Sinclair User15th August 1990
Published in Sinclair User #105
Back To The Future Part II
Baaa-aaa-aaack to the fyooo-chooor! With those stirring words, pint-sized Marty McFly, played in the movie by pint-sized Michael J Fox, found himself involved in yet another intertemporal impasse together with the manic Doc Brown. You, however much you enjoyed Back to the Future Part II the movie, should not be tempted to get involved with the game.
But, gaspo de gasp!? What can the problem be? Surely this is una licence grande? Guaranteed to generate mucho dinero for good old Image Works? Surely every effort will have been made to capture the heart-stopping thrills of the movie? Surely...? But no. Like so many another licences, the trouble here is that everyone thinks it's enough to stick the name on the box and slam out some half-hearted program based fairly closely on the plot. No-one seems to consider that if you wanted to see the movie again, you'd rent the video - if you buy a computer game you want something you can play.
BTTFP2 consists of five loosely-linked arcade games in which Marty, transported for reasons and by methods I can't be bothered explaining into the year 2015, tries to set time aright by defeating his enemy Griff and his gang. There are quite astonishingly badly-drawn intro screens showing Marty, Doc Brown and the time-hopping Delorean car before you get into the game itself.
In the first part, you steer an anti-gravity skateboard around the streets of Hill Valley. The sideways (and later diagonal) scrolling is reasonably smooth but slower than the movement of your skateboard, the result being that half the time you find yourself jammed against the edge of the screen waiting impatiently for the background to scroll. The backgrounds are nothing to get excited about, but they're good compared to the characters, which are drawn with no realism whatsoever. The passing cars are particularly hilarious.
Marty has to collect objects such as caps, boots and books (though there's no explanation in the manual why), and has to avoid pedestrians, dogs, manholes, puddles and kerbs. You can also fight off Griff's gang by punching them - or at least that's the idea. In practice they just jostle you around, and no matter how many times you hit them, they never seem to fall over.
This incredible tedium seems to go on until your eyeballs are bursting, but eventually you reach the Town Hall and go on to the second stage: rescuing Marty's girlfriend Jennifer from her home. This involves a top-down plan of her house, where you open and close doors in order to herd her family out of the way so she can leave without interfering with their timeline. A bit more unusual than the opening sequence, but hardly breathtaking.
Later on we get a left-to-right scrolling combat game as Marty fights his way back through Hill valley to the Delorean, then the good old faithful 'sliding block" puzzle in which you have to reassemble a picture of Marty at the school dance before the timer runs out.
The last level sees Marty back on the skateboard, chasing Biff's car to retrieve the sports almanac which is the subject of all the time-bending shenanigans. But, as the manual threatens, even if you manage to complete Back to the Future Part II, the adventure is far from over - there's still one more chapter to go...
Watch out for Back To The Future Part III, from Image Works! Then you can avoid that one too!
Hackneyed and uninspiring film licence drivel. More like "Back to the Past."