In case you hadn't noticed, this was the day that Marty & Doc arrived from 1985 in Back To The Future 2, so I thought I'd have a quick look at the various different games that have been released over the years based on the movie series! And Great Scott, there's a lot of them! I've not got time to look at them all today, but seeing as it will still be the 21st in America, I'll squeeze the rest in another post an put it up in a little while....For the moment though, here's part 1....
Back To The Future (ZX Spectrum, C64, Amstrad CPC) :
First up we have this game released in 1985, which has Marty walking around trying to find items that he can use to bring his parents together, and stop his mother falling in love with him, erasing him from history! You can tell how well you're doing by the picture of Marty in the bottom left of the screen, which will fade out if things are going wrong. At the bottom right is a picture of your family, that will reveal more of itself as you get things right!
The various characters wander around, and you'll have to figure out what items to use on each to bring them together or keep them apart, and you can hop on a skateboard to zip about a bit faster. There's a nice little version of Johnny B Goode to bop along too as well..
It's fun for a little while, but ultimately isn't very exciting...at least it was pretty close to the plot of the film, so it gets bonus points for that. I only played the Speccy and C64 versions, but it's also available for Amstrad...
Back To The Future (MSX) :
This one is a cute little side-scroller, that has you jumping up at windows to find George and Lorraine whilst avoiding baddies, and then leading them along the screen to a dance, where they can fall in love.
Unlike the movie, you'll need to take them to more than one dance though, and more and more enemies will appear to try and stop you! As far as being close to the plot, well...it isn't really. Getting them to the dance is all you have to do. It's pretty simple stuff, but quite fun all the same, although it can get pretty difficult pretty quickly with all the enemies flying around the screen.
Better than the last game then, but not as good a use of the licence. It's definitely better than this next one, though....
Back To The Future (NES):
Oh dear. Where to begin with this mess!? Let's go straight to the first major thing you'll notice that's wrong with this game.....that bloody maddening 'music'.. Its repetitiveness and tone will have you believing that if we're all actually doomed to an afterlife in Hell because of our sins, this is the tune we'll all be forced to listen to for eternity! Still, at least we won't be in the corners of the underworld reserved for the people who made this game...
Okay, so maybe I'm being a little over-harsh on the game...but not really that much. Playing like a horrible version of Paperboy without the papers, this sees Marty trying to make his way up the screen avoiding men carrying sheets of glass, Hula-Hooping girls, killer bees...you know, all those memorable villains from the film! (cough!)
He has to collect clocks to stop himself from fading away to nothingness as well, and can pick up bowling balls to shoot at the enemies. There's also a few bonus stages where the game changes and you do things like avoid kisses from your mother, or throw glasses at Biff, but I couldn't stomach the game long enough to reach those...
It's a truly terrible title, and should be avoided, unless you need some sort of aural torture device, and then it becomes super-effective and brilliant.
Back To The Future 2 (ZX Spectrum, PC, C64, Amiga, Atari ST, Master System, Amstrad CPC):
And so we come to the sequel, and for this game that was released on loads of systems, we're on Marty's hoverboard...side-scrolling away & bashing baddies, avoiding cars and collecting power-ups.
The Speccy version is pretty rubbish, although you do get a nice intro and tune if you load it on the 128k computers...but the graphics are a bit crappy and gameplay is a bit slow and chuggy.
Slightly better is the C64 version, which I actually played for quite a while. Again you get a nice tune with a snazzy intro, but the gameplay is a bit zippier and the better graphics help too...
Oh, and I forgot to mention you occasionally go diagonally up the screen in all the versions too, which is..y'know...a bit different at least.
Some versions are fun for a while, but again none of them really stand out much and aren't really the best use of the licence that could have happened, only really focusing on one aspect of the movie. Will there be any game in the next lot that actually does a good job and manages to use the licence as it should? Well, I guess you'll just need to come back in the very near future to find out!
(Yes, I just said that..sorry...)