Those from Telltale Games have already made a name in adventure games, when they managed to revive two of the legends of this kind: Sam & Max and the Monkey Island. But the time came for the studio to depart from old licenses purchased or borrowed from Lucas Arts and demonstrate its talent. However, although the novelty is the watchword, Telltale just cannot stay away from famous franchises, like the famous movie series Back To The Future which began to be transformed into an episodic adventure game.
The first episode of this new compilation of Back To The Future is called About Time, and it was released just before the winter holidays of 2010. The story follows the adventures of the main character, Marty McFly, who returns while trying to save his good friend Doc Brown, the other protagonist of the famous series. This, as every scientist a bit crazy, succeeded again in coming in all sorts of trouble, and yet he managed in taking some precautions this time.
The story of this first episode succeeds in some measure, to capture some of the action of the movie from the ’80s, but not on the whole. Telltale Games have made a habit of giveing games a primitive 3D look, by creating somehow funny, cartoons specifically designed for children. Although a little more mature, graphic style is also present in the series of games Back To The Future, the impression left is not very good. I simply cannot imagine a Marty McFly resembling a doll made of glue, or a dog to be confused with an Einstein figurine created from gingerbread. These are subjective but they are only things that take your taste; others are probably excited about the artistic style used in these games.
Second, although the first episode storyline Back To The Future succeeds on how to approach the charm of films homonyms scenarios, during the game, these is simply too short. I know that we are dealing only with the first part of a series that will run not less than five episodes, but, even so, two hours of actual game play is far too little. The shortened the game play is directly reflected in the very low difficulty of the puzzles included in the game, which are direct, without the need for who knows what intellectual effort. Even in the event that someone would be able to block, there is a hint system implemented directly by Telltale Games that can provide “hints” to any solution.
Control remained identical to that used by producers in the third season of Sam & Max series or chapters Tales of Monkey Island. The main character is moved by WASD keys trough the decor, interaction with active objects is accomplished via mouse clicks. Why not use a solution based entirely on mouse control (classic point and click interface) remains a mystery, people from Telltale likely want to have a similar control scheme in all versions of the game, including the console. However, last year, Lucas Arts Monkey Island 2 demonstrated how you can have a Special Edition adventure game with a user interface on both console and PC.
A good thing is the use, of actor voices wherever possible, since they give life to the main characters in the original film trilogy. Thus, while Christopher Lloyd returns to the role of Doc Brown Spreaders, health problems have prevented Michael J. Fox to play Marty McFly again. Fortunately, Telltale Games have managed to find an actor that can imitate him very well on Fox (AJ Locascio), Marty’s voice is a flawless interpretation. Unfortunately, a method of audio compression is used too aggressively, which greatly decreases the playback quality of the dialogue.
Thus, while the game succeeds in some measure to revive the legendary Back To The Future, the game time is very low (even some games in Flash can provide several hours of game play); the banality and clumsiness of the puzzles present in these levels, the graphics and poor game control prevent us to recommend this title. Maybe things will recover in the second episode of the series.