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Super Back to the Future 2

Written : 02/07/04

By now you should have a good grasp on the fact that I play a lot of video games. It sounds nerdy and all, but itís what I love to do. This is evidenced by all the many game reviews currently on the site. And the number was getting too high, so I wasnít going to do another game review for a while, but when I found Super Back to the Future 2, I knew that I had to review it. Itís just the kind of thing that hits you. Like when you drink way too much water, you just know youíre going to have to take a leak.

If there is one thing that really annoys me about video games, itís that a lot of them never see one region or another, and more often than not, itís every region besides Japan that gets the shaft. Of course, we do get a lot here as compared to Europe and Australia, but we still miss out on a hell of a lot of cool stuff, like Fire Emblem, Final Fantasy 2 and Final Fantasy 3. I guess itís mostly RPGís that anyone cares about, but there are also a lot of platformers that never made it out of the country. And of course, it can work the other way too, but itís mostly just sports games that they donít get.

But sometimes, itís not such a bad thing that some games never make it here. And Super Back to the Future 2 just happens to be one of those exceptions. Now Iím not entirely sure that SBttF2 is a Japan-only title, but there was nothing about a North American version release on GameFAQs, so it must be. One final disclaimer, I didnít actually play the game through, so I donít know if all my info is accurate, but itíll be a lot funnier if you believe it is.

So since this game is Japanese, and for the SNES, there was only one way to get my hands on itÖ I booted up the good olí ZSNES and loaded the game. I was greeted by a very long and uninteresting developer screen, and then a short and blue disclaimer/copyright screen. Then along came the magnificent title screen. As you can see below, itís not all too original, but it gets the job done.

After selecting the ďGame StartĒ option, I was given another choice of ďLessonĒ or ďStartĒ. I decided that the lesson seemed like a good idea, so thatís what I chose. Upon arriving in the world of Lesson, I was expecting some tutorial boxes and stuff, but there was nothing like that to speak of. I guess it did kind of show me the basics of the game, though. Unexpectedly, we do not get to play as Michael J. Fox, but only some kind of strange Marty-wannabe. While I was rather disappointed, Marty-wannabe is an acceptable substitute.

Now the gameplay here might give you a very dŤja-vu kinda feeling. Itís like a crapified Sonic the Hedgehog. Basically, you just go, (holding the B button to accelerate up ramps), and jump with the A or Y buttons. Like Sonic, Marty-wannabe picks up little gold things along the way, which are presumably money. Then there are larger ďcoinsĒ with stars on them, which for all I can tell, give you bonus points. Unlike Sonic, the coins donít provide him with defense; Marty-wannabe has a life bar which is measured in hover-boards. Why hover-boards? Donít ask me.

Itís a side-scroller, and itís got all the side-scroller traits weíve come to love. Like Sonicís games, there seem to be multiple paths, and a lot of false walls that lead to secret areas or paths. There are also springs that launch Marty way up into the air. Lastly, we have the little puzzles. In the shot above, Marty-wannabe canít just jump over the wall, so what can he do? Flipping the red switch makes the box go up, providing a handy lift to the top. How does the box float upwards? We may never know.

You now youíre at the end of the level when you come across the very out-of-place Goal flag. Why there would be a Goal flag out in the middle of a city, I have no idea, but not much I this game has made sense yet. When you do get to the end, Marty-wannabe does a really crappy victory dance thing where he twirls his hover-board around. Iíd love to get an animation of it, but I have no idea how, so youíll have to be happy with that still. Then all the Star coins are counted up and we start the real game.

It starts out with a craptastic cut-scene with Marty-wannabe talking to some Elisabeth Shue impostor. You know, maybe theyíre not impostors, and maybe thatís just what those people would look like it they were drawn by the Japanese. Nah. Just wait until you see Christopher Lloyd. So anyways, Marty-wannabe and Jennifer-wannabe are standing there looking at those funny Japanese letters. Then they kiss. It lasts about one 7th of a second, and then someone comes to crash the party.

I told you Doc looked funny. Actually, he looks the least like the actual character out of all three of them. Heís clearly got a wig, his clothes look like ice cream store attire, and his skin is outlandishly pink. What have they done to Doc? And why? This injustice will not go unnoticed. Another thing thatís bugging me is what the Hell theyíre standing in front of. It canít possibly be a building of any sort, as itís far too small, and itís clearly not a park bench or a water fountain either, so what is it?

So after he drives up in the DeLorean and ruins the kidsí moment, there is more funny letters and they all drive off, leaving us who never actually saw the movie to wonder whatís going on. Yeah itís true; Back to the Future 2 is the only movie in the trilogy that I havenít seen. So Iím going to have to make up some kind of story along the way, or just not try to explain anything at all. I like the second option better, but you never know. Any who, they drive away, and then weíre left with one of the most perplexing mysteries of the gameÖ

The blue sky screen. And thatís all it does. The only animation that ever appears is the camera tilting up a bit. Iím not sure if thereís supposed to be something here, if the ROM has a glitch or what, but it does nothing. Maybe the story is somehow intertwined around the fact that the sky is a shade of blue that is darker than usual and Marty-wannabe must travel in time to fix it. Though if chemistry class has taught me anything, itís that traveling in time will not help you save the colour of the sky. It just continues playing the music and does some fancy sound effects, so Iím at a very unfortunate loss to explain whatís going on.

A very dramatic level display thingy shows us exactly what level we are in. Currently, we are in level 1. Although why itís called ďOpenĒ, I canít say. I also canít say what those funky Japanese letters say. My training only covers the numbers 1 to 3 and how to say some words. So I guess the best course of action to take at this point would be to continue past this greatly confuzzling screen.

And surprise! Wouldnít you know it, the actual game is almost the exact same as the Lesson. Only now there are more enemies, the level is longer, and I forgot to point out those fancy soda machine things. They arenít actually soda machines, but thatís the best comparison I could make. They way they work (if youíve played Halloween Harry, youíll have an idea) is if Marty-wannabe has enough of those coin things, more specifically the number on the side, he can get the powerup inside, which is pictures on the machine. They give life, a one-hit barrier, and an invincibility power which is strikingly similar to that of Sonic the Hedgehog. There may be other goodies, but I havenít seen them yet.

The way Marty-wannabe attacks is very much the same as Sonicís attack. He jumps up in the air, spins around, and anything that comes in contact with him goes poof! And while Iím at it, Iíve only seen three enemies so far. One is a garbage can with wheels, another is that cop guy with the too-big gun. The last one, not pictured above, is some kind of flying robot thing. Aside from the cop, none of them look or act very deadly, but running into them with that mindset would yield some rather unhappy results.

The fuzz got meÖ Yes, after getting hit too many times, Marty-wannabe will die. Cartoony cross-eyes and all. Iíd expect him to bounce off the screen Commander Keen-style or something, but not die. Geez. At least heís only a wannabe and a new one is supplied quickly after one has kicked the bucket, same goofy smile and all. Ah, those crazy Japanese and their zany ideas. I guess itís kind of hard to comprehend, but after this medium to long level, there is a boss. Thatís right, one level and then a boss.

See this guy here? I donít know who he is, but he seems to have something against people who go parading around as Marty McFly. Maybe heís the president of the McFly Fan Club? I donít know, but heís easy to beat. Itís a simple matter of jumping on him, landing and jumping again. His perfect amount of flashy time allows you to simply stand there jumping over and over until he dies. Now this would seem dumb, and it is, but there is also another totally different way to beat him! See the red buttons off to the sides? (one is under Marty-wannabe) When pushed, they spring out a TV, which bops the big guy.

After beating this guy, youíll get a bunch of star coins, and run away. Then a cut scene comes along, and the big guy sends out his cronies after you. Why are they so loyal to him? Why is he five times as big as everyone else? Will Marty-wannabe be okay? Who ate my pie? All these questions and more will be answered next time on Super Back to the Future 2! Same bat-time, same bat-channel!

Actually, they wonít be answered at all, Iím just going to move on to the next level. And it just happens to be level 1 with a palette swap and a new background. Aside from the fact that level 1 and level 2 are eerily similar, there are a few differences. First off, there is a new hazard: little spiky balls. They just float around and wait for foolish people to jump into them. Then there are the big guyís punks, who pose little to no threat, even though they can attack. The last new thing is the flying cars. They donít add a lot to the level, theyíre just this gameís rendition of floating platforms. Other than those things, the level is pretty much the same as the first, even the map is left heavily unaltered. Just take a look at this shot from level one.

Just look at it, and then compare it to the last pic, which was from level 2. Itís the same thing, just with some extra coinage. Like I said, there rest of the level isnít very different either. Just a few extra hills here, some hidden rooms there, and itís a ďnewĒ level. And just so you donít get confused, the levels donít consist mostly of towers like the pics would like to have you believe. Theyíre very much like levels from Sonic the Hedgehog, and they are actually of a pretty decent length. Now if only it was fun to play.

After making it thought this level, that big guy comes back, and this time you canít just jump on him, cause heís flying. I think you have to jump on one of his projectiles and then use that to bounce up to him. If that sound too hard you can just hit the buttons, which activate a fountain, which in turn will send him flying into a background. There is actually a pretty funny animation for when he gets hit. Anywho, I quit playing after this guy, so I can only hope that the rest of the game isnít just the same stuff rehashed over and over.

So thatís what the game is all about, or at least what the first two levels are about. Next up weíll talk about where the game gets and loses points, and since Iíve already described the gameplay in full detail, Iíll just give it a quick run down here. The game itself is just a bad Sonic the Hedgehog clone, with a little Punky Skunk mixed in. (which is very inaccurate, since Punky came after this). The controls are okay, but most of the buttons are useless, as you can only speed up and jump. Controlling Marty-wannabe in the air is a mixed bag; sometimes he responds, sometimes he doesnít. In the end, itís not that fun or original, so itís gonna end up with a bad score.

The music is the crown jewel of this game. For the most part, itís just one or two mixes of the Back to the Future theme. Even though itís that that plays throughout most of the game, it sound really good and youíll be humming it for a while after you play. As for sound effects, I didnít really notice any. I think there may be one for when you bop and enemy, but other than that I canít think of anything. Maybe a jumping sound? No clue.

The graphics, by default, are very good and colourful. The animation is lacking to a certain degree, but it still looks good. My biggest qualm is that the fact that Marty doesnít look like Marty. I mean, the face is the only thing that doesnít fit, but it still bugs me. While that doesnít lose any points, the almost scary interpretation of Doc Brown loses a lot. Come on guys! Doc isnít pink! Any idiot could figure that out, and his hair should look more like a mess than one of those judge wigs.

As I stated earlier, I donít know the story, and there isnít enough in the cut scenes to tell me whatís going on, so I really canít rate the quality of the story. Even if I could, I donít seem to be able to tell a good story from a rock, so it doesnít matter. As for anything else, the level design is good but repetitive, and the boss fights are great because of the extra ways you and go about doing the job.

So overall, the game isnít that bad. Despite the lack of entertainingness, poor level design, and somewhat bad controls, the game has some pretty good qualities. Itís not extremely boring to play, and you should be able to make it to the end at least once before it gets too boring to stand. If it wasnít such a ripoff of Sonic, I might have been able to give it a better score, but as it stands, Super Back to the Future 2 only gets 63 out of 100 points. That rounds it out to a decent 6/10 or on letter grade, a C. Thereís just one last little thing they could have designed betterÖ.

Thankfully, thatís the end of that. Itís not that I hate the game, I just had a rough time writing this. Sure, itís got a lot of words, but I had to think hard to make a lot of that filler quality literature. I guess if you want, you can download the ROM, but I donít want to promote piracy *wink wink* so Iím not suggesting you do it. I guess thereís no other way to play it though, so Iíll leave it up to you to decide whether you want to actually try it or not. Now the only thing I have to do now is to go watch the movie so I can figure out what the crap was going on, and why TVs were used as tactical weapons.

Now that I think of it, if you do download the game, donít make a mistake and get either of the NES games. Those are BAD. I had the original game, and yeesh itís terrible. Almost as bad as the X-Men game for the NES. In other news, Iím working on not much, and Iíve got technical problems for both the other 3-Foot 6-Pak games, so I may not be able to review them at all. The next thing I might be doing is a mini movie review. I donít know if I want to do a real review, even for the movie Iím currently thinking about. Iíll give you one little hint; itís got a guy feeding his breakfast Mr. T cereal. If that didnít give it away, you clearly donít care about groundbreaking 80ís movies. So thatís the end of todayís crap. Now make like a tree and get out of here!

E-Mail: Mr_Hotshot64v2@hotmail.com