The over 20 year wait for Back to the Future fans is almost over, as TellTale’s Back to the Future videogame series kicks off for PC and Mac. The episodic content is the first real fiction in the franchise cannon since the end of the third film, released back in 1990. This will hardly be the first game in the history of Back to the Future though, as the series has spawned a series of often forgettable games, hop in the Delorean and let’s take a look back.
Back to the Future (1989, NES, ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC – LJN): Perhaps fitting, the first Back to the Future game was modeled after the first movie, kind of. In the NES version, you controlled Marty Mcfly as you skateboarded through Hill Valley in an attempt to collect clocks and other power-ups to save the future (represented in a photograph at the bottom of the screen). If it looks and sounds familiar, it should — it’s Paperboy in a shiny coat of Back to the Future paint.
The most disappointing part of the game? You didn’t get to control the Delorean until the very last level of the game — it’s not too bad though, the game only took between 30 and 50 minutes to complete.
The eventual home computer versions were a bit different, presented as a side-scrolling adventure, you still control Marty, but your job is to get George McFly and Lorraine to fall in love by collecting objects like flowers, and love poems.
Back to the Future II and III ( 1990, NES, LJN): Remember the part in Back to the Future II where Marty jumped over enemies in spiked shells to collect junk food and fuel so the Delorean could get back to 1985? Yeah, me either, but that’s what LJN had you doing in this pack of 2 NES games. While the Sega Master system and PC releases saw the two games separately (with slightly spruced up visuals), Marty’s second and third gaming adventures were decidedly plumber influenced.
Universal Studios: Theme Park Adventure (2001, Gamecube, Kemco)
If Marty and Doc could, they’d probably go back in time to stop their association with this stinker. To put the game into perspective, imagine going to the Universal Studios theme parks, having mace sprayed in your eyes (the graphics were that blurry and bad) and having to partake in cruddy mini games that revolved around the parks’ attractions. Run through Hill Valley! Fight off Jaws! Get really…really bored!
Yes, there was a Back to the Future minigame in this 2002 clunker, but most people didn’t get to play it since the rest of the game was just so terrible.
Check Blast tomorrow for a review of Telltale’s first Back to the Future Episode!