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Nintendo Wii Review: Back to the Future – The Game

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Back to the Future: The Game for Wii is a compilation of five game episodes previously available for download on PCs and PS3. The five episodes make up one complete story, so it is nice to have them all in one game. The game itself suffers a bit from the limitations of the Wii software. The graphics and dialog are clunky and transitions are incredibly slow. However, Back to the Future: The Game tells a very entertaining story that fits right in with the theatrical trilogy. The adventures of Marty McFly and Doc Brown are respectfully continued through this series of episodes.

The episodes can be played in any order, but it is best to start at the beginning and move through the story chronologically. The first episode, “It’s About Time,” begins in 1986 about a year after the events of the first movie. The opening scene recreates the scene in Back to the Future where Doc first shows Marty his DeLorean time machine. This time however the DeLorean carrying the dog Einstein does not return, and Doc starts to fade away. It turns out to all be a bad dream, but Marty soon finds his fears are true. It seems Doc has found himself stranded in 1931 and needs Marty’s help to get back to his wife and children.

The DeLorean has returned. This is much to Marty’s surprise considering he saw it smashed by a train in the third movie. The only passenger in the wayward DeLorean is Einstein. There is a video message from Doc indicating how the duplicate DeLorean was created and that he is in some kind of trouble. This sets Marty off on his adventure to save Doc. Back to the Future: The Game creatively references the movies while offering its own unique story line. Before heading back to 1931 Marty encounters a bitter old lady name Edna Strickland. While it’s not apparent from this initial meeting, Edna becomes an integral part of all five storylines. Edna is the sister of Marty’s vice-principal Mr. Strickland and the granddaughter of Marshal Strickland from the third movie.

Back in 1931 Marty encounters the teenage Doc Brown, a young Edna Strickland, his grandfather Arthur McFly, and Biff’s grandfather Kid Tannen. All five of the episodes swing back and forth between Hill Valley of 1931 and Hill Valley of 1986, with a brief trip to Hill Valley of 1876. Each time Marty attempts to right the wrongs of time travel another time line gets screwed up. In the second episode, “Get Tannen!,” Marty finds his own future compromised upon his return to 1986. He heads back to 1931, but it’s not simply retread of the first episode. New locations are visited and there are encounters with several new characters. However, it is episode three that really turns the story on its head.

“Citizen Brown” finds Marty in a quite altered 1986. Hill Valley has turned into a walled fortress controlled by Emmett Brown and his wife Edna. “Citizen Brown” has turned his scientific experiments into devices for controlling the people of Hill Valley. The Browns believe rules are the fabric of happiness and they have created totalitarian society in which people all wear the same clothes, don’t drink, don’t kiss in public, and don’t even own dogs. In this reality Marty is a nerdy overachiever, who goes Martin, is rejected by his girlfriend Jennifer for being too much of a conformist. Marty is faced with the seemingly impossible task of convincing “Citizen Brown” that he has become the wrong person. This episode was probably the most entertaining of the five, though they are all good. Here, Hill Valley is a crime free utopia, reminiscent of San Angeles in the film Demolition Man. People even get “demerits” for swearing, and other infractions, via little dispensers dispersed throughout the town.

The next episodes, “Double Visions” and “Outatime,” continue the “Citizen Brown” storyline through the game’s conclusion. Back to the Future: The Game does a great job of playing with the concept of time travel and fractured timelines. The game refers back to events from the three movies, which makes it fun to see how everything ties together. There are other pop-culture references thrown in, such as some funny dialog taken from Star Wars. The only real detriment to the game it is bogged down with performance issues.

The game is point and click based, rather than real immersive game play. Basically you use the motion controller to point at things on the screen that you want Marty to look at, pick up, or go to. The graphics are very basic and not well detailed. That’s not to say the game is not detailed in its storytelling, but what you see is only what you need to see. Marty can’t wander too much, in some cases he can’t step off the sidewalk. Basically the game is meant to get players through the story. There is only one outcome, and the game doesn’t let you make too many wrong choices.

The game moves rather slowly. It pauses for a long time during transitions, and the dialog is frequently out of sync. If you are looking for a game that is play intensive this one is not it. This game is more about watching the story unfold. It’s easy to play. I would say it was a good kids game, but there is some bad language a few times, which seems completely unnecessary for this particular game. However, if you are looking for a fun Back to the Future story that stays true to the mythology of the films, this is it. Christopher Lloyd even does the voice for Doc. Marty is voiced by AJ LoCascio, but he sounds so much like him that you’ll swear it’s Michael J. Fox. Fox himself shows up for a voice, but I won’t spoil who it is. Claudia Wells, the original Jennifer from the first movie, reprises her role as well.

Back to the Future: The Game is rated T (Teen) by the ESRB for Drug and Alcohol Reference, Language, Mild Blood, Mild Violence, Sexual Themes. This game can also be found on: PS3.

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About Sherry Lipp

Sherry Lipp is an entertainment and food writer who specializes in film and television reviews. She has published the gluten and grain-free cookbook Don't Skip Dessert.