Great Scott, Marty! They finally made a decent Back to the Future game!
Back to the Future has always held a special part in my life. Ever since I was little, the trilogy of movies were amazing to me. I must've watched them hundreds of times over the years. And it has always struck me as incredible that nobody has managed to make a decent game based on the franchise. Until now.
[image1]When Telltale announced the partnership with the series' original screenwriter Bob Gale in order to make games based on Back to the Future earlier this year, fans got understandably apprehensive. How would it fit in the adventure game mold or even in the story that was so neatly tied with the movies? But knowing Telltale and their work with third party franchises over the years, I knew they'd make it through, and boy, they sure did.
Episode One, titled 'It's About Time' picks up a few months after the end of Back to the Future III in 1986. Doc Brown's been gone from Hill Valley and the town is quick to want to get rid of his house, auctioning his belongings to make room for new construction. Marty does his best to save his friend's place, but not before a visit of a very familiar time-traveling vehicle. Doc has bigger problems on his plate, as he's been incarcerated in the past and sentenced to death.
How is the DeLorean still in one piece? Where is Doc's family? Is Biff Tannen still a jerk? The game is quick to answer all these questions and get on with the new storyline. This is just the beginning of the larger tale and by the end of the episode there are plenty of new problems to deal with. Like in the sequels, a few new elements are introduced to carry the story along and, actually, they are much more credible than what some of the things the later movies introduced.
If you are familiar to previous adventure games from Telltale, especially the Sam & Max seasons, you'll know what to expect from the gameplay in Back to the Future. You have direct control over Marty and access to a limited inventory. The puzzles aren't as hare-brained as in those games, at least in this episode, but are well thought-out regardless.
[image2]Christopher Lloyd makes a return in his role as Doc Brown and lends his likeness to his in-game character. Thankfully, Michael J. Fox has also authorized the use of his image in the game, although his voice acting is handled by a different actor. You'll hardly know the difference, though, since the guy does an amazing job in delivering McFly's lines in the sort of manic and screechy tones Fox did in the movies. The cartoony visuals also carry over to returning characters and new ones alike, with a lot of variety and great art direction.
This is definitely a Telltale game, the look and feel, along with the animations and top-notch dialogue writing. They nailed the crazy tone of Back to the Future, from the absurd storyline to the pacing. It seems that the decades have only passed for the fans, but not for Back to the Future. It's been years since any decent development with the franchise was made (cartoon not considered, yuck!).
It's About Time sure lives up to its name. It's about freaking time we got to see a decent attempt at a game based on Back to the Future. If this is any indication of how old and beloved movie franchises can become episodic adventure games, let Telltale have at it with a few others. Like previous Telltale season games, the only way to get Back to the Future The Game is to buy a season pass, but if this first episode is any indication, that's a sound investment.