Back to the Future II
Platform: Nintendo Entertainment System, 1990
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Story: I was pretty miffed when I saw Back to the Future II, as the viewing took place in a darkened basement at a time in my life when I would have much rather been engaging in more sophisticated activities, such as humping. I really should have appreciated the experience more, as it will allow me to come up with much more efficient jokes about how bad this game is so I can finish my article quickly and go home to engage in such sophisticated activities as humping.
Anyway, the intro started out following the plot of Back to the Future II pretty reasonably. They lost me as soon as they expected me to believe that Biff is capable of some fairly intermediate-level wizardry, while his actual level of eldrich awesomeness was more along the lines of "Neville Longbottom knitting a blindfold with two plastic wands from a Klutz do-it-yourself-magic kit."
Gameplay: But at least that involves an actual character from the film, which is coincidentally where the similarities end! I'm beginning to realize that there were probably a grand total of three games for the Nintendo Entertainment System that were actually good, and all of the (by my estimates) 293,324,069 other titles were made by forcing an unholy union between any two of them -in this case Super Mario Bros. 3 and Zelda II. Future subscribes to Mario's tried-and-tried-some-more-but-why-stop formula of "you are a block man who hops a bunch" that no talent-forsaken kids' game seems capable of breaking from, complete with adorable collectibles and a darling wee death animation. Incidentally, when you die (in one hit of course), the Dolorean carries you forward a bit before dropping you off for your respawn. With enough lives, you could potentially play across the entire level!
Well, if that twinkle-tights fairy-lover's influence didn't keep getting in the way. Like Zelda II, this game makes you wander through endless interlocking screens for no real reason. At least Zelda occasionally threw you a bone and let you see a larger map so you had some christly idea of where you were going, but no, in Back to the Future you're just expected to whip out your graphing paper and a Super Safe! Extra Large Blue Crayon and plot your merry little way. Believe it or not, eventually it descends into puzzle-solving, item-returning dementia spanning multiple time periods that is disconcertingly similar to a certain other 1980s movie-to-video game adaption. Yay! No.
Graphics: Despite being mildly impressed by the intro's graphics, I think we can all peacefully agree that it all goes downhill after the shoecar. Everything looks the same, with the utilization of vague palette swaps and maybe a picket fence to signify that this particular group of nonsensical choppy blocks is meant to be 1950's suburbia. Then again, given that the 50's also feature bright purple piping on their tortuously prolific mazeposts, I doubt historical accuracy was big on the agenda.
Enemies: This is the prat where I can't tpye a ogod dsecipriton beuacse I'm ggiglnig os hrad. For example, I'm pretty sure there were no spikey turtles that you can nevertheless kill by jumping on In all of Michael J. Fox's silver screen adventures. Other graduates from the Mario School of Things That Look Vaguely Like Extremely Unappealing Food Products include: snails, dancing trash-cans, and -my personal favorites- horrible frog beasts from Mars that leap at your throat but mercifully being from the Elvis era will at least refrain from ranting about creepy misogynistic vampires for six hours.
Fun: You know, if I were an immortal who also happened to be completely unable to use any body parts but her eyes and thumbs for all eternity, maybe I could see myself getting into this. I mean, with an infinite amount of time, what's not to love about a magical-floating-rock-bounding, corridor-wandering, garbage-can-exterminating adventure? I could even save my game and every twenty four hours and come back to experience more enjoyment! Or I could, if they'd bothered to program a save feature!
Honestly, though, this article's barely scratched the surface. There's so much impossibly, foully incorrect about Back to the Future II (which, by the way, is just like the movie!) that I can't fathom that they let it off of the assembly line, let alone imagine why they saw fit to augment it; whatever the reason, it must be the root of all evil.
Defining moment: Of all the bizarre enemies, my favorites were the ANNOYING BIRDS that twatter about on-screen at random, replacing the soundtrack with SHRILL BEEPING TWAK TWAK.
Then, they poop on you.
Each category in the rating system is based out of a possible -10 score (-10 being the worst). The overall score is based out of a possible -50 score (-50 being the worst).