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Memories of SEGA: Back to the Future Part II

Awinnerwasyou fires up the Delorean once more to revisit this movie tie-in. Then immediately wishes he hadn't.





 System- Master System

Year of Release- 1990
Genre- Action
Developer- Mirrorsoft
Also known as- That Must Not be Named (Everywhere)
What’s the worst game you’ve ever played? This proved to be a tough question for me since I’m actually quite laid back when it comes to games, and even games considered to be terrible turned out to be ones I somewhat liked. Heck, even Sonic ’06 had a couple of bits I actually quite enjoyed. But sometimes there comes along a game so bad, even I can’t help but think “Oh sweet mother of mercy, get me away from this thing!” In this installment of Memories of SEGA, I intend to warn you all of such a game. A game which should never be touched at any cost. Unless you have a masochist streak, that is. And it’s a movie licence as well. Whoever saw that one coming? So, it is not at all my pleasure to introduce to you the unimaginable horror that is…
Back to the Future Part II
               Both people and objects need to be avoided, but good luck with that- you'll need it.
This was a game I first heard about, of all places, in the very first gaming magazine I ever bought. Issue four of Game Zone, to be precise. This was bought for me by my mum after we came home one Saturday evening from Sandown race course. My mum is a big Horse Racing fan, and she’d taken me to the course for the day. She won a little money on a bet during one of the races, and it was with that money she bought me my first magazine. And it certainly wouldn’t be my last. In any case, towards the back of the magazine was a directory of reviews for various consoles and handhelds. Among these were the NES, the Game Boy, and even the PC Engine! Of course, all of SEGA’s machines were featured as well, and it was while I was looking at the list of Master System games where I came across a mini review for a game named Back to the Future Part II. And it was very poorly received, scoring only one star out of five. However, as a fan of the movies, I was nonetheless curious about it. Sometime later, I saw the game at my local video rental shop, which had recently started renting out SEGA games as well. By now, I had heard several more damning things about the game, but it didn’t look too bad judging from the back of the box. I really wanted to check it out, so I rented it. I had a feeling I’d find it more enjoyable than the magazines made it out to be.
Oh, how wrong I was.

                              View the horror for yourself- but don't say I didn't warn you!
 First off, let’s start with the good points of the game. For starters, the gameplay is very varied. Out of all five stages, only the first and last levels have the same play style. The presentation isn’t bad, with a decent intro featuring the Delorean flying off, as well as a scene between each level where Doc explains the situation to Marty. The Back to the Future theme tune is also just about recognizable. Just. The game also follows the plot of the movie quite well.
Now for the bad points. Oh lord, where do I even begin? Well, many of the problems become apparent as soon as you start playing the first level. Based on the hoverboard scene in the film, you control Marty as he avoids various obstacles. That’s more or less it. This is much easier said than done though, since this level is damn near impossible to beat. Not only are the controls very clunky, but the collision detection is pretty much non-existent. Marty has a punch to protect him against human hazards, but it’s so weedy and ineffective you may as well not bother using it. Though you do have a life meter and several lives, each hit you take brings you back to the previous checkpoint you reached, so that’s no real help either. I ended up spending all night trying to beat this level, but I didn’t even come close. Thanks to the controls and dodgy collision detection, avoiding anything proves way too frustrating. Needless to say, I was only too happy to bring the game back to the shop the next day. But that wouldn’t be the last time I’d be playing it. Oh yes, I would be a glutton for more punishment to come!
About a few months later, while flicking through another magazine, I found a level skip cheat for the game. At this point, I should have just ignored it- after all, why would I want to put myself through the pain of ever playing it again? Unfortunately, this would prove not to be the case. Seeing this cheat made me curious about the rest of the game. Maybe with this cheat, I could see what the remaining levels would be like. Against my better judgement, I ended up renting the game again to try the cheat out. It did indeed work, and I was finally able to see the rest of the game. Not that it would get that much better, mind…
                                          Open the doors to escape the house. Exciting...
Level two is a puzzle stage, where you control Marty’s girlfriend Jennifer as she tries to escape the future Mcfly household without running into any of its inhabitants. You do this by opening doors. Yep. Opening doors. By choosing which door to open, you’ll make Jennifer go through it and head for the next room. You need to time it right though, otherwise you’ll bump into someone you really shouldn’t… To be fair, this stage is quite hard to explain properly, so maybe the video shows it off better. What I can say is that it’s quite boring, and not that hard once you know what you’re doing. Level three changes the action up again, and takes place in Biff’s alternate 1985. This level is a scrolling beat em up, in which you guide Marty from left to right, fighting enemies and dodging hazards. The good news is, Marty’s actually a much better fighter here than he was in level one, and can hold his own in a fight this time. The bad news? The stage is both very poor and very easy to beat. The controls still aren’t great and it’s just no fun to play at all. 
                                          Level three. It's no Streets of Rage, that's for sure.
Stage four is simply a sliding block puzzle. I hate sliding block puzzles. You have three minutes to solve it, and if you run out of time, you fail. Thankfully, if you do fail, you can choose to skip to the next level rather than try again. You just won’t get any bonus points. This applies to level two as well- fail that stage, and you can also skip straight to the next level if you want to. And it’s very unlikely you will want to give either stage another try. The last level take place in 1955, and returns to the hoverboard for another side scrolling dodge-a-thon. And it suffers from exactly the same problem as level one- awful controls, bad collision detection and near impossible gameplay. If you use the level skip cheat here, you go straight to the ending- which is nothing more than a screen saying “To be concluded in Back to the Future Part III”. Great reward for all that pain, right? Coincidentally, a game based on Back to the Future Part III was released on both the Master System and Mega Drive. It had a similar structure to this game, with each level having a different style of gameplay. I’ve only played the Mega Drive version, and I can safely say it’s less than inspiring. It even suffers from the same impossible first level syndrome with its predecessor had. 
                         The sliding block puzzle that is level four. It's as dull as you'd expect.
What else can I say about this disaster? The graphics are very poor, with awful animation, flickering by the bucket load and just plain terrible backgrounds. Only the presentation screens and the picture in the sliding block puzzle have anything near actual quality. As for the sound, the Back to the Future theme is just about recognizable, but it still sounds terrible. The rest of the music is equally poor, too. Again, the sliding block puzzle has the best music, but I still wouldn't consider it any good. Needless to say, once I returned the game to the shop after messing around with the level skip code, I was done with it. I would never touch it again, and I highly recommend you do the same. Maybe not the worst game ever made, but it’s certainly the worst game I've ever played, bar none. Do yourself a favor and stay as far away from it as possible. Even then, that’s still not far enough.
Well, after remembering that stain on the Master System, I’m in the mood to write about a game that’s a lot more awesome. And I think I know just the game… See you then!

20th May, 2015 - 22:12 GMT Awinnerwasyou Article viewed 6418 times 0 Comments


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