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Back to the Future The Game: Episode 1: It's About Time

Score: 88%
ESRB: Not Rated
Publisher: Telltale Games
Developer: Telltale Games
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Adventure

Graphics & Sound:

Back to the Future The Game: Episode 1: It's About Time kicks off a new episodic adventure series for Telltale Games as well as a new series of adventures for Marty McFly and Doc Brown.

The game breaks away from Telltale's typical attempt at keeping close to the original content, but seeing as this is the first time the company has tackled a live-action license, that can be expected. Instead, the style of both the characters takes on a more exaggerated and cartoon feel, but each of the characters still match up to their silver-screen counterparts really well.

For the most part, the game's audio is also dead on. Dialogue is great and feels appropriate for the various characters, and Christopher Lloyd reprises his role of Emmett Brown. Unfortunately, Michael J. Fox only lends his likeness to the game, but the replacement actor, AJ LoCascio, does a spectacular job sounding like the young McFly.

The background music also hits the nail on the head as the original Back to the Future theme is used prominently throughout the game, usually during the more dramatic sequences, and elements of the song can be heard during the more humdrum parts of the gameplay experience.

The only issues I found with It's About Time's audio is the occasional lack of dialogue when its obvious the character was saying something. It didn't happen often, but every now and then, it was like the trigger to start the audio just wasn't hit. While nothing important was ever said during these times, it was still noticeable.


Back to the Future The Game: Episode 1: It's About Time takes place about six months after Back to the Future III and in that time, the bank has decided to sell off Doc Brown's belongings. While trying to stop the sale, the DeLorean appears with Einstein in the passenger seat and a tape recording to Marty from Doc explaining that he needs help. The problem is, Marty doesn't know when the message is from.

After a few puzzles that involve Edna Strickland, Vice-Principal Strickland's sister, Marty is off to 1931 where the Doc is in jail for blowing up an illegal speakeasy run by Kid Tannen, a mobster and Biff's dad. What's worse is that, according to the newspaper Marty found, the Doc will be killed on the courtroom steps the next day.

Marty's newest adventure will not only have him running into Tannen, but also his grandfather, Arthur McFly and even a 17 year-old Emmett Brown who works for his father the judge, but secretly wants to be an inventor. As always, Marty must be extra careful in the past because any change to these events could have dire consequences to the future. The question is, can he convince young Emmett to finish his first invention without telling him who Marty is or why he needs it? Can he get Kid to leave his grandfather alone without causing too many ripples in the time stream?


While I really enjoyed Back to the Future The Game: Episode 1: It's About Time's story, I found the game to be rather short and not overly challenging. While there are quite a few locations for an episodic game, most of your time is spent in or near the town square in 1931 (in front of the clock tower). While a nice setting, spending so much time in that one area made the game feel a bit stagnant after a while. That, coupled with the pretty obvious puzzles, led to a game that, while enjoyable, doesn't take too long to beat or contain anything that can really be seen as challenging.

If you do happen to find yourself stuck, there is a built-in hint system that will give you some clues regarding your current goals. I did go to them once or twice in order to check out the feature, but I found it a little odd that one time it was giving me hints to a task that I had already completed, which would of course, not be very helpful at all.

Game Mechanics:

As I said above, Back to the Future The Game: Episode 1: It's About Time isn't too challenging, especially when you look at aspects like the inability to combine inventory items, and heck, the fact that there are maybe a dozen items in all that you will be putting in your inventory. In fact, a good number of the puzzles the game presents are dialogue-based. Again, this lends the game to being somewhat easier than it could be, mainly because the solution to pretty much any dialogue-based problem is to simply go through all the options and exhaust every possible branch.

My only real reservations about It's About Time lie with the difficulty. What I hope is that, while this game felt simpler than most Telltale adventures, they are working to ramp up the challenges as the season progresses. As a foundation for future Back to the Future: The Game episodes, it works well to get you back into the feel and rules of the movies. If you have even the slightest interest in the movies or this new series, then you will need to play through this installment in order to be prepped for the next episode, Get Tannen!.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

Minimum System Requirements:

XP / Vista / Windows 7, 1.8 GHz Pentium 4 or equivalent, 2 GB RAM, ATI or NVidia card w/ 256 MB RAM Video Card, Direct X 9.0c, Audio card required

Test System:

Windows 7 Ultimate, Intel i7 X980 3.33GHz, 12 GB RAM, Radeon HD 5870 Graphics Card, DirectX 9.0c

Related Links:

Microsoft Xbox 360 Quake Arena Arcade Sony PlayStation 3 echochrome ii

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