Players: 1 Player Game | Release Date: 12/22/10 | Genre: Adventure
One of my favorite movies growing up was Back to the Future. My parents told me that both my sister and myself were in a hotel room, on a family trip--many, many years ago--when we were little--and we watched it on PPV for the first time. The memory of where I saw the movie did not stay with me--only the story of a time traveling car. Years later, when a movie poster showcased "Back to the Future II" is coming soon, I do recall jumping for joy that the adventures of Doc and Marty would continue. Skip forward to E3 2010 and I almost had to be restrained due to the joy in hearing about the new Back to the Future epipisodic adventure from TellTale. After playing through Back to the Future: The Game - Episode 1, I can say that this is the most fun I have had with an adventure game in years.
Our story begins after the third movie and Doc Brown has gone missing. Due to the amount of debt he had accumulated working on his scientific experiments, Marty's dad leads a team, from the City, to have an Estate sale. marry locates a journal from Doc Brown and then the DeLorean "mysteriously" appears with an urgent message that Marty must come back in time and save Doc. As any good time traveler would, Marty is very eager to go save Doc and restore things to their rightful place.
One thing players may notice is that the difficulty level of puzzles is fairly simple. TellTale has included a hint system with multiple layers of hints to help the player of any skill-level get through the game with relative ease. Veterans of the genre will find, however, that they won't need the hint system. While I do like a challenging puzzle, I feel that Back to the Future: The Game - Episode 1 was created to ensure fans of the movie franchise would get enjoyment out of the game. This is the first Adventure Game that I have played where the quality and fun of the story, and the film it is based on, is more important than the puzzles.
In Marty's quest to free Doc Brown, he ends up back in Hill Valley during the prohibition era. In order to save 1980's Doc, he has to convince Doc's younger self to give up pursuing a career in Law to embrace his passion for Science. This gives us new insight into Doc's past and how his younger self battled his dad over becoming a scientist.
The voice work, for the most part, is extremely excellent. First off, I must mention the incredible job Christopher Lloyd did reprising his role as Doc Brown. Almost as good is the actor used to portray Marty. He sounds as close to Michael J Fox as humanly possible. The other voiceovers are nice with the exception of Biff who doesn't really sound like the real actor to me. But seeing the "virtual Biff" get dirty in manure is always great for a laugh.
Visually, TellTale has done a nice job upgrading their engine to give the game's visuals an extra layer of crispness. The world of Hill Valley takes everything you remember about it, in the movies, and transforms it into a cartoonish world full of colorful environments and fluid animations. As in Monkey Island, the latest TellTale release, players control Marty with the WASD keys and the mouse to interact with objects. An alternate control option allows for you to use the mouse only to move around. But I found this option to be far less friendly.
TellTale has done a marvelous job in creating the world of Back to the Future. The biggest disappointment of the first Episode is the length. Players should be able to finish it in just a couple of hours even without the hints. Once you do finish the first installment, you find out we won't get Episode 2 until February! YIKES! Can someone get me a DeLorean over here so I can go Back to the Future and play all of the finished episodes?