Sega Master System / Mark III / Game Gear
Okay, BTTF 1 is just ending, everyone’s happy, but then Doc Brown comes zooming out of the future to make his famous warning. So in BTTF 2 Doc, Marty and his wife-to-be, Jennifer, set out to ensure their kids are all squeaky-clean, straight-A goodie-two-shoes.
Doesn’t sound much of an arcade game but here you are in Hill Valley, 2015, balancing on a hoverboard. Marty’s son’s got mixed up with the villainous Griff and how do you stop him taking part in a bank robbery?
Basically by floating down a street, punching villains squarely in the mouth, while dodging obstacles such as pedestrians, open manhole covers, stray dogs, trash collectors and cyclists. Keep an eye out for old Biff (Griff’s grandfather, obviously), who chases after you with his walking stick.
You make the hoverboard go faster by holding down the direction key, punch using Button-1 on the joypad and jump over obstacles with Button-2. A nice touch is the way you can grab hold of cars which zoom past and be pulled along — helping beat a tough time limit. So tough I often failed to get to the second level; and let me tell you, playing Level One over and over is no fun! It’s relatively simple and soon wears thin.
Once you rescue Marty’s son you change sex. Oo-er, a bit of gender-bender! But truth to tell Jennifer’s sprite is nothing to get excited about as you open and shut doors in an overhead view of her house. She mustn’t meet anyone else before escaping in this brain-boggling arcade puzzle. Again it’s not a bad little sub-game, but continually replaying it is tedious. The best advice is to take note of the baddies’ every move and memorise which directions open which doors.
Back to 1985 for mission three where, on the journey back, Marty and Doc discover things have gone terribly wrong with recent history. Biff managed to steal the De Lorean and nipped back to 1955 to give a sporting Almanac to his younger self — so he could bet on football matches and makes loadsa cash. Makes sense, I think, but it’s messed up Time something rotten, turning 1985’s Hill Valley into a cold, ruthless place dominated by Biff.
Back in Marty’s body you fight off the locals and search for your De Lorean in a dull, horizontally scrolling combat game — using sweep kicks, high kicks, plus high and low punches. Alternatively you can throw frisbees, ashtrays and rocks picked up en route. Rolling barrels, bouncing tyres, falling rocks and the like should be avoided.
Safely inside your De Lorean, 1955 is the next stop, to nick back that Almanac and return Time to its proper course. But first, a quick break, yep it’s another puzzle game — a standard sliding-block effort with a picture of Marty playing his guitar to reassemble inside a time limit.
Time up! Now you chase Biff on your hoverboard as he drives through Hill Valley. As in Level One, the streets are littered with numerous obstacles and foes to avoid or punch. The graphics are different and there’s cops to worry about too. With Biff’s car in sight, you must grab the prized Almanac and prevent the future from going askew. So there you have it, five ho-hum levels packed into one compact MS cart.
The graphics are mediocre, too, with a fair bit of flicker, especially on Level One where more often than not hoverboard and half your body just disappear. Backgrounds are reasonable and improve on later levels — Level Three is far superior graphically than Level One.
Soundwise, there’s a weak rendition of the film theme and different dodgy ditties for each of the levels.
There are some games with a difficulty level that keeps you playing for ages, determined to beat your best effort. BTTF 2 has a frustration level that’ll have you reaching for the off button in no time. I don’t know about ‘back to the future’, more like back to the drawing-board!
Image Works, what have you done? All that money spent on the film licence, just to produce a game like this! The graphics are some of the most boring I’ve ever seen on the Master System, and the sprite masking is distinctly dodgy in places. The gameplay is annoying and tedious, especially on the first level, a thoroughly uninteresting driving variation that will have you crying into your till receipt. Back To The Future 2 is a very weak interpretation of the film, and an all-round shoddy game.
A ho-hum collection of dated mini-games