
Overall, this is a very fun adventure game that feels like a love letter to the fans of Back to the Future. If you’re a fan of the movies, then you’ll most certainly have a lot of fun with this game. However, if the franchise doesn’t really appeal to you, then this game may not be your cup of tea solely because the game practically relies on the player knowing the characters and the setting. People who haven’t watched the movies or bothered to remember finer details will probably have absolutely no idea that Kid Tannen is the father of Biff Tannen, the fellow who bothered Marty’s father in high school.
So, if you like the Back to the Future series, then this is definitely a game that you should play! If you’re not, then check out the movies before playing this game.