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Back To The Future Wii review

Just like a DeLorean, the game underperforms, but it's cheap

For people of a certain age, Back To The Future is one of those things you just shouldn't mess around with unless you're absolutely certain you can do it justice.

With childhood memories being tainted on a yearly basis - Darth Vader shouting "Noooo", Freddy Krueger being played by a different actor, rumours that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are going to become aliens instead of, well, mutants - Back To The Future has been one of those 1980s commodities that hasn't yet been tampered with.

Back To The Future Wii may have threatened to do exactly that, but, thankfully, it plays out in its own self-contained storyline, rather than retelling the original films.

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Set six months after the third and final film in the trilogy, Back To The Future: The Game is a five-part episodic series that was originally released on PC and iOS and now finds itself on Wii. It follows Marty, Doc, Einstein, Biff, Jennifer and a bunch of other recognisable faces as they travel to decades not featured in the films, allowing players to see these much-loved characters in new surroundings.

Most notably, much of the game is spent in Hill Valley circa 1931, where Marty gets to meet a teenage version of Doc Brown, an encounter that inevitably ends in various scrapes that threaten to change the course of history.

Enchantment Under The Wii

What's impressive about each episode is its attention to detail and the respect shown for the original text. The film's packed with little references to the three films that will pass harmlessly over the heads of most, but will have die-hard fans of the films giggling away.

The voice acting is also admirable, with the likes of Christopher Lloyd (Doc) and Claudia Wells (Jennifer) returning to voice their own characters. While Michael J Fox doesn't voice Marty (though he does return to play some special roles in the final chapter), his soundalike is scarily accurate. Unfortunately, Back To The Future: The Game isn't without its problems.

Anyone who's played the Tales From Monkey Island or Sam & Max games on Wii will know that Telltale tends to struggle when porting its games over to Nintendo's console and Back To The Future is no different. The visuals are muddy, backgrounds are lacking in detail, the framerate is a mess during cutscenes and many of the in-jokes dotted around the game on signs, in books and the like have become illegible - the textures are just too blurry.

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Johnny B Bad

Controlling Marty using the default control scheme, in which you hold the A button and drag the pointer across the screen to make him walk, can also be annoying. This would be fine if the camera angle didn't change frequently, making for a lot of moments where you accidentally walk into bits of scenery. Playing with a Nunchuk to move Marty is a little better, but whichever method you use, you then have to select objects using an irritatingly large cursor in the rather unsuitable shape of a flux capacitor.

This is an odd, awkward pointer with which to choose things, particularly since it doesn't actually have any points, making for a strangely unsatisfactory experience every time you select something. These niggles are a shame, because otherwise Back To The Future: The Game is a fun collection of adventures that, for only £14.99, is a complete bargain. Each of the five adventures will keep you busy for a few hours and fans of the films will love playing through brand-new adventures with Marty and Doc for the first time in more than 20 years. Ultimately, if you have an iPad, PS3 or decent PC we'd say get it on that instead, because although each version has an identical story and gameplay, the Wii version is the only one that never quite hits 88mph in terms of visual spectacle.


6 comments so far...
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  1. legend1992 Thursday 3rd May 2012 at 17:45

    78% for the Wii version is much better than I had expected considering the down-grading that had to be done. I've already got the PC version, but I've been thinking of getting it on Wii as well for a while now. My parents loved the films, so I think it'll be nice to have a physical copy of the game that I can share with them instead of keeping it to myself on PC :)

  2. Parane Thursday 3rd May 2012 at 21:23

    I loved the films when I was a kid, still do actually, and these episodic games are the best ones. The first episode is a little bit too easy and quite basic but it picks up in the later episodes so I'd say 78% is quite fair.

  3. ledreppe Friday 4th May 2012 at 00:18

    Getting this tomorrow, I don't care what some poxy reviewer thinks of it 'cause it's gonna be brilliant. The Wii has had a few point 'n' click adventure games boxed and WiiWare, so this will be a good way to end them on the Wii. Here's hoping there's more on the WiiU with Double Fine Adventure (as was mentioned in last months ONM).

  4. imbusydoctorwho Friday 4th May 2012 at 07:33

    Great Scott!!,I was expecting a mid 60 score.
    I'm glad it scored so high,and with the budget price,it just makes it all the sweeter.

  5. Kev_h80 Sunday 13th May 2012 at 10:45

    When is this out? I tried to find it in my Wiiware but can't see it. Do I need to do an update?

  6. imbusydoctorwho Sunday 13th May 2012 at 21:46

    When is this out? I tried to find it in my Wiiware but can't see it. Do I need to do an update?

    It's out now,and no this isn't on the Wii Shop.
    It's a retail game.
    You can get it from HMV and Asda.

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