Back to the Future: The Game - Get Tannen!

Genre:   Adventure

Developer & Publisher:    TellTale Games & Universal Studios

Released:  February 2011

PC Requirements:   Windows XP/Vista/Windows7, Pentium 4 2.0 GHz or 100% compatible CPU 512 MB RAM, 3 GB available hard disk space , DirectX 9,0c 



by Becky

As Get Tannen! opens, Doc Brown and Marty McFly are preparing to leave the scene of their recent escapade -- time traveling to the year 1931 in the first episode of the series, Back to the Future: The Game -- It's About Time. Suddenly Marty realizes that his body is fading to a ghostly form, and from there...well, let's just say that things don't look good for his immediate future. Apparently, while patching up events in 1931, our time travelers accidentally altered something in the timestream. They need to go back and fix what's broken, or disaster looms for the McFly family and perhaps for all of Hill Valley as well.

And For My Next Trick...

This is the second episode in a planned series of five. (For a review of the first episode, click here. ) The storyline is continued from It's About Time; it's best to play that before playing Get Tannen! Episode Two matches the quality of Episode One, and uses the same interface, inventory system, and stylized 3D graphical world.

Many of the challenges in Get Tannen! are inventory based. The game also includes sequencing puzzles (sometimes mildly timed) where you have to use an inventory item or initiate a dialog before the sequence ends. You'll also encounter a wordplay challenge and a clever matching puzzle.

Why be Melancholy, Baby?

This episode brings access to new speakeasy and back alley locations. More characters are introduced, including Officer Parker -- a policeman who's despairing because nobody believes that he's seen a flying car -- and Trixie Trotter, a blonde bombshell who sings at the speakeasy. If you find the story confusing, you can ask "old" Doc to explain things. The explanation made me smile, as the Doc is already up to describing "Timeline E" and we're only in the second episode. Here's hoping that we make it to "Timeline Z" by the end of the series!

Up on stage at the "El Kid" Speakeasy, Trixie Trotter croons sweet ballads, some familiar and some original, including the mellifluent "Whisper in my Ear." Edna Strickland also sings from her post in the town square, though her performance is reminiscent of the choir in Gobliins 4 (my ears hurt afterwards).  Between Ms. Trotter's performances, a grouchy piano player provides background music. Variations on the theme from the movie play as background music in other locations. Huey Lewis and the News perform the energetic tune, "Back in Time" as the credits roll.

Sound effects include bursts of machine gun fire, rocket engines zooming, glass breaking, and crashing sounds as metal meets wood or earth. A rip-roaring, screeching, shattering good time is had by (mostly) all.

Running Into Ourselves

Voiceovers in Get Tannen! are again excellent. The story is engaging, though not quite as chuckle-inducing as in the first episode -- perhaps because Doc Brown's role is more tangential here. One mystery from It's About Time is solved, but new plot entanglements have emerged, including a disturbing glimpse of what's in store for Hill Valley in the upcoming episode: Citizen Brown. The cliffhanger ending piqued my curiosity; it implies that we'll be seeing plenty of the Doc in the future.

Quick List for Back to the Future: The Game -- Get Tannen!

The second episode in a series of five, featuring two Emmett "Doc" Browns -- one young, one old -- and two Marty McFlys -- the current one trying not to run into the past one. Hill Valley, California in 1931, complete with mobsters, malfunctioning flying vehicles and a blonde who can really sing. To understand the story, you should play the first episode before playing this one.

Stylized 3D graphics, lots of dialog, amusing quandaries (time related and otherwise). Occasional vulgarities. The game is appropriate for older children and up.

Wordplay, inventory, and movement sequence challenges. Puzzles require observation and thought, but are not fiendishly difficult; a few are mildly timed. No sliders, no mazes, no sound matching puzzles. The most difficult puzzle requires identifying the correct trigger in a sequence. You can't die.

Third person perspective. Three options for navigation: mouse (click-and-drag), keyboard (WASD or the arrow keys) or a game controller. The Options menu is a tweaker's paradise and includes access to different hint features. About three hours of gameplay. No problems with installation. No glitches.

Aimed at those who wish to see more of Doc and Marty and the amusing time paradoxes that inevitably trail in their wake.

Final Grade: B

What I played it on: 

Dell Studio XPS 8000

Windows 7 Home Premium

Intel Core i5-750 processor


1024MB NVIDIA GeForce GT 220

Soundblaster X-Fi

Back to the Future: The Game -- Get Tannen! can be purchased via download from Telltale Games.  


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