Taking place six months after the conclusion of Back to the Future III, Back to the Future: The Game – Episode 1, “It’s About Time”–from here on out known as BttF EP1–does a wonderful job of keeping the story strong and inventive, as well as recreating that special wonder that made the trilogy such a blast. Heck, they even managed to snag Christopher Lloyd to provide the voice-over work for Doc Brown; alas, we get a new kid trying to do “the Marty,” and it’s mostly fine. Throw in contributions from Bob Gale, co-creator, co-writer, and co-producer of the original film trilogy, and you’ve got gold nurturing gold.
Telltale Games is known for their episodic adventures with the Sam & Max series, and the same formula is applied here, with five episodes representing a full season. The first episode was released for free to everybody with an Internet connection back in early April, and I greedily downloaded the game as quickly as possible. Still, it took me several weeks to actually install the thing and play it, but once I did, I played it all the way through, giddy to be back in this universe.
It’s May 1986, and Doc Brown is nowhere to be found. The bank plans to sell off all of Brown’s items at an estate sale, which Marty is very upset over; however, without warning, the DeLorean reappears at Doc’s house with Einstein in it, as well as mysteriously single shoe. This shoe will be the clue to unraveling what happened to Doc and where–or should I say when?–he is. I won’t say much more as it quickly leads into a spoiler zone shortly after that.
As a point-and-click adventure, BttF EP1‘s puzzles were disappointingly easy, but that did not detract from how great the story was, as well as the character interaction and dialogue. I laughed out loud several times, and, despite having no mirror in front of me to confirm this, suspect I was smiling for the majority of my playthrough. Plus, I was playing a new game on my Mac–that never happens. It ends on a cliffhanger, and I’m definitely curious about the other episodes, just not in a rush to buy ’em. However, I do now have a hankering to watch the films again; yes, yes, even the third one.