Back to the Future

Back To Back To The Future

Kid Tannen's got to get got!
Author: Aram Lecis
Published: April 3, 2011
The first part of Back to the Future was a pleasant surprise to us, but if there was one thing that was missing from the game, other than any real challenge, it was that there wasn't that much time paradoxing going on. The second episode in the series, Get Tannen!, tries to alleviate some of that concern. Yes, the game is still pretty simple this time around, and no, there is still no real fail state to ever worry about, but those are hallmarks of the old LucasArts adventures that Telltale draws their inspiration from.

The episode picks up right where the last one left off, with Marty slowly fading out of existence after altering his own timeline a little too much. That little affair is soon resolved, and a once again whole Marty heads back to 1986 to get on with his happy life (remember, Marty lives in the post BttF film world, where his family is actually cool), only to find out things are not quite how he left them.

Turns out, somewhere along the line, Marty and Doc altered something that prevented Kid Tannen from going to prison like he was supposed to. As a result, the Tannen's of 1986 are more powerful than they ever were, and somehow there are MORE of them. The powerful Tannen syndicate has kept the McFly family down, and the still rebellious Marty was run out of town. After an amusing sequence foiling the modern Tannens temporarily, Marty and Doc head back to 1931 to try and set things right.

I won't spoil the story by telling you any more, but I will say that the vast majority of the action in this episode takes place in a single location, and most of the rest is still happening in the same Hill Valley town square you spent a good portion of the first episode in. In the end, it gets a little stale, and the characters that are introduced in this episode aren't quite as related to the movie trilogy, so you don't quite get that same fuzzy nostalgic feeling this time through. The puzzles are pretty straightforward, and I still lament that there isn't a bit more action where you are actively trying to avoid a time paradox. The humor here didn't have me laughing as much as the first time either.

In the end, this whole episode feels like a bridge to the next part, which, judging from the little preview at the end of part 2, should really start to open things up. If you are a Back to the Future fan, or a Telltale fan, you won't be disappointed, but you wont be overcome with euphoria either. If you are just an adventure gamer looking for a good challenge, this probably isn't going to be for you. I've grown a little tired of prohibition-era Hill Valley, and I'm ready to go back to the future in the next episode.
The Verdict

It's a bit of a step backward from the first game, missing some of the charm, and probably a tad too simple to challenge most gamers. You'll still find plenty of BttF charm though, and the next episode looks like it will pick things up.


You'll certainly recognize all your favorite characters, but the game exudes a sort of PlayStation 2.5 look. I think the Telltale art style works a little better in the cartoon animal medium than it does with humans.


The voice acting is excellent, although you can't help but notice that Christopher Lloyd has aged a LOT since the films. The rest of the sound effects do a good job at giving life to Hill Valley. As usual, the music evokes just the right emotions.


For the most part, it works well, and using the R1/L1 buttons to cycle hotspots is very nice. The occasional hiccup when you transition between scenes is annoying, but not game breaking.


Solid adventure gaming with puzzles that are not too obtuse. There are limited inventory items and excellent built-in hints, which means you shouldn't spend much time stuck and more time enjoying the atmosphere.