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Arcade: Action
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

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Mark Caswell, Richard Eddy
Chris Bourne

With Part III pulling the crowds at the flicks, and Part II on rental video, everyone's going Back to the Future crazy! And as luck would have it, here's the finished (note well, other Spec-mags) Speccy game of the film! Back to the Future Part II is a five level adventure through time where Marty and Doc Brown first go to the future to save Marty's son from being jailed.

2015 is the start of the game and Marty and Doc must prevent Marty junior from joining Griffs gang. He's the grandson of Biff and just as evil. Marty goes to the Cafe 80s and poses as his son. But trouble ensues and our hero is forced to make a hasty retreat on a hoverboard. As you race through the streets of Hill Valley you're attacked by Griff and his henchmen, a variety of obstacles and even old Biff. Of course there's a time limit, shown in the status panel along with the date, amount of energy left and amount of lives remaining.

Bonus objects can be picked up along the way. Speed-ups increase the speed of your hoverboard, power-ups replenish energy, and accelerate increases speed of scroll. Once Marty is out of this mess he and Doc find that an unconscious Jennifer (Marty's girlfriend) has been picked up by the police. Assuming she's the 2015 version they take her home. In this section you control Jennifer's actions: don't let her meet her future self and family!

Jennifer rescued. Doc and Marty return to 1985 to find things have changed a lot: armed gangs roam the streets. This is due to old Biff finding Marty's almanac (containing sports results 1950 through 2000) and returning it to his younger self in '55. Combined winning certs have made him one of the richest men alive in '85, and he's taken over Hill Valley.

Marty must battle his way through thugs, muggers and scum to reach Doc and the DeLorean car to get back to '55 and sort out the mess.

In 1955 you must retrieve the almanac from Biff. First complete a sliding block puzzle of Marty playing guitar at the Enchantment Under The Sea dance, then chase Biff's car by hoverboard to retrieve the almanac. Get the book and life is back to normal, fail and the consequenses will be dire.

Sounds exciting, but I was very disappointed with Back To The Future Part II. Sound is the best feature (continuous on the 128K) title screen and in-game music are impressive More than I can say for the graphics: a small and scruffy looking Marty plus shoddy backdrops make this game about as appealing as drying paint. The biggest pain though is level two - Jennifer is all but invisible and the floor plan is a mixture of vile colours (which helps very little).

All in all, getting a product that ties in well with the movie appears to have been the real thought for the programmers, with gameplay dragging behind somewhere.

MARK ... 50%


'Yes, the programmers have followed the film very well - all the highlights have their own individual section. Level one is neat: the highly detailed scenery scrolls horizontally and diagonally depending on which way you're hoverboarding, and a smooth scroll it is too. Plenty of action on the road - cars, Griff's gang, old Bill and an assortment of people all make it look exciting. But the actual gameplay isn't that thrilling or addictive. It's difficult to hover safely, with so many obstacles and Griff and his ensemble giving lethal chase: it's simpler to leap your way through the whole level. The game combines arcade gameplay with lateral thinking: level two is fun as you control the doors of a house in an attempt to prevent Jennifer meeting her future self. While a good program, it isn't stimulating enough. You may keep playing until level five is completed, but it's unlikely you'll be playing again. Oh, and it's a mega multi-load, there are five - five!!! - loads before you get into the game itself! Fine on disk, but on cassette it gets tedious as you continually flip back and forth.' RICHARD ... 65%