Back to the Future: The Game – “Citizen Brown” (Episode Three)
Hello again, readers. I recently covered episode two of this game and I’m pleased to write about the most anticipated episode (for me, anyway), episode three. For those of you just starting to follow along, I highly recommend reading my first two reviews first so that you aren’t lost.
“Citizen Brown” couldn’t come fast enough. I desperately wanted to see how 1986 had shaped itself. The preview of the episode only made my anticipation worse. An alternate reality where people are conditioned / zombified to remain peaceful and orderly at all times, with Doc’s smiling face overseeing it all? Where do I sign up?
Marty begins the episode by trying to get out of the wrecked DeLorean. He meets Jennifer in the process…but she’s changed. We’re treated to a rebellious, punk rock Jennifer who isn’t interested in Marty whatsoever. After escaping from his predicament, Marty becomes MacGyver for a short period of time, using spare parts to fly himself over Hill Valley’s walls (also new) because they won’t let him in. Apparently his other self is on a trip somewhere.
The player is given free rein once again to explore town and try to figure out what to do next. Marty knows that he needs to talk to the alternate Doc of this timeline, but the security guard (Parker, Jennifer’s dad) won’t let him through. I personally enjoyed interacting with Marty’s parents and the people of the alternative timeline. It was eerie talking to Biff, who was a product of the Citizen Plus Program where “conditioning” takes place.
So, Marty comes up with a plan to break a bunch of rules so that he can be escorted in to see Citizen Brown…should be a piece of cake for someone who hitches rides on the backs of moving vehicles. The player must solve a series of puzzles in an attempt to get caught doing bad things. The alternate Einstein is a free roaming dog who is a menace to society, so finding him and getting him to come along is one such puzzle. Kissing Jennifer in public is another, which is difficult since she hates everybody’s guts.
I found the guitar puzzle to be a bit annoying after a while, as you had to manuever Marty around the alley while constantly having to hear him play the guitar against Jennifer’s other prospective boyfriend. It is similar to the puzzle in episode two when Marty returns to 1986 and Biff attempts to kill him in front of his house.
Eventually, Marty will be escorted to Citizen Brown, a meeting that I was really looking forward to. After a period of time, a stalemate occurs and Citizen Brown wants Marty to provide proof of the alternate timeline. Oh, and Edna and Citizen Brown are apparently married. After a while, it’s obvious to the player on who wore the pants in that relationship.
At this point, I was really having a blast. Part of why I like Back to the Future so much is because of the “what if” scenarios. I often caught myself thinking about the game in between breaks, just theorizing what Marty can do to save the day and how the game should play out.
Marty must turn to his dad for help, who is apparently in charge of being the town’s Peeping Tom. The security footage that Marty needed for the proof is stolen by Biff, which is odd considering that he was rehabilitated not to do that kind of thing…at least willingly. In another revelation that I found creepy, Biff’s watch was designed by Edna so that she could control him.
After some more dialogue and some easy puzzles, Marty ends up in a control room of sorts. Edna erases the tapes that he had sought to show Citizen Brown as proof while he contended with Biff. Citizen Brown shows up and hears some of the conversation, and Marty makes one final attempt to convince him that the present had been altered.
At the end of the episode, it seemed as though things were going Marty’s way, but both Citizen Brown and Marty end up being captured by Edna and are scheduled to be reconditioned through the Citizen Plus Program.
This episode, I felt, was much better than the last. It introduced a new environment and a new set of variables that I was forced to adapt to. As I played this game more and more, I was getting more annoyed by the puzzles because they were getting in the way of the story. It sounds silly of me to say seeing as how this is a game, but I would have been happy just watching the story play out. I guess I’m just starved for more Back to the Future movies.
I did come across a few glitches and some graphical tearing, but I replayed the same scene and came across no such issues. The characters stayed true to their roles and they didn’t feel out-of-place in order to make the story work…even if some of them were zombified. Like the previous two episodes, I completed this one in about two hours, give or take. It was becoming a recurring theme to download the game the day it came out, beat it the same day, and then have to wait a whole month to find out what happened. I hadn’t really anticipated the conclusion of any series for a long time, with the exception of the two-part episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation when Picard is captured by the Borg (The Best of Both Worlds). Waiting months to find out what happened really chafed the EPS Power Grid.
Final Verdict: 9/10
I’ll have my review of episode four up soon, watch for it!