Thursday, March 18, 2010

Canon Video Game Reviews: Back to the Future and Bill and Ted's Excellent Video Game Adventure (Part 1: Back to the Future)

This review is due to an idea by reader Sonny V. His idea was simple, play both Back to the Future and Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure for the Nintendo, and then compare the games to the film and see which one represents its movie more accurately, or something like that. Anyway, thanks to the wonder of emulation, I am able to play both of those games right here on my computer. So let's dive right in, shall we? In the first part of a two part series, we have Back to the Future.

Hey, the cover looks good at least. That's the only positive thing I'm going to say about Back to the Future, the game. Released in September 1989, four years after the movie and the same year Back to the Future 2 was released, Back to the Future was designed by a herd of buffalo with collaboration from two six-month old twins. Even if that were true, I'd still say they underachieved. Back to the Future features one song that is super annoying and repeats over and over and over again. I know you want to hear it, so hear it you shall.

Wasn't that wonderful? The gameplay of this game is simple enough, but not what I would call good. You control Marty McFly, adonred in a sleeveless black T-shirt, and you try to get out of the town of Hill Valley in enough time to beat the level. There are clocks everywhere for you to collect, which will give you about an extra tenth of a second back on the clock. Also, there's a picture of Marty and his siblings, and once it fades out or you run out of time, you lose a life. The screen is always moving forward, so you better be ready to move as soon as the time starts, plus, you can go backwards some, but not too far. To make things worse, apparently Marty has cheesed out the whole town, as anyone as everyone is out to get him. There's the pink-shirted bully who will come right after you, there's hula hoop girls who throw balls at you (Funny, I don't remember that being in the movie). There's multiple duos of movers moving a plane of glass from left to right. Also, there are a ton of giant bees whose sole purpose in life is to knock over Marty McFly. If any of these things hit Marty, he falls down. If Marty runs into a trash can, slips in an oil puddle, or even bumps against the wall, he falls down. If Marty trips over an open manhole, not only does he fall down, but he defies gravity by hovering over the manhole without falling into the sewers below.

There are a couple of pickups in the game available to help Marty. One is what others call a bowling ball, because that was such a big part of the movie, but I highly doubt that Marty McFly or many other humans can throw a bowling ball with the velocity and control of a Roger Clemens fastball. The other is a skateboard, which will help you go faster, but it is also hard to control. There are 15 levels like this, although I only got through the first two or three because I'm not very good at video games. There are also a few mini games, which relate to the movie a lot more than the regular game does. In the mini games, you get to throw pies at bullies, reject your mother's advances (just like in the movie, you're in 1955, so she has no idea that your her future son), rip off Chuck Berry in a guitar playing level (where you don't play guitar, you just move left and right to catch music notes), and finally you get to drive the Delorean with Doc Brown where you must get the car up to 88 miles an hour, just like the movie.

While some of the mini games are heavily inspired by the movie, it seems as if the rest of the game is not. Basically, it's just a lousy scrolling platform game with very few elements from the movie thrown in, like clocks and the fading picture. The rest of the aspects of the game have little or no relation to the movie at all. So, as far as relation to the actual film goes, I'll give it a 2.5 out of 10. As far as the game itself, well, you can play it if you want to, but there are at least 1,000 video and computer games better than this one. You could pick a random game from any system, and chances are it would be better than this one. I was shocked, SHOCKED,  that a video game company would con an unsuspecting public into buying a crappy game by slapping the name of a popular movie franchise on it. And here I was thinking that all video game publishers are good, honest people who care more about making a good game than making a easy buck (end sarcasm). Well, the only thing left to do for this game is score it, so I'll be generous and give it a 1.92013049528 out of 10. Stay tuned for part 2, where I review Bill and Ted's Excellent Video Game Adventure.

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