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Back to the Future Episode 1 Review

Marty and Doc are back, but this time you are in control of what happens. The Back to the Future Trilogy is among my top movies of all time, well probably just the first movie, I would be ok if the 2nd and 3rd just never happened. The second movie reminded me of the Super Mario Brothers movie and the third turned into a western. It seems when movie series’ have run their course they always go to the wild west to be…different (Blood Rayne, Tremors etc.). Back to the Future even had an NES game created, if you can call that abomination a game. Thankfully this time, Telltale is in charge of the license and they surely know how to make great adventure games.

Telltale certainly knows that a majority of the people that buy this game will be devoted fans of the movies, and do quite a good fan service at the start of the game. The game opens up with Marty and Doc in the parking lot outside the Hill Valley mall. Sound familiar? Well it should as Telltale re-created the opening scene from the original movie to start of the game. Players take control of Marty and choose the dialog choices for him. If you have a perfect memory, you can choose the same dialog choices as the ones Marty used in the movie. To make it even more authentic, Christopher Lloyd reprises his role as Doctor Emmett Brown. Michael J Fox allowed Telltale to use his likeness but did not record any voice over work. The voice actor they did use however has an uncanny likeness to him that at times you forget that, that is not Michael J Fox’s voice. As a fan of the series, I can’t think of a better way to open a Back to the Future game, than what Telltale was able to pull off.

The game starts off in 1986 with Doc never returning to Hill Valley, at least in the present time period. Following the third movie, Doc is traveling through time with his wife and 2 young sons (Must see gif from the 3rd movie). Due to his long-term absence, his estate is being put up for sale along with all his possessions. The only good news, if you can call it good news is that Marty’s dad; George McFly is in charge of holding the sale. Marty decides to check it out to see if Doc left anything behind regarding his whereabouts. Biff is at the estate sale as well and as usual, him and Marty are butting heads.

When the DeLorean with Einstein inside shows up, Marty has a gut feeling that Doc is in trouble and he will have to travel back to the fut…err past to save him. Though to get back to the present he will have to travel back to the future…from the past which in itself, is traveling to the past in the first place in order to travel back to the future. Does anyone else’s head hurt after discussing time travel?

Marty’s gut feeling was right, as Doc has found himself in a whole heap of trouble in the 1930’s version of Hill Valley. Doc was been arrested on suspicion of burning down a speak-easy and needs Marty help to free him before its too late. Being stuck in jail isn’t the problem, as a local paper shows that Doc will killed by Kid Tannen, Biff’s 1930’s gangster relative.

The game plays a lot like previous TellTale point and click adventure titles. Players are able to walk around freely and interact with certain objects and characters throughout the environment. A prompt will display on the screen when something or someone can be interacted with. Talking to these characters while for different dialog choices to be chosen. Choosing the correct choice will move the conversation forward, but if you are like me, you will choose the choices that reveal information pertaining to the story first. This information helps to flesh out the story and helps to provide needed direction at times.

The game does include a variable level hint system that allows gamers of all experience levels to enjoy the game. Having it turned on to the maximum setting, points out exactly what needs to be done next. Turning it completely off sometimes left me scratching my head on what to do next, but I do enjoy the classic adventure game feel of it.

The game was originally created and released on the PC and then later ported over to the PS3, due to this the first episode was released almost 2 months later on the PS3. In fact Episode 2 was released on PC before Episode 1 was released on the PS3. Frame rate seems to be a hit-and-miss, as when there is a lot of action on screen the frame rate takes a hit. The fixed camera perspective does cause a slight annoyance on occasion when switching to the next screen; Marty will start walking in the opposite direction than what is desired. This usually only occurs when the current direction is held when the screen switches to the new perspective.

Verdict

Episode I can be beaten in a single afternoon, but is well worth the price of admission as the $19.99 price tag covers all 5 episodes.

Note: The Back to the Future Episode 1 review was written based on the PS3 version of the game.

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