Back to the Future Episode 2: Get Tannen
Going back in time to correct past mistakes is a powerful fantasy, and Telltale’s Back to the Future series takes full advantage of this dream. In Episode 2: Get Tannen, Marty McFly must travel back in time to correct alterations to the time stream, and save his town from an oppressive mob rule. Fortunately, I don’t feel a need to travel back in time and stop myself from playing this nostalgic romp.
This series sadly lacks episode recaps, so here is the refresher. After Doc Brown gets tied up in a 1930s bootlegging operation and thrown in prison for arson, Marty travels back in time to rescue his friend and mentor. Episode two picks up after Marty has freed Doc from the back of a police wagon and the duo travels back to their own time. Unfortunately, the pair’s meddling has resulted in a future that is controlled by the Tannen gang, so Marty and Doc hop back in the DeLorean and travel back to 1931 to prevent the assassination of Marty’s grandfather and send the notorious gangster Kid Tannen to prison, as has occurred in their original timeline.
This time paradox dilemma harkens back to the classic movie trilogy, but the gameplay fails to take full advantage of this crazy scenario. Aside from one puzzle where you hide from your past self, you could almost forget that there is another version of Marty running around this world.
Most of that world is constructed from repurposed environments found in the first game, but you do get to scope out a few new sections of town and meet a few odd but lovable Hill Valley characters. Unfortunately, movement within the world still feels a little stilted and I’d love to see a more organized inventory system.
Most of the game’s puzzles are fun to solve, and it’s exciting to watch their solutions play out, but matching your inventory to objects in the environment is rarely a challenge and the game falls back on the same gimmicks all too often. One sequence, involving finding the right mood music to get a depressed police officer to talk with you, felt particularly overdone. While I’d love to see this series sparkle with a little more creativity, Telltale’s Back to the Future adventure series remains a short but sweet tribute, and the game’s cliffhanger ending ensures that I’ll be back for Episode 3.
If you want to know more about Telltales Back to the Future series or haven’t played the first episode, check out my review of Episode 1 here.