Back to the Future Part III last edited by Mento on 08/24/19 08:57AM View full history

Overview

Back to the Future Part III is a licensed video game based on the 1990 Amblin move of the same name. Developed by Probe Entertainment, the game was released on various home computer platforms as well as the Sega Genesis and Sega Master System.

It takes a few scenes from the movie and builds action levels out of them, most notably: an early scene where Doc and Marty rescue Clara's stagecoach before it careens into the gorge; a scene where Marty demonstrates his arcade game skills as he effortlessly wins a carnival shooting game; a scene where Marty outsmarts Buford during their duel, which here involves throwing pies; and the final action scene where Doc and Marty have to accelerate a locomotive pushing the DeLorean up to the 88mph needed for time travel.

Master System

First level

Weeeee …
Weeeee …

This is the first of only three levels. In this one, the goal is to catch the carriage before it drops down the cliff. Players take on the role of Doc Brown riding a horse from left to right, fighting his way through birds, flying tomahawks, and all kinds of random obstacles. Doc Brown can only shoot in three directions (up, down, up/right) and duck to avoid birds. There is also a number of items in this level. Many of them only give scorepoints (e. g. several pieces of laundry the Doc can pick up), others enable a short boost or grant the Doc additional time. The number of remaining lives (three in total) is indicated by a clock in the lower right corner. The sheer number of instant death possibilities alone makes it hard to memorize the fixed pattern.

Second level

The player is Marty McFly for this level, posing as Clint Eastwood, and the goal is to defeat six baddies located in two buildings, one of them a large saloon, by means of flying plates.

Please don't hit my heart!
Please don't hit my heart!

The HUD provides some important information this time. In the upper left corner are six cupboard cutouts of the bad guys. Each enemy takes two hits, after that the respective cupboard turns down. Below is the high score counter and a small shield, which looks like a failed attempt at drawing a metal plate. Sometimes graphical glitches appear in this area, which are actually supposed to be bullet holes in the shield. Eventually, Marty's heart (!) will be exposed and the next hit instantly leads to a game over since there are no extra lives in this level. To the right of the shield is a stack of plates. Marty can throw ten plates before he has to reload by walking to the table at the bottom of the screen. Quite confusingly, the HUD indicator shows far more plates than ten, rendering it pretty useless. Marty himself can only move sideways, with each position corresponding to a predefined plate trajectory, some of which are clearly violating Newton's laws of physics.

Third level

Marty does the Turrican
Marty does the Turrican

Still controlling Marty, the player is now on a train and has to reach the locomotive. In addition to that, Marty must pick up intentionally inconspicuously placed rectangular items of unknown purpose. Furthermore, these have to be picked up in a specific order which is given as a string of colored squares in the upper middle of the screen. As if that wasn't complicated enough, the designers also implemented a relentless time limit, giving the player only the tiniest leeway. There is once again a number of arbitrary obstacles (e. g. some sort of hook on a pole), but instead of suffering instant deaths, the player gets punished with a substantial time loss. A crude lifebar (it's really just five red blobs) in the lower right corner indicates Marty's health. If it's completely drained, he falls off the train and several precious seconds are lost yet again. Control wise, Marty is in full Turrican mode here. He can shoot sideways, jump, climb, and even do the famous barrel roll. The controls feel rather sluggish, though.

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