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Reviews: Back to the Future Part II - review by Mean Machines magazine

Marty McFly’s back from the past to save the future! Freshly returned from re-arranging his own future by altering his parents' destiny in 1955, Marty hopes to carry on his life as normal - only to discover that his future children need his help!

With girlfriend Jennifer in tow, Marty jumps into Doc Emmet Brown's Delorean time machine and speeds off to 2015 to save his son from prison. He does this by incriminating the real felon, Biff’s grandson Griff (this bit of the film is depicted in one of the hoverboard sequences detailed elsewhere in the review). However, the elderly Biff Tannen uses the time machine to change his own fortunes in 1955! At the same time, the police find the 1985 Jennifer, taking her to her 2015 residence. Marty has to rescue her (see the JENNIFER TIMES TWO box).

Thinking his work is done, Marty returns to 1985 -but it is a completely different scene that greets the lad as he emerges from the Delorean. Biff's minions have taken over Marty's home town of Hill Valley, so Marty's left to beat a path through Biff’s cronies to Biff himself (this crops up in the game as a horizontally scrolling beat 'em up).

Once Biff reveals his dastardly plan, Marty travels back to 1955 to correct Biff's damage to the space/time continuum (as depicted in the game by the sliding block puzzle you see elsewhere in the review). However, Biff's still left loose, and in the last hoverboard screen, Marty uses his magical board to catch up with the bully and give his monkey ass a good dusting!


This bonus level casts the player as some god-like figure who can mysteriously open and close all the doors in the McFly residence (circa 2015). Your overall aim is to get the 1985 Jennifer to the front door, whilst keeping her apart from her 2015 counterpart.


Hill Valley, 1955. Marty's job is to successfully re-arrange the events of the part by sliding this block puzzle about...


It's a race to the reach the end of the scrolling terrain in both the first and last sections of the game! Armed only with his fist and massive hoverboard-aided jumps, Marty avoids the onslaught of Biff's minions.


The third level sees McFly racing along the horizontally scrolling screens of 1985 Hill Valley But the Biff of 2015 has gone back in time and changed his own past, making himself the virtual ruler of Hill Valley in 1985! The streets are now dangerous, packed with Biff's crazed chums. Marty’s job is to beat up these minions and reach the end of level so he can travel back to 1955 and undo the damage the 2015 Biff has done!

(Image captions)

That's the elderly Biff there on the right!

Marty enters deadly territory!



What we have here is one of the worst game-of-the-films I’ve ever seen. The first and last levels are dull and frustrating. The collision detection is dreadful, the control method is very poor and sprites seem to come out of nowhere, giving you no chance to avoid them unless you memorise exactly where they pop up. The beat ’em section is also pathetic; again naff controls and collision detection help to make it an unenjoyable and irritating experience. The puzzle sections are the most interesting aspect of the game, but even they're not particularly good - the slide puzzle is limited and the house section is ridiculously easy to complete. With better graphics, an improved control method, better collision detection and severe playability tweaks, Back to the Future II could have been quite fun, but unfortunately it’s not the case. My advice to Back to the Future fans Is to wait until Back to the Future III is released - I’ve seen a nearly finished version of the game and it’s miles better than this travesty.


I’m rather saddened that Imageworks chose to release this conversion of the original computer game. The hoverboard sections seem ridiculously difficult. The collision detection is very ropey indeed and avoiding all the hazards thrown at you is nigh on impossible. Marty’s punch is completely ineffective - and the animation’s so bad it’s like he’s looking at his watch rather than delivering a vicious cuff! The second level is boring in the extreme, and the third "beat ’em up" level requires all the skill of uncoordinated baboon to successfully complete, while the sliding block screen is really tedious. The graphics throughout are tragic. Marty looks like some kind of mincing neandethal (perhaps it’s only because his arms and legs actually move), and the rest of the backdrops and sprites make a complete mockery of the Master System’s graphical abilities. In fact, the only things the game has going for it are the fine presentation screens before each level, and the novelty of these soon wears off. Imageworks have plenty of decent, topper Sega stuff like Speedball and Xenon II, so buy one of those instead of this cartridge-based tragedy.

Nice presentation screens, but no options to tweak.
Great static screens. Sad, laughable In-game visuals.
The BTTF tune grates forth from the Master System's tortured sound chip.
Awful controls and bad collision detection are just two of the problems in the playability department.
The levels are either just too difficult or too easy. Either way, they're all pretty bad and you won't want to play them for long.

An awful game-of-the-film with very little going for it. Wait for Back to the Future III.

Mean Machines magazine

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