With Part III pulling the crowds at the flicks, and Part II on rental video, everyone's going Back to the Future crazy! And as luck would have it, here's the finished (note well, other Spec-mags) Speccy game of the film! Back to the Future Part II is a five level adventure through time where Marty and Doc Brown first go to the future to save Marty's son from being jailed.
2015 is the start of the game and Marty and Doc must prevent Marty junior from joining Griffs gang. He's the grandson of Biff and just as evil. Marty goes to the Cafe 80s and poses as his son. But trouble ensues and our hero is forced to make a hasty retreat on a hoverboard. As you race through the streets of Hill Valley you're attacked by Griff and his henchmen, a variety of obstacles and even old Biff. Of course there's a time limit, shown in the status panel along with the date, amount of energy left and amount of lives remaining.
Bonus objects can be picked up along the way. Speed-ups increase the speed of your hoverboard, power-ups replenish energy, and accelerate increases speed of scroll. Once Marty is out of this mess he and Doc find that an unconscious Jennifer (Marty's girlfriend) has been picked up by the police. Assuming she's the 2015 version they take her home. In this section you control Jennifer's actions: don't let her meet her future self and family!
Jennifer rescued. Doc and Marty return to 1985 to find things have changed a lot: armed gangs roam the streets. This is due to old Biff finding Marty's almanac (containing sports results 1950 through 2000) and returning it to his younger self in '55. Combined winning certs have made him one of the richest men alive in '85, and he's taken over Hill Valley.
Marty must battle his way through thugs, muggers and scum to reach Doc and the DeLorean car to get back to '55 and sort out the mess.
In 1955 you must retrieve the almanac from Biff. First complete a sliding block puzzle of Marty playing guitar at the Enchantment Under The Sea dance, then chase Biff's car by hoverboard to retrieve the almanac. Get the book and life is back to normal, fail and the consequenses will be dire.
Sounds exciting, but I was very disappointed with Back To The Future Part II. Sound is the best feature (continuous on the 128K) title screen and in-game music are impressive More than I can say for the graphics: a small and scruffy looking Marty plus shoddy backdrops make this game about as appealing as drying paint. The biggest pain though is level two - Jennifer is all but invisible and the floor plan is a mixture of vile colours (which helps very little).
All in all, getting a product that ties in well with the movie appears to have been the real thought for the programmers, with gameplay dragging behind somewhere.
MARK ... 50%
'Yes, the programmers have followed the film very well - all the highlights have their own individual section. Level one is neat: the highly detailed scenery scrolls horizontally and diagonally depending on which way you're hoverboarding, and a smooth scroll it is too. Plenty of action on the road - cars, Griff's gang, old Bill and an assortment of people all make it look exciting. But the actual gameplay isn't that thrilling or addictive. It's difficult to hover safely, with so many obstacles and Griff and his ensemble giving lethal chase: it's simpler to leap your way through the whole level. The game combines arcade gameplay with lateral thinking: level two is fun as you control the doors of a house in an attempt to prevent Jennifer meeting her future self. While a good program, it isn't stimulating enough. You may keep playing until level five is completed, but it's unlikely you'll be playing again. Oh, and it's a mega multi-load, there are five - five!!! - loads before you get into the game itself! Fine on disk, but on cassette it gets tedious as you continually flip back and forth.'
RICHARD ... 65%
Back To The Future II, eh? You can hardly have missed it, can you? The computer game's been fairly high profile too - we had JDs Megapreview a few issues back, and now it's on the cover, there's a review in the mag (and you're reading it) and blow me down if there's not a mega-demo on this month's Smash Tape too! (In fact, at this rate you probably know more about the game than I do, which is a bit of a bummer 'cos I'm the one who's meant to be writing this pesky thing!) Oh well, on with the show...
Film tie-ins, eh? Not an easy thing to do, I can tell you - especially with a film as complicated as Futsie II. Y'see, the movie kept jumping about time and space so much it was hard to come up with any one sequence to represent it. There was only one thing to do - take the "let's get lots of different sections from the film and cobble them together into a large (muitiload) jobbie instead" approach. And has it worked? Well, hold your horses - I'll tell you in a minute.
There's a huge plot behind this, which is kind of important if you want to know what you're doing (and why), but a bit boring (and impossible to explain) if you don't. So I'm not going to bother - if you want to find out then rent the film (it's just come out on video) or check out the Megapreview in YS 54. Sufficient to say, it all involves you (as Marty McFly) and your pal the Doc flipping backwards and forwards in time, trying to sort out the massive mess that your time-travelling antics have inadvertently caused in the lives of both your parents and their pals (in the past) and your children (and their pals) in the future.
But what do you get? Well, first up there's a neat little animated graphic of the flying De Lorean whizzing about the screen, and then we're straight into the first game sequence, the flying skateboard chase. The screen scrolls nice and smoothly (but not particularly quickly) from left to right (and diagonally as well at times) as you bomb about on your futuristic deck, dodging bully Griff and his mob and trying to knock them off their boards. I'm not going to describe it to you any further - check it out for yourselves on the front cover demo. Suffice to say, it all plays quite smoothly, and has a natty little animated sequence where Griff and his posse crash into the Town Hall at the end as well.
Level Two's a sort of bonus round. Jennifer (your girlie) has fainted and been found by the police and taken back to her house. Only one problem - she's already there. (Confused? You will be.) You have to stop Jennifer from meeting her future sell you see, or any of the other three people who share the house, which would make an even bigger old pig's ear of things than they already are.
You take a bird's-eye view of the proceedings in this level, with the two Jennifers and the other occupants all wandering from random positions around the house. Your task is to guide the old Jennifer out without her meeting anyone else (if she does you fail) by simply opening and closing doors to direct everyone where you want them. All this boils down to is a simple little puzzle - loadsa colour, and a cheery little break between levels.
Blimey. Level Three already, and Marty and the Doc reckon they've sorted everything out, so off they trot back to good old 1985. Now here's the clever bit - listening carefully? (We'll be asking questions later.) Whilst Marty was busy trying to rescue Jennifer, Biff (Marty's Dad rival, and Griff's grandad) borrowed the time-travelling De Lorean from 2015, to take an almanac (a sort of diary jobby with lots of interesting things in) back to himself in 1955, thus enabling him to 'predict' the future and become vastly rich 'cos he can tell what's going to happen. Cunning, eh? So when Marty arrives in 1985 he finds it all quite different. For example, he no longer lives in the same house, Biff rules the town, is married to Marty's Mum, and everyone else is really rather horrible.
Marty's got to get the almanac from Biff (so he won't be able to see into the future anymore) by simply duffing up everyone in sight, and eventually Biff himself. Yes, it's a beat- em-up. You can kick and punch as things scroll from left to right, and pick up sticks and things to try and disarm the baddies with (though you can't use their guns). I thought there was a bit of a lack of fighting moves here (apparently 'cos Marty isn't a fighting sort of chap) and it's all a bit on the hard side, but it's colourful enough I suppose. Still, Renegade it ain't.
More plot now I'm afraid, and this bit's even more confusing that the last. Marty decides he can't stand it any longer, so he reckons it's time to cash in his chips by jumping off the roof of Biff's casino. Luckily, the Doc clambers into the time-travelling car just in time, zooms up and Marty falls into it instead. (What a lucky chap he is.) Anyway, they decide the best thing to do is to go back to 1955 to stop Biff giving himself the almanac, so (hopefully) everything will get back to normal. Eventually everyone ends up in the 'Enchantment Under The Sea' Ball, where Marty watches himself playing the guitar to get his parents back together (a scene from the first film).
And now (hurrah!) we get one of my fave bits from the game. Remember those little games where you had to slide squares around to make a picture? Hours of fun. And this is exactly what we've got here. You have to reassemble this pic of the band who are playing on-stage. The whole thing's animated so prepare to be confused further (if that's possible), whilst a beepy rendition of everyone's fave, Johnny B Goode, clinks away in the background. Yep, it's fun, fun, fun all the way.
Finish this bonus bit and it's onto another hoverboard chase, much in the same vein as the first although everything looks a bit different seeing as it's 1955 this time. Reach the end of the level, and there's a great bit where Biff gets covered in vast amounts of horse manure. Ha!
And that's the game (in theory anyway). But what do I reckon? Well, firstly, it's a multiload affair (six on the 48, three on 128). No, no, calm down. I mean, what else could they have done? If they'd cut down each level to make it fit in one load everything'd be crap for sure. And if they'd concentrated mainly on the one hoverboard level everybody would've complained about that too. So let's not make a meal of it, eh? (Although I must admit it's bloody annoying waiting all day for each level to load.)
As for the actual game itself, well, it's good fun and quite varied, and I like the way the whole thing sort of hangs together. It's a bit of a shame that you can't practice each level individually though, 'cos some of us may never get on to the later ones and are bound to get a tad bored with the first hoverboard bit after a while. But never mind. I still like it. It's playable, it's fun, it's addictive. What more is there to say? if this sod of thing's your bag, and if you like the film, then you can't really go wrong. (But whatever you do, don't go away thinking that's the last you'll be hearing on the Back To The Future front, oh, ho no. There's the video and then the final instalment of the movie to final come - and the game of the third film to boot, as the naff plug at the end of the game 'gently' reminds us. Ho hum.)
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!
Label: Image Works
Reviewer: Chris Jenkins
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