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Back To The Future

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Released: 1989

Genre: Adventure

Format reviewed: NES/Famicom

Publisher: LJN

Developer: LJN

This game sucks, I hate it. Of all the NES cartridges that I’ve owned, this crummy, miserable, little waste of a perfectly brilliant licence is pure hatred wrapped in a grey plastic jacket.

I can remember vividly the utter disbelief I felt after finally laying my hands on this game, only to be rewarded for my troubles by having all my senses felt up inappropriately. Here is a game that took artistic licence to all-new levels of shamefulness, and begs that common LJN question that I continually find myself asking: did anybody at the company actually take the time to watch any of the movies?

Back To The Future is a walk-’em-up, essentially a dire version of Paperboy, but without the bike… or Skate Or Die with more emphasis on the dying. In the movie, Marty McFly gets stuck in 1955 and has to stop his mother from trying to sleep with him. In the game, it’s about a guy in a black Active T-shirt repeatedly walking down a street.

In the film, Marty gets to drive a Delorean and cover greasers in horse waste. In the game, he has to avoid the deathly touch of Hula-Hoop girls, removal men with OCD, and gigantic killer wasps, while all the time collecting alarm clocks off the floor.

Park benches, kerbs and oil spills resembling Pac-Man; basically everything in this ridiculous version of Hill Valley seems determined to kill Marty and ruin his life.

If you can get him past the first few levels of street obstacles, the game then changes to a more familiar film setting: Lou’s Café. It’s here Marty has to stand behind a counter and lob crushed cans at approaching bullies. If you fail to clear this agonisingly twitchy level, you get sent back one whole stage, which is the most infuriating thing you can imagine – you lose a life and then you potentially have to lose another to get back to where you were in the first place. This game really should have been renamed from Back To The Future to ‘Back To The Previous Annoying Level’.

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