Title: Back to the Future 2 & 3
System: NES





To say that the first Back to the Future game for the original NES had much of anything to do with the movie on which it’s based in its top-view walking, throw-bowling-balls-at-people action would be a little accurate at least. But this game that “follows” the movie’s sequels makes absolutely no sense. I was only able to play this game for about 20 minutes before I really just had to shut it off.

Part of the problem is the complete and utter lack of directions. If you don’t have the booklet, you’re lost. You see some quick flash screens and then Marty is deposited from the DeLorean in the middle of what I guess is supposed to be the alternate timeline 1985 from Back to the Future 2. Only I don’t remember giant snails and spiked turtles and other miscellaneous beasties appearing in the movie that you had to jump on. If you manage somehow to get to the portion that’s supposed to follow Back to the Future 3 (there’s a cheat code to jump there, which is a nice touch) you’re not much better off. You have to dodge Indians, cowboys and bears, which at least makes a minor correlation to the film, but not so much the flying blue bird that poops on you and you die.

In reading walkthroughs for the game I was amazed at this potentially elaborate system of having to collect items and jump through time, back and forth between ’85, ’55 and 2015 during the second game by collecting Flux Capacitor symbols. You can apparently find a remote and call the DeLorean and even do things like plant an acorn in 1955 to make a tree grow in the future to reach inaccessible areas, but I’ll be damned if I ever made it that far. You’re left instead with a fairly standard platformer with irrelevant baddies and absolutely no discernable direction on what you’re supposed to do that will likely just frustrate you within a span of single-digit minutes.

It sounded like it had so much potential to really be a cool game after reading the walkthroughs. The potential to solve puzzles by going back and forth through time is the only reason I didn’t give this game a lower rating. But given the system’s limited technology and the industry of the time period’s proclivity to rush through games with 2-person development teams (not to mention the near-constant staple of games based on movies being less-than-good even to this day) you’re left with nothing more than confusion. If you make it more than an hour through the game, I commend you.

Originally I had a more elaborate comic planned but the punchline just never fit and it seemed forced. So a buddy suggested something like this and I ran with it. It essentially references the fact that once I learned you could jump back and forth through time it gave the game an interesting aspect I hadn’t known about. But instead I couldn’t even find the remote that would call the De Lorean and let you do these things anyway.

Therapy. No, seriously. If you enjoyed this game you either have way more time on your hands than is healthy to admit, you are some kind of sadistic masochist or you are deranged in the head.