Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Great Scott, Marty! This Sucks!

I guess it's required by internet law to talk about Back to the Future today, so here I am. Actually, I really do like the first and third films in the trilogy, but everybody's talking about the thinly veiled Pepsi commercial that was sandwiched between them, so I'll offer my thoughts on the fittingly mediocre video game it inspired.

Still more subtle than the Pepsi
schilling in the film.
Nope, not Back to the Future II & III, the NES disaster that was so cynically designed, the publisher tacked on another dozen (boring, boooooring) stages based on the third film at the last minute. I'm talking specifically about Super Back to the Future II, released for the Japanese Super NES by Toshiba Emi. You might be tempted to think that this game, with its bright colors and immediately recognizable caricature of Michael J. Fox, would finally break the streak of terrible games based on the movies. Resist that temptation.

What we've got here is a side-scrolling platformer whose merits begin and end with the faithfully reproduced film soundtrack. Everything else seems to be an afterthought. It's kind of like Sonic the Hedgehog, except instead of a spiny rodent, you've got Marty on a hoverboard in desperate need of a tune-up. Rather than gradually building velocity like Sonic, Marty moves in exactly two speeds, agonizingly slow and too damn fast. This means you'll be spending a lot of time overshooting platforms and desperately trying to nudge Marty over to robots to knock them out with an unreliable spin attack.

Oh, the variety!
Even if the control were tweaked, it probably wouldn't make up for the piss-poor level design and boss fights. An early area has Marty climbing to the top of a seemingly never-ending skyscraper, with a copy-and-paste cop waiting on every other floor. You can finish off Biff by nesting inside him and hammering the jump button for twenty seconds. 

Granted, I didn't spend too much time with Super Back to the Future II, but I'm not exactly eager to return for a second helping of its crap control and lackluster stages. Back to the drawing board is more like it.

1 comment:

  1. What a bummer! This game certainly *looks* nice. Sad to hear it isn't such a joy to play. Oh, well :(