Producing from film licences is usually a pretty dodgy area. Quite often the film doesn't yield the kind of situation that would fit a video game, but software houses can hardly afford to ignore a big film release, since simply the name itself can shift a fair number of units.
One game that tried to capitalise on a film's success was Back to the Future. The original movie, despite being highly successful, didn't really lend itself to any computer game concept and the game that finally appeared was a rather feeble arcade adventure that caught little of the film's great atmosphere.
Years later saw the release of a Back to the Future II conversion, which managed to make more of the situations found in the film, but still missed the mark somehow.
Now we have the final film of the trilogy along with its computer game counterpart. So to what extent have the programmers managed to bring the film to home computers?
If you're unfamiliar with the films... er... well it's a bit difficult to explain, really! The story revolves around the characters of schoolboy Marty McFly and eccentric professor Doctor Emmet Brown, who has invented a time-
The third chapter of the story begins with the Doc disappearing from 1955 leaving Marty stranded. A minute later, a letter appears from the Doc, dated 1885. He has decided to stay back in the 1880s - an era that has intrigued him for years. The letter tells Marty where to find the De Lorean, so that he can get home before destroying it. However, as the car is being dug out, Marty finds a gravestone with the Doc's name on it, dated two days after the letter! Marty decides that he must go back in time to save him from his terrible fate.
Horses, trains and auto
The game itself is split into four different sections:
This has you playing as the Doc as he rides his horse along, dodging gunfire, picking up dropped luggage and jumping obstacles as he tries to reach Clara Clayton before she falls over the edge of the ravine.
THE SHOOTING GALLERY
During the town party to unveil the new clock. Marty is invited by Samuel Colt to try his luck on the shooting gallery. He must blast enough targets to prove himself a worthy gunslinger and win a new Colt 45.
Buford Tannen and his gang are rather fed up on this interfering kid storming in on their territory and so try to finish him off. Mary must use stacks of Frisbee Pie trays to take them out before his metal shield is destroyed.
To get the De Lorean to a high enough speed to get back to the future, it must be pushed along by a train. You must send Marty up to the locomotive to allow the time-
A stitch in time
After a disappointing couple of conversions for the intial games in the series, Imageworks have managed to put together some pretty enjoyable little pieces to produce a licence which not only captures the spirit of the film, but is a fun game to boot. The in-between sections which set the scene for the current game look a little dodgy, but this is due to some serious licensing problems, which prohibit the programmers from drawing pictures that look exactly like Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd. Still, you can easily tell who they are supposed to be and the actual in-game graphics are nicely done. The animation and use of colour go together to make a bright and cheery looking game.
Each of the sections stand up as a little game in its own right, except that they are cut to a short enough length to make sure that the player doesn't get too bored. The only criticism is the fact that the going is a little easy once you get to grips with the controls, which means that experienced players won't too much trouble in beating it. However, the various sections are fun, which means that even if you do finish, you can come back and play your favourite section on its own for a laugh!
This makes for a fun game which has enough variety to make it fun for a while and is worth dragging out for a quick bash even when completed.