I do wish that brat Marty McFly would stop mucking about with the orderly procession of time. It does all seem a bit dangerous, doesn't it? (Mind you, he's probably thinking of all the money he'll earn from BTTF 4, 5 and 6, so why give a fig, eh?)
But anyway, enough of the pontificating - what's this BTTF3 jobby like then? Well, for those who've never seen the movie it might be handy to quickly sketch out what's going (or gone. Or about to go) on. Doc and Marty have travelled back to Hill Valley and found themselves in the days of the old Wild West. A stray arrow from an Indian attack has caused the DeLorean's fuel to leak away, thus well and truly dumping them in it. Further to this, Doc then goes and falls in love with a girly called Clara, and then he and Marty do something which doesn't exactly put them on speaking terms with a gang run by a big, bad bully called Buford (a very old descendent of Biff from the previous 2 games). Groo!
Right, Level 1...
Well. As you may well have spotted from playing our super-spanky demo on the cover cassette, Clara's in a pony-trap heading over a ravine. Doc, on horseback, is racing to catch up, but being hassled by loads of rocks, tumbleweeds and debris from the cart, all of which he's got to leap over or shoot. The level's actually split up into two - a standard horizontal scroller. For the jumping and shooting, and a vertical view. This second bit's better - it's a sort of Ikari Warriors type thing, with Doc galloping along and dodging the shots of Injuns who are firing down on him from both sides of a canyon. Bit tricky, that, and lots of fun! Then there's another stint at the horizontal view, then there's another bout of the canyon ride. And so on and so forth...
Okay, you've done all that. Next you get to the town shooting gallery, with a highly detailed (well done, lads) 3D perspective of your gun and targets. As they pop up you get to show off your crack-shot skills and generally impress all the locals, led by Buford, the chief baddie. A cross indicates where your shot will go, so basically you manoeuvre it over your targets (or where you think they'll be). (Actually there are some nice touches of humour here - they've thrown that bit from the movie in when Marty calls himself Clint Eastwood. And there's also a bit when the ducks roll past on a conveyor belt and you see an alarm clock and a cuddly toy trundling by slowly. If only there was Brucie himself to aim at!)
Mind you, it's not all japing around - if you aren't quick enough at popping all the target's socks off then the last one, a large and rather mean looking gunfighter, will actually take a pot-shot back at you! Blimey! That's not exactly what you pay 30p for, is it?! This section is great fun to play, and your trigger finger will itch as you wait for the next target to pop out.
Right, what happens next? Only that the locals suddenly get narked off and try to kill you! And what do you do in return? You throw pie-plates at them! (Weird, eh?) This is Level 3, where you are in the town square, and, armed with a big pile of crockery, you must take out each member of Buford's gang. It's a sort of bird's-eye angled 3D view as you scuttle back and forth collecting the plates to hurl. Once you've hit everyone Buford wanders out into the street, shooting you (great graphics, incidentally). Pie-plate him repeatedly until he collapses and dies (or goes unconscious. Or something. Anyway, until he's lying very still.)
And this should be enough to see you onto the last level - getting a train to push the (rather knackered) De Lorean car up to the magical 88mph so it can break through the time barrier (or whatever) and transport you safely back to your cosy little 20th bedroom. Hurrah! What's more, while you're doing this, smelly old Buford reappears back from the dead to try and cock it all up! (Bit of a deviation there from the movie, but we'll let it go, eh?) Er, other than that I'm not too sure what happens on this level because although Matt got to have a look at it in the Megapreview (and said it was pretty stonking!) I couldn't, er, actually get that far (ahem). Just goes to show that the game's not all that easy to beat. Eh? Ahem. (You're fired. Ed)
Lots of bits of pieces really
Like BTTF II this is really a collection of 5 smaller games with a common theme (5 games because Level 1 contains 2 different sequences) Each little sub-game forms a complete (if rather tiny) game by itself and although none of them really grabbed me by the throat and yelled into my face, neither did they slope off miserably and cry in the corner.
The best section is the vertically-viewed ride in the canyon from Level 1. It's the simplest graphically with small, fast sprites, and proves that fancy graphics aren't the be-all-and-end-all of any game. (The shooting-gallery bit isn't too bad either - all split-second timing and big detail.) Talking about graphics, well, generally they're very good, and different too - we've got 2-dimensional, 3-dimensional and even 4-dimensional views represented here (time being the 4th dimension, of course, hem hem). Sound, too is different in each section, with nice touches like the theme tune to The Good, The Bad And The Ugly (or somesuch Clint-ish western) being playing out during the pie-plate throwing bit.
It's certainly better than BTTF II - it's more balanced. For example there's no annoying but-easy-to-solve puzzle bit to get in the way this time round. The games are all linked up quite well, and they're all fun. In fact the game's strength is probably that there's so much variety in it - taken individually these games wouldn't be all that incredible. But gelled together they'll see you through a few days' fun. (I suppose.)
Right then, now I'm off to nip forwards in time to see what BTTF4's like. (There isn't going to be a BTTF4. Ed) Oh. Er... perhaps I'd better stay here then.
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