Back To The Future (Electric Dreams) Review | Commodore User - Everygamegoing

Commodore User

Back To The Future
By Electric Dreams
Commodore 64

Published in Commodore User #30

Back To The Future

Back To The Future is like playing one of those games with the tiny ball bearings in a little glass container - just when you think you are about to get your last ball bearing in place one of the other ones rolls off its position and you have to start again.

Back To The Future is very similar as you have to try and keep all the characters in the same place for long enough to get them to do what you want them to do - in this case, fall in love.

For that one reader who hasn't seen the film yet (this is for you, Mum) it goes like this. You are Marty, cute American teenager who travels back in time to the year 1944 in the 'Doc's time machine.

When you get there you find yourself at the same high school as your Mom and Pop - great, you might think. Trouble is, your Mum takes a fancy to you and isn't at all keen on your future father.

It's down to you to play cupid and get them to fall in love. If you fail you might never be born.

First impressions of the game are not too favourable. It would be easy to form the opinion that the game is just another third rate film game which is definitely not the case.

Once you get the hang of it you become completely hooked and determined to pair your Mum and Dad off and escape back to the future in the nuclear powered DeLorean.

Apart from you and your parents there are two other characters in the game - Biff the bully, who will punch you any chance he gets and generally spoil your plans, and the Doc - who can help you by getting rid of Biff.

Marty is controlled by a combination of joystick control and icon (picture symbol) selection.

Marty walks left, right and forward through doors by simply moving the joystick in the required direction. He can move faster by selecting the skateboard when its symbol flashes yellow.

There are four other icons that come in handy. The coffee cup can be used to freeze Biff for a useful half minute, the spacesuit makes your Dad (George) follow you, and the guitar will freeze your Mum (Lorraine).

Once you have George and Lorraine in one place, you can go to the library and select the volume of love poems which, when taken back to where your Mum and Dad are, will get them feeling a bit more affectionately towards each other.

There are also two pictures in the screenshot above. These are made up of eight strips each. When you are doing well, the pictures begin to fill in, but if you start to lose control, the strips peel back again.

In order to make your escape back to the future, you will have to fill in both pictures, then race back to the Doc's rrom, enter, come out again into the street where the car is waiting and hop in. The rest, the program does for you.

There is also a musical reward for success. If you do well, the theme from the film - The Power Of Love - begins to play, but if you lose control again, the C64 starts bashing out a very fast rendition of Johnny Be Good.

The acid test has to be - does it stand up without the film? I have no doubt that the answer is yes.

It really is fun, and difficult, to keep all the characters under control. You need lots of different icons to affect the behaviour of each character and each icon - once selected and used - will only last for a short time. This means that the game is a race against time. A bit like one of those circus acts with the plates spinning on the poles - with the guy racing around trying to keep them all spinning.

The one niggling doubt at the back of my mind is the game's staying power. Once you've escaped, you may not wish to play again.

Eugene Lacey

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