Reviewed: March 3, 2011
Released: February 17, 2011
Itís hard to deny that Back to the Future games have had a sordid history. When the best game based on the series up until now was a Grand Theft Auto: Vice City mod, it doesnít speak very well of the efforts that came before it. Still, with Telltaleís new effort, the series finds what might be its first good commercial adaptation. With excellent use of the moviesí running jokes, themes, and soundscape, and Telltaleís clever writing and puzzle-crafting, Back to the Future Episode 2: Get Tannen manages to continue the success that the first episode began|
Taking place immediate after the first episode left off, with Doc Brown rescued and Marty beginning to fade out of time, Get Tannen brings the series directly into the realm of changing the timeline and the consequences it causes. When saving his grandfatherís life in the past leads to a criminal gang of Tannens riding roughshod over 1980s Hill Valley, Marty has to go back to the past in order to set things right and maintain the proper number of Biffs.
The gameís dialogue is pitch-perfect, with Christopher Lloyd reprising his role as Doc Brown, and AJ LoCascio stepping into Martyís role with an uncanny interpretation of the character that I could barely distinguish from Michael J. Fox. Telltaleís writing is spot on, hitting many of the movie seriesí running jokes, while being more than clever in its own right. While there arenít quite as many memorable lines as there were in the first episode, a young Doc Brown insisting that he needs to get a quarter-scale car up to 22 miles an hour for an experiment was certainly chuckle-worthy.
The gameís graphics are charming, with a cartoonish bent that pervades the game. The character designs fit their roles in the game, and while the differences in the level of caricature can be momentarily alarming, as the comparison between Marty and Doc Brownís proportions took me aback when I first noticed them, the interpretation works better, and the characters have more life and expression to them than a more realistic approach would have. Meanwhile, the music draws its cues from the films, with numerous familiar themes coming back around, and fans of the moviesí scores will find a lot to recognize and enjoy.
The gameplay itself is a relatively simple adventure game. The puzzles are all either dialogue-based or involve using items straight from the inventory with little combination or other elaborate inventory tricks to be found. A robust help system will ease players who canít boggle through the solutions through the game, though the puzzles are straightforward enough that veteran players might not find much to challenge them. The puzzles are a bit easier than the first episodeís, and I didnít find myself having to resort to the hint system nearly as often as I initially did. Topping it off, the teaser at the end of the episode for episode 3, Citizen Brown, has me on the edge of my seat waiting for the next segment to drop.
For fans of the films, you can hardly go wrong with the Back to the Future adventure games. If youíve already bought the first, then you know the kind of quality youíre in for. If youíre hesitant and looking to see if itís maintained throughout the series, then youíre in luck, because the Back to the Future games are still right up there with the gold standard that Telltaleís set for licensed adventure games.