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Review - Back to the Future: The Game

The year is 1986. The first computer virus is spreading to PC's, Pixar animation opens, Dragon Quest is released in Japan, and Marty McFly is at Emmett Brown's home, trying to stop an estate sale.

This is where Back to the Future: The Game starts. Doc has been gone for some time, hopping around time with his family. And because he hasn't been around, his property was seized by the bank and his belongings were sold. While at the estate sale, Marty hears a familiar sound from outside. He comes to find the DeLorean has time traveled to that time and location, only without Doc. So Marty travels back to the date the DeLorean came from, 1931, to find Doc and get him back to the present. Of course it's not as simple as just traveling back in time and picking him up. Marty has to break Doc out of jail, help a young Emmett Brown with his inventions, stop the Tanen family from erasing Marty's existence, and much, much more.

The game is what you've come to expect from Telltale: A top notch point and click adventure. The way the game plays is just like many of their other games, which isn't a bad thing. As the saying goes, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. You can control with the keyboard or mouse, both working fairly well. I played with the mouse, and that worked for most of the game. There were a few moments where the keyboard felt a little more precise for some things, like one moment where Biff has Marty in a choke hold, and you had to move the camera around the move to click on different things. Thankfully switching between the two was as easy as moving your hand onto the keyboard, so it wasn't a big deal at all.

The puzzle solving was kind of a mixed basket. There were a few times where it was fairly obvious what to do. But I found myself in several occasions not really knowing what to do. Thankfully the hint system works well, and gives you a basic hint, or you can keep hitting the hint button for a certain number of hints until it usually just gives you the answer. The hint system is definitely a good addition to any adventure game like this, but there were times I felt like I had to use it. And when I'd get the solution from the hints, it wasn't one of those usual moment where you're just "Damn I'm dumb." It was more of a "How was I supposed to get that on my own?" With some environments having several objects to interact with and several people to talk to, trying everything would have taken a while. I will say, I do like using hints over a FAQ. It feels a little less cheap.

The voice acting was excellent. I was a little disappointed to hear that Michael J. Fox wasn't cast as Marty at the beginning, especially with Christopher Lloyd being cast as Doc. But after playing through all five episodes, I feel that AJ LoCascio did a great job playing Marty. In fact, he did such a good job that you'd think a young Michael J Fox had his own time machine and came to the future to do the voice of Marty. Some early reviews of the game said that Christopher Lloyd's performance as Doc was somewhat lifeless, that he was sounding old and not as energetic as he sounded back from the movies. In my opinion I felt that he did a great job. There were a few voices in the game that just sounded weird and not right for an actual person, but those were minor characters with only a few lines in the game. The sound effects were very well done as well, with the DeLorean making all the sounds you'd expect it to make in certain occasions, like turning on the time circuits, or making a time jump.

The music Telltale made for the game fit well with the Back to the Future universe. The ambient music had hints of the main theme at some points, like when you'd solve a puzzle that would let you move on to the next part, or in an important area to the overall story like Hill Valley's town square. In proper occasions the licensed music from the movies also made their way in, like the unforgettable Back to the Future theme (which I found myself whistling along to every time it would play), and even Huey Lewis and the News' "Back in Time". There was only one moment where I felt the music just didn't feel right, and that was at the beginning of episode 4, if I'm not mistaken (if I am mistaken then it's the beginning of Episode 3). The main theme was playing, but it wasn't the one used in the movie, but more one made by Telltale. It just didn't feel right, and I felt like there was no need to use it when the original theme fit perfectly there.

If you are a Back to the Future fan then I highly recommend you get these games. I would also recommend them if you enjoy point and click games, although you may feel a little more at home if you have watched the Back to the Future trilogy. And if you're not a fan of either, well then I'd just say these games may not be for you. For anyone who may be even slightly interested, they have the first episode for free over at the game's site. Overall, I really enjoyed them. As a huge fan of the movies, I welcome these games as a true sequel to the trilogy. I can't wait to see what's in store next for Marty and Doc.
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About Swishieeone of us since 3:10 PM on 05.16.2010

I realized I hadn't updated my sidebar for a while, and I'm not sure what to put here, so hey. What's up? How's it going? Cool.
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