Back to the Future: The Game

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WADE MANNS – The Corsair

By Telltale Games

Genre: Episodic graphical adventure

Players: 1

Rating: Teen for Alcoholic Reference, Language, Mild Violence

Telltale, known for their brilliant graphical adventures in various franchises such as Homestar Runner, the popular but very weird cartoon website; Sam and Max, the dog-and-bunny detective comic and TV series; and (best of all in my opinion, though my subject this time may be a close second) Monkey Island, the classic pirate-themed graphical adventure series, now turn their attention to the classic movie series, Back to the Future.

Purporting to be a sequel to the third movie, this five-part journey chronicles Marty McFly’s adventures in time six months after his friend, brilliant scientist Doctor Emmett Brown, disappeared to an unknown period. In the first part, it turns out that Doc’s caught up in some big trouble back in 1931, being falsely accused of burning down a mob-protected speakeasy and thereafter being gunned down for it. It’s up to Marty to make contact with Doc’s teenaged 1931 self and enlist his help without revealing himself or his mission, or a deadly temporal paradox may occur…

Or at least that’s what the game would have you believe. No such thing is in danger of happening; in the grand traditions of adventure games past and present, no death is possible, only a delay in  getting to your objective. But that shouldn’t stop the player from being thrilled at the climax, which I won’t spoil here, or from being kept on pins and needles waiting for the next episode, due in February.

Controls are pretty simple; just click on an item to examine it or take it if it’s not nailed down, or on a person to initiate dialog. There’s a quite generous four-tier hint system for many of the puzzles you may find along your journey, so you never have to feel stuck.

Several lines from the series are re-enacted here, performed with admirable talent by A.J. Locascio as Marty McFly. Returning to his timeless role as Doc Brown is Christopher Lloyd himself, bringing forward a particularly memorable line in a flashback to the first movie (you’ll know it when you hear it).

The entire series (consisting of five episodes on a rather slow release schedule) is $24.99 on the digital distribution platform Steam. There will most likely be a retail package containing the series, released after the final episode is. But don’t wait to buy; this is a great series, and though you’ll have to wait (as I am) for the next installment, you won’t regret your purchase. I give this five out of five stars!