So how do you feel about me not properly watching the Back to the Future movies? Don’t worry; I know the plots of the movies without properly watching them. One day, I will watch them properly. The plot for the first film is that Marty McFly meets with his friend “Doc” Brown who lets Marty test his time machine built from a DeLorean and goes to 1955 and inadvertently meets his parents and his father’s bully, Biff Tannen. The movie is a legendary movie, a much beloved movie trilogy and whilst I never properly watched the trilogy properly, I can still appreciate the movies. What I can’t appreciate that much is the NES game, developed by Beam Software and published by LJN Toys and was released in September 1989, 4 years after the first film, 2 months later, Part II would be released, so of course someone would make a game to coincide with the movie, only that this game is based on the first one.
So I assume that the game would follow near enough the same plot as the movie and I already summarised the movie so now to the gameplay. Most of the levels consist of just being an early endless runner. You run in the streets of 1955, as you collect clocks to avoid vanishing from the future which is shown on the photograph at the bottom of the screen, collecting 100 clocks will prevent you from vanishing for the rest of a level. There are enemies including bullies, bees, hula hooping girls…people holding glass? OK, fair enough, it’s the 50’s and the game can be unconventional…for a game anyways. There are two power-ups throughout the entire game, a bowling ball to throw at enemies and a skateboard which can speed up the gameplay. There are three bonus stages at the end of each stage, first is throwing milkshakes at Biff’s gang of bullies at a café, blocking all kisses from Marty’s mom, Lorraine, otherwise it ends up being this weird story from Japan (another bad joke in the net) and playing guitar, making sure to stay in tune to the music in order for Marty’s parents to kiss. In the final stage, Marty rides the DeLorean to go back to 1984 thanks to the 1.21 gigawatts of power in the flux capacitor and the game ends.
So the gameplay, it’s OK, it can be a bit difficult to control but it’s not too much of a problem as you might think, no, it’s all about dodging the enemies, which can be difficult because there are so many obstacles in the way but that’s not the worst part, when it comes to the enemies, the worse ones are the bees and the flies, in tight situations, they’ll come out and hover around you since they’re the hardest obstacles for me; and since you’re trying to finish a level with a time limit, the bees and flies will make you stop dead on your track and waste a lot of time, by the time you nearly make it, you’ve already vanished and its teeth gratingly irritating. The bonus stages are OK, all except for the café stage since there’s no way to properly align Marty to hit the enemies.
The level design kind of sucks, since it doesn’t look like the 1950’s; and don’t say because it’s the NES and its limitations, it can be possible, if Downtown Nekketsu Story can make modern day Japan (for the time), I’m sure the developers can make the 1950’s settings on an NES. The music is atrocious, composed by Gavan Anderson, there are only two songs and they came from the film, The Power of Love, which I didn’t know it was The Power of Love, this is the only song that plays throughout the entire game, the only other song is Johnny B. Goode for the bonus and Enchantment Under the Sea dance level, both of these songs are butchered and overly repetitive; it gets so annoying you’ll mute the TV. The power up, as in the bowling ball is very useful if you want to get far, though it’s difficult to find one since they’re so small, but the skateboard is horrible, it’s a rush to get through the game as it is, but your speed is increased when riding the skateboard and it ends up being uncontrollable. You can jump but most of the time it doesn’t exactly help, when you skateboard in the levels you can’t jump, another example of the skateboard being uncontrollable.
Overall, I can just deem this as an NES hard game with some unfair gameplay to boot. The game isn’t too horrible but it’s pretty bad, not ungodly awful, it’s not the worst game ever made but it’s not too good either. But for a movie license, it’s still trash but at least has some moments that are at least faithful to the movie. So this is my first LJN game review, a lot more to go.
You can get it on the NES.
You know your game is hated when the screenwriter Bob Gale “one of the worst games ever”, though I’m not sure if he’s ever played any other game; who knows.