hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

It Came from Japan! Super Back to the Future II

4:00 PM on 09.22.2011 // Allistair Pinsof
  @DtoidAllistair

[It Came from Japan! is a series where I seek out and review the weirdest, most original and enjoyable titles that never left the Land of the Rising Sun.]

Games based on films have a perceived stigma that indicates they are, more often than not, an utter waste of time. The games made under the Back to the Future license are partly to blame. Most likely, your favorite memories with the franchise have something to do with the films or Universal Studios ride -- far away from the abysmal Nintendo platformers by Beam Software and the Commodore 64 adventure game.

Telltale has done much to change this perception with its recent adventure series, but maybe they wouldn’t have had so much stacked against them if Toshiba-EMI had released Super Back to the Future II outside of Japan. Instead, it’s become an import novelty and a curiosity to fans of the franchise. It might not be a great game, but, in comparison to the grade-A crap ones that reached the West under the film’s title, it’s damn-near miraculously good.

Super Back to the Future II (Super Famicom)
Developer: Daft
Released: July 23, 1993
Current value: $30-50

Fan translation: Nope
For fans of: Average mid-'90s platformers 

One quick glance at the game and it’s apparent that it was made with an audience in mind, and it’s not a Western one. Love it or hate it: Marty McFly, Doc, and Biff have been anime-ized. Marty and Doc are adorable, stocky caricatures of themselves, while Biff is a hulking beast fit to be the boss (again and again). Pair this unlikely character design with a catchy soundtrack, and game design reminiscent of Sonic the Hedgehog, and you get Super Back to the Future II -- a decent, if not good, movie-licensed game.

What's wrong, McFly? Chicken? 

There are a lot of memorable scenes in Back to the Future II, but among the most iconic is when Marty escapes Griff’s wrath via a hoverboard. After watching him dodge between cars and float across a fountain, my eight-year-old self couldn’t wait until the year 2015 when I’d be able to ride one. Turns out I was waiting for nothing but at least I can do it virtually, now, within a game from ... 1993.

In SBttF2, Marty never gets off the hoverboard as long as you are controlling him. At the end of each stage, he has an animation where he gets off and spins it, but that’s it. Despite all the game’s flaws and odd level design, it’s hard to ever hate it due to the inarguable greatness of the hoverboard. Instead of Marty running around in his red baseball cap and down-filled jacket vest throwing yo-yos at goons like a chump, he pummels them with his hoverboard and bounces on their heads like a trampoline.

With a spin attack, the ability to jump, and a button for gaining speed, you must navigate the labyrinthine levels of increasing difficulty and defeat the stupid-easy bosses. Strangely, the game doesn’t always feel like it was designed with the hoverboard in mind. The hoveboard gives you speed  -- maybe not hedgehog-speed, but still -- so it makes no sense that the camera is zoomed in so close.

You can’t see what is in front of you and will have to repeatedly stop as the screen scrolls. It feels almost like a Game Boy game dealing with the limitations of its resolution but this is Super Nintendo, dammit! You don’t need to be zoomed-in so close! You are making a game for screens much bigger than a Game Boy!

I would feel safe in going max speed on the hoverboard, only after dying so many times on a stage that I began to inadvertently memorize the enemy placement. Otherwise, I felt like I was playing Jetpack Joyride, where any second I can and will run into an instant-death trap.

Occasionally, the maps will take advantage of the hoverboard and give you some ramps to jump off but not often enough. There are also bonuses you can reach by aimlessly jumping off an edge at max speed, hoping there is an extra life on the other side instead of a wall of spikes. Pro-tip: it usually is a wall of spikes.

300 bucks? 300 bucks for a couple of dents?

Collecting coins/rings/whatever in games usually amounts to nothing more than a higher score and who plays platformers for hi-scores anyway?

By storing power-ups, health and 1UPs in vending machines of varying prices, SBttF2 cleverly solves this problem by giving the player an incentive to collect coins. Instead of ignoring alternative paths, you’ll find yourself searching every corner of a map if only to increase the likelihood of survival. There is nothing more gratifying then getting halfway through a stage on one heart and finding a vending machine to give you one more. And, there is nothing worse than not having the money for it.

Why don't you make like a tree and get out of here? 

Perhaps, I haven’t sold you on Super Back to the Future II. Well, that’s okay because it honestly isn’t a lost gem worth seeking out. It’s an average platformer that is brief and nostalgic enough to check out, if you find it cheap. The main reason I chose to highlight the game for this week’s entry is for the collector and curious import gamer.  The odd nature of the project is worth a discussion alone.

Sure we’ve seen Crash Bandicoot and other Western gaming mascots become “Japanimated” but it’s different to see it happen to a popular Western film. It’s kind of unsettling, like imagining a world where all my favorite American films growing up were average Japanese platformers. I don’t want to live in that world. Besides, those Jurassic Park games weren’t so bad, right?

--------------------

Do Japanese takes on American properties freak you out?

Who would win in a fight Pepsiman or anime-eyes Marty McFly?

Would you give up your game collection for a hoverboard? Who am I kidding, of course you would!



Allistair Pinsof,
 Follow Blog + disclosure DtoidAllistair

This blog submitted to our editor via our Community Blogs, and then it made it to the home page! You can follow community members and vote up their blogs - support each other so we can promote a more diverse and deep content mix on our home page.



 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our moderators, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

nanashi avatarnanashi
-nudge nudge- hey Sony, discount Ys: I and II Chronicles and Ys: Seven on the PSP :D
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
Just out of curiosity, does anybody here still play Mario Kart 8 at all frequently?
Cosmonstropolis avatarCosmonstropolis
Neighbors ended up calling the cops. I hid under a cardboard box. Police officers were perplexed but went back to their patrol routes after a minute or so.
techsupport avatartechsupport
!a new MGS: Ground Zeroes update file auto dl'd and installed..the day prior to MGSV... hmm.. coincidence? OR... coincidence?
GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
Just got an email from Nintendo saying that my Club Nintendo reward has been shipped and is on its way. Now it's the end of an era. *pours one out for Club Nintendo*
wutangclam avatarwutangclam
I've been thinking of starting up a criticism-minded "game of the month" type podcast. Would anyone be interested in something like that? If you'd wanna be part of it, let me know, I'm generating ideas and looking for contributors
CJ Andriessen avatarCJ Andriessen
Playing the most difficult strategy game ever: trying to figure out what order to beat your backlog in.
ChillyBilly avatarChillyBilly
Transient Ryu stays ripped by riding the rails and throwing other transients off of his rail cars - [IMG]http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b321/Felth/homeless%20ryu.jpg~original[/IMG]
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
I'm so, so sorry everyone. :(
kolten2 avatarkolten2
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJCiF5dBSpweeStTjOqu-uA/videos
TheAngriestCarp avatarTheAngriestCarp
I'm pretty sure you guys know what game I'll be playing tomorrow. One of THE hottest games of the season. That's right, I'm talking about Lunch Truck Tychoon. Kojima ain't got shit on me, mukkas!
Flegma avatarFlegma
Playing Project Zero 2 on Wii. One should hope PZ5 got more sensible controls - twisting the Wiimote left/right to turn the camera does not make sense.
Barry Kelly avatarBarry Kelly
"When you are not playing the game or choose not to join the defense, your FOB will be defended automatically by your Security Team and security devices." Yeah, I think I'll just avoid the FOB functionality in MGS V
Snaveage avatarSnaveage
PSA: If you're picking up Phantom Pain tomorrow, put the kids down for a nap, turn off your phone and tell your partner to pipe down - the opening hour deserves your undivided attention. Enjoy!
extatix avatarextatix
If you like your hentai VNs [url="https://groupees.com/vn3"]cheap.[/url] Or even [url="https://www.indiegala.com/manga"]cheaper[/url].
VeryImportantQuestion avatarVeryImportantQuestion
Just read that SquareEnix have applied some weird mutation of crowdfunding mechanics to the Deus Ex: Mankind Divided preorder. I know the last blog I wrote mentioned how big publishers try to pervert these systems, but to think it's already this far gone.
Cosmonstropolis avatarCosmonstropolis
First in line to grab MGS V tomorrow. Close to my house, so it looks like I can eat and sleep comfortably. No one else seems to be waiting at my mailbox. Neighbors are getting suspicious.
The Travisionist avatarThe Travisionist
[img]https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CNwHpCTVAAA0jLp.png[/img] Sometimes, life is good as a ghost.
Mike Wallace avatarMike Wallace
You know what, I'm just gonna come out and say it. I hope MGSV fails. It won't train wreck by any means, but I hope it's a huge financial failure. Nothing against Kojima, but #fuckonami
Rad Party God avatarRad Party God
MGS V unlocks for me tomorrow at noon.
more quickposts


Contest!


Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -