Back To The Future 2 logo

"Zurück in die Zukunft" machte Michael J. Fox zum Superstar und Millionen von Kids zu begeisterten Zeitreise-Fans. Zwar konnte die Fortsetzung nicht ganz an diesen Erfolg anknüpfen, aber es gibt ja noch Video - und Computergames! Kein Wunder also, daß Image Works ihre offizielle Umsetzung des Films pünktlich zur Videopremier parat haben.

Hollywood's Starregisseur Stephen Spielberg, seines Zeichens auch Produzent der beiden Filme, ließ sich das fertige Game höchstpersönlich zur Begutachtung vorlegen, ehe er grünes Licht für die Veröffentlichung gab. Mit dem Segen des großen Meisters ausgestattet, ist jetzt eines der ersten Testmuster auf unserem Redaktionstisch gelandet - mal sehen, ob wir die Begeisterung des Movie-Tycoons teilen können...

Das Game besteht aus fünf Abschnitten, die allesamt an Szenen aus dem Film angelehnt sind. Mission Nr. 1 spielt im Jahre 2015, wo Protagonist Marty auf einem Hoverboard (ein schwebendes Skateboard ohne Räder) vor Griffs Bande flüchten muß. Bei der wilden Hatz durch Hill Valley kommt ganz schön Streß auf: Ein Opa schlägt mit dem Krückstock wild um sich, stämmige Mädchen teilen Boxhiebe aus, und kleine Jungs lassen ferngesteuerte Autos auf unseren Helden los. Außerdem brausen jede Menge Lastwagen und Jeeps über den Straßen: so ganz nebenbei darf man auch noch Coladosen, Buchstaben und Energiekapseln aufsammeln.

Von allen Spielabschnitten ist der erste zweifelsohne der gelungenste: Das Scrolling ist flüssig, die Auto-Sprites riesig (die ruckeln dafür aber auch), und die Gebäude sind denen im Film täuschend ähnlich - Kompliment an die Grafiker! Gelangt man unbeschadet ans Ende der Straße, kommt man in den zweiten Level. Gerade im Vergleich zum ersten wirkt der dann ziemlich kläglich: Man sieht Jennifer's Haus in der Draufsicht: mit einem Zeiger muß der Spieler zur richtigen Zeit Türen öffnen und schließen, so daß Jennifer aus dem Haus flüchten kann, ohne bösartigen Drohnen zu begegnen. Mission Nr. 3 spielt wieder auf der Straße, diesmal im Jahr 1985. Hat man dort alle Kämpfe erfolgreich absolviert, darf (in Level 4) gepuzzelt werden. Auf dem Screen erscheint eine Grafik, die Marty 1955 auf einer Showbühne zeigt, wie er gerade "Johnny B. Good" zum besten gibt. Das Bild besteht aus lauter gleichgroßen Rechtecken, die plötzlich verschoben werden und wider richtig zusammengefügt werden müssen.

Der fünfte und letzte Level führt uns schließlich nochmal ins Freie, wo Marty mit seinem Hoverboard wieder Hindernissen ausweichen und Bonus-Items einsammeln darf.

Back to the Future II ist zwar nicht ganz so mißlungen wie viele andere Filmversoftungen (man denke nur an Jackos üblen "Moonwalker"), aber umgehauen hat uns das Game nicht. Grafik und Sound sind ganz ordentlich, in den Hoverbordleveln kommt sogar etwas wie Spielspaß auf. Doch der wird durch so triste Missionen wie der in Jennifer's Haus sofort wieder zunichte gemacht. Einzig die streckenweise gelungene technische Umsetzung rettet das Spiel vor dem Absinken in die Finsternis totaler Mittelmäßigkeit. (C. Borgmeier)

Back To The Future 2 logo


Though not as acclaimed as its predecessor, Back To The Future II still managed to make a few million dollars for messrs Spielberg and Zemekis. The plot carries on from where the first left off, with Dr. Emmet Brown, marty and his girlfriend, Jenny, whizzing off at 88 mph in a Dolerean-cum-timemachine, on a jaunt to the future to prevent Marty's kids from growing up as jerks. When they get there Griff, the great grandson of Biff from the first film, uses the time car to transport a sporting almanac back to Biff in the 1950s who uses it to become a millionaire, thus altering the future. As a result, Marty has to travel back in time, save his other self from Biff's gang and then steal back the almanac. Yes, it does take a degree in quantum physics and relativity to understand.

There is so many crossover plots in the film it seems almost impossible for a game to do it justice. Image Works have approached the game by taking the five main scenes from the film and making them into individual game sections. The first of these is the hoverboards. This is portrayed in the same way as standard skateboard games. The first bit scrolls left to right with Marty punching out members of Griff's gang and picking up strength from Pepsi bottles and the like. Getting used to the controls and learning to avoid cars is the key to completing this level. My only complaint is that it drags on a bit.

While all this is going on Jennifer gets herself arrested and taken off to her future home. The snag here is that if she meets her future self she is liable to have a breakdown. You have got to help her escape without meeting herself or her future family. This scene was obviously inspired by Cinemaware's hospital sequence from It Came From The Desert game, though it is played as a logic puzzle rather than pure arcade. By moving the joystick in one of eight directions two doors open and any character standing in a room when the exit opens will walk through it. You have to move Jennifer's family out of her way as you try to get through the front door. It requires some thought, but it only took me a minute or so to complete this section which tends to make it seem a bit pointless.

Level three is a beat em up. Marty has returned to an alternative 1985 where Biff is king pin thanks to the sports almanac he received thirty years earlier. In order to return to 1955 Marty has to dind the Delorean, which is being guarded by Biff's henchmen. This has to be the most uninspired section in the game. Not only does it use a six year old idea, but it is poorly executed.

The next level is quite bizarre. Marty has now made it back to '55 and he is at the Enchantment Under The Sea high school dance from Back To The Future, at the point where he is playing the guitar live on stage. It is at this point that he realises his other self is playing the guitar and is about to be jumped by Biff's gang, so he has got to stop them. The game takes the form of an animated sliding block puzzle; quite what that has got to do with this section of the film I do not know.

In the fifth and final game, Marty is back on the hoverboard in a repat of level 1, only this time it is sixty years in the past. The only real differences are the backdrops and a new set of attacking characters. It is a bit of a cheap gimmick to rehash an earlier game section so blatantly. I was very disappointed to get this far and discover I really had gone back to the future.

The two outstanding features of this game are the intro sequence featuring the Delorean car shooting off into the space time continuum and a neat rendition of the theme (which owes a lot to the original composter). Though it is adequately presented, Back To The Future II does not gel together as a complete game. Obviously it was always going to be a difficult license to translate; I just wonder if anybody could have handled it in a more exciting manner.

Back To The Future 2 logo

Imageworks, C64 £10.99 cassette, £14.99 disk; Amiga £24.99

Suffering a bit of timewarp itself, Back To The Future II arrives just in time for the arrival of III. Thankfully the brain-spinning plot has undergone a bit of simplification in its binary conversion, so it all makes perfect sense now...

The Doc has seen the future, and it doesn't work. Not for Marty it doesn't, he's become unemployed and his son - Marty Jnr - has been arrested for petty crime. So when the Doc returns to 1985, both Marty and Jennifer (his wife to be) jump into the De Lorean to put things to rights.

The first level takes place in October 2015: Marty goes to the Cafes 80s to prevent Marty Jnr getting involved with the evil Griff and his street gang. The game begins with Marty zipping along on his hoverboard through the horizontally scrolling city with the gang in hot pursuit. Cars zip by which Marty can catch a quick lift on. Marty can also punch gang members, jump over manholes and gratings, as well as picking up bonus objects for acceleration and extra energy.

The next level (shown from overhead) is the scene where the police have taken Jennifer to her future home; if she meets herself a disastrous time paradox is caused. You can't control Jennifer; only open certain doors for her to move through. It's an arcade puzzle against the clock.

Level three takes place in alternate 1985, where multimillionaire Biff (Griff's grandfather) dominates the town. In a horizontally scrolling beat-'em-up, Marty has to get back to the De Lorean to fix things. Some of the baddies carry weapons, which you can take and use.

After all that physical exertion, level four presents another brain-strainer. This is where Marty sees himself playing in the band in 1955 in the first Back To The Future! The scene is presented on a number of tiles, which are promptly shuffled. You must move the tiles around to recreate the original image before time runs out...

The final level is much the same as the first, only it's set in 1955 so the background graphics are different and Marty has a skateboard instead of a hoverboard.

Stuart Wynne The film is a non-stop showcase of ILM's special effects genius, a rollercoaster trip which was always going to test programming skills. Imageworks have made a good stab at the plot and the game structure is imaginative, combining fast-moving skateboarding, a beat-'em-up and puzzle games. The skateboarding is a fairly routine Metrocross variant. Rescuing Jennifer is a tough logic puzzle which can be frustrating, while the beat-'em-up section is disappointingly limited - especially on the C64. The tile puzzle is better, if unoriginal, while the final skateboard scene adds little new to the original apart from different graphics.
Warren Lapworth 'Marty! You've gotta come back with me! It's the programmers of this movie licence!' Yeah, it's what Doc should say, because travelling back in time to make Imageworks redesign and reprogram this game seems like a very good idea to me. True, there are five sections but the first is enough to put you off. In theory it's an interesting cross between Metrocross and Paperboy, but in practice energy is lost quickly, cars appear out of nowhere and new lives begin at the start of the level. The C64 version isn't quite as bad but has naff expanded sprites, as opposed to the decidedly ST-ish Amiga version. Perseverance may save the day for some other levels using simple game designs to inject variety.