Bad Memories: Back To The Future On NES

Posted on December 12, 2010

Back to the Future is a franchise that created happy memories for movie-goers, and abject terror for gamers. As awesome as it was to watch Marty McFly skateboard around Hill Valley on the silver screen, taking control of the hero in Back to the Future on NES was a nightmare. If you’ve never played it (or, like me, spent years trying to forget that you did), here’s a not-so-fond look back at one of the most pathetic things to ever be called a video game.

When I was a kid, I basically only bought two kinds of Nintendo games: those with “Mega Man” in the title, and those that I randomly decided I needed to own. This approach led me astray on many, many occasions…but the worst instance was when I bought Back to the Future. I loved the movie; the DeLorean was awesome, Biff was hilarious, and Marty’s mom was hot. All of these things had given Back to the Future so much credit in my mind that I couldn’t imagine that any game based on it could be bad.

I was so wrong.

What makes the game so awful? Here, let me explain:

1. The Music

(Please visit the site to view this media)

Just click play, and then listen to it for the rest of the time that you’re reading this. Now imagine listening that non-stop for, like, four hours. That’s what I did when I was a kid, and it probably played no small role in transforming me into the warped individual I am today.

2. The Concept

You are Marty McFly, who wears his iconic black tank-top (?) as he roams the streets and collects clocks. Pretty much any awesome thing you would expect to be in the game isn’t there. You just do a lot of walking. Don’t forget that the same music is looping behind all of this.

3. The Levels

With the exception of a handful of special sequences (which also suck. See #4), every level in Back to the Future is basically the same. The screen auto-scrolls, and you need to avoid a wide array of ridiculous hazards. Hitting just about anything makes you lose a life. Hit a fence? Die. Bench? Die. You could try to jump over them, but the jump function seems to be largely cosmetic, because it’s rarely enough to avoid your fate. Also, sometimes you find a skateboard, which moves way too fast to control and is basically guaranteed death.

4. The Other Levels

After beating a handful of the normal levels, you’re treated to special interludes that have different gameplay. These include throwing root beer at bullies, playing the guitar, and trying to avoid incest. While all of these things sound cool in concept, I assure you that they play like garbage.

5. The Enemies

Who is Marty’s main nemesis? Biff, obviously. Well, not this time. Your main foes are really killer bees, girls dancing on the street, and dudes carrying panes of glass. A few bullies are thrown in for good measure, but I’m still trying to figure out where all those killer bees came from.

6. The DeLorean

The last level has you (finally!) driving the DeLorean. Awesome, right? Nope. You’re rocketing down the street, trying to hit 88 miles per hour while dodging lightning bolts. That’s right – you’re dodging lightning bolts, despite the fact that getting hit by lightning is kind of what Marty and Doc want to happen here. Also, if you reach the end of the level and aren’t at 88 mph, you just lose. No matter how many lives you have left, it’s game over.

7. The Ending

You want to know what you get for suffering through all of this? Check out the screen up there. That’s it. After you read it, to goes back to the start screen…and the music just keeps on looping. Satisfied?

8. The Commercial

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This is where I get really bitter, because the commercial does a terrible job of accurately representing how unbearable the game is. Not only did this commercial inform me of the game’s existence, it sold me on it. I saw this and wanted to play the game. Maybe that’s effective advertising, but it still leaves me feeling sour.

Hopefully, Telltale’s recently released adventure game can repair the series’ video game reputation, but it will take a lot to heal the stinging wounds left by Back to the Future on NES.

Go to Source (Game Informer)

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Categories: Game News, Game Secrets

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