Game Review: Back to the Future: The Game, Episode 2: Get Tannen! (PC)

Last time we left Marty and Doc in the Back to the Future point and click adventure from TellTale, Marty went back into the 1930’s prohibition era to rescue Doc Brown. After a run-in with Tannen’s gangster grandfather “Kid” Tannen, Marty and Doc safely return to 1986. Only to find that they altered the timeline somehow so that “Kid” Tannen never goes to jail and Marty’s grandfather Arthur is bumped off by his goons. Now, in order to avoid a present-day crime ridden Hill Valley run by Biff Tannen and his new brothers (not to mention Marty never being born), Doc and Marty must travel back to the 1930’s to make sure “Kid” Tannen gets arrested by Jennifer Parker’s (Marty’s girlfriend’s) grandfather, Officer Danny Parker!

Back to the Future: The Game is a point and click adventure, which is TellTale’s specialty. Use the mouse to guide Marty around specific locations, talking to characters and clicking on objects to examine them or pick them up, and using items to solve puzzles. Just like TellTale’s other adventures, this one is episodic, meaning you download it in small chunks, with one coming out each month or so. Like an episodic TV mini-series. Or a mini-movie in this case.

The visuals and characters are a bit more cartoony this time around, but not so much that it doesn’t look out of place. Just think of it like if Pixar, or at least DreamWorks, got a hold of the license and made a CG movie out of it. The music, locations, and familiar characters help add to the authenticity, though, and they even got Christopher Lloyd to play as Doc Brown! They couldn’t get Michael J. Fox to do Marty’s voice, which is PERFECTLY understandable given his situation. But the voice actor they did get sounds exactly like him!

The only problem I had with the second episode was that it felt a bit short, even for a TellTale game. The straightforward puzzles and helpful new hint system make it easy for point and click beginners, and you’ll probably never have to exit to read a walkthrough if you get stuck. But other than that, Back to the Future: The Game is one of the few movie-based games that is actually very good! I can’t wait to see what happens in the next episode!

Kid Factor:

Back to the Future: The Game is rated T for Teen with ESRB descriptors of Alcohol Reference, Language, and Mild Violence. But basically, if you’re OK with your kids watching the movies, they’ll be OK playing the game. There is some cursing, alcohol references and related puzzles in the prohibition era, and some mild suggestive themes involving a discussion on how Tannen was able to procreate. Characters use guns, but no one gets shot or killed. Even the little bit of blood you see on the ground turns out to be from a nosebleed. Even though the game is fully voiced, reading skill is helpful for the hints. The game could almost be considered slightly educational, as it deals (albeit very lightly) with history. Regardless, fans of the movie, both young and old, will enjoy this game.

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