Back to the Future

Moby ID: 10283
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Description official description

In Back to the Future, 80s teen Marty McFly is mistakenly send 30 years into the past where he disrupts his own parents from meeting. Faced with extinction at the hands of a temporal paradox, Marty must find a way to reunite his future parents and make it back to his own time.

LJN's game differs completely from the computer versions, and plays as a literal race against time broken up by brief arcade minigames. In the main game, the player controls Marty in an overhead view as he runs down the streets of 1950s Hill Valley. A collection of period-appropriate bad guys block his path, including bullies, hula hoop girls, bumblebees, and park benches. The camera scrolls forward at a fixed speed, so the player must keep Marty on the move and away from obstacles. Hitting one causes Marty to fall and lose a life. The player must also collect clocks scattered on the street to stop Marty's photograph from fading away. If it fades completely, Marty is erased from existence.

Street running sections lead to three minigames. In these, Marty must sling milkshakes at oncoming bullies, deflect kisses (shown as hearts) from his mother, and collect notes to rock out on stage at the high school dance. The final stage resembles the street sections, as the player must control the DeLorean time machine and collect enough energy to travel through time (shown as lightning bolts instead of clocks).

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Credits (NES version)

6 People

Cover Illustration
Programming (uncredited)
"The Power of Love" (uncredited)
"Johnny B. Goode" (uncredited)
Music Arranger & Sound Effects (uncredited)
Music Programmer (uncredited)



Average score: 29% (based on 12 ratings)


Average score: 1.8 out of 5 (based on 29 ratings with 2 reviews)

Back to the Paperboy

The Good
The Back to The Future film trilogy is one of the best Hollywood film trilogies around. As such, it was only natural that each entry in the trilogy was adapted into a video game. Sadly, the NES game was handled by the folks at LJN,

The Bad
Back to The Future (1989) is less of a video game and more like a handful of poorly designed, arcade action based mini-games. Most of the time, the game play is similar to "Paperboy" with young Marty McFly riding on his trusty skateboard, avoiding various objects, in 1955.

At the end of each of these levels, you have a mini game where you must expel Biff and his bullies from the cafe, prevent Lorraine from kissing you, play the proper notes to a song and finally drive your time machine back to 1985. The game's graphics, music and sound effects are are below average, but what is probably the most distasteful about this game is its absurdly high degree of difficulty.

During the skateboarding levels you must constantly collect clock icons in order to stay alive, not unlike the requirement in "Adventure Island" to keep collecting fruit. One hit from pretty much anything will cause you to lose a life and your only projectiles are, if you can find them, bowling balls.

The mini game levels are equally difficult. For example, no extra lives are allowed for the mini game involving the DeLorean time machine. Even if you do everything perfectly and manage to beat the game, the ending is a letdown.

The Bottom Line
Back to The Future (1989) is amazingly uninspired given the amount of creativity seen in the film. It is another, in a long library, of bad games made by LJN based on a popular franchise. Too often when a film, television series, cartoon or comic book character makes the leap into the gaming world, companies give into the temptation to produce an inferior product and hope that the popular name sells the game. To be fair, Back to the Future is not a film that has many sequences that can be successfully translated into an action based video game. However, LJN did not do much better with the more action packed Back to The Future II and III.

NES · by ETJB (428) · 2010

Probably, one of my least favourite games for the NES.

The Good
For my 8th birthday, I received a small but vast collection of games for the Nintendo Entertainment System. And out of all these games; there was one game which I barely ever played. This game was "Back to the future", the game based on the brilliant smash-hit movie in the mid-80's. This game changed my full opinion on video games. because it SUCKED.

Like most of the movie-based games I've reviewed, this one barely has anything good about it. I tried really hard to find something redeeming about this game but couldn't find anything in particular. I guess you could say that the graphics are a slight bit decent for an NES game, and that's about it.

The Bad
When I popped this game cartridge into the system, I thought that I was in for a treat. I had absolutely no idea that the game could be so BORING! The music goes on, and on, and on until you've nearly reached the verge of insanity. If you were to make an 8-bit version of one of the worst songs in the world, this would be the exact thing.

One of the biggest mistakes they made was to call this game back to the future, without having anything to do with the movie AT ALL. There appears to be a rough approximation of Marty and that's it!

The only thing you are doing is running up a long road dodging bullies, hula hoop girls, killer bees and many other stupid life-taking hazards (I am NOT joking, you have to see the game in order to believe it)! And guess what, the game continues like this for a few levels until you reach a level where you appear to be a bartender (remember THAT from the movie?). At this point, the game becomes far too hard so, you instinctively turn of the system at this point!

The Bottom Line
This is one of the worst excuses for entertainment that you can find out there in this world. This shouldn't even be called a game! It should be called a useless, boring, horrible, time-wasting, decrepit excuse of a game.

I couldn't get the fact out of my head that they made a game this bad and decided to all it "back to the future". This is not good, do NOT play it unless you want to kill yourself!

NES · by Arejarn (7353) · 2009


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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by RKL.

Game added September 9, 2003. Last modified March 25, 2024.