Defunct Games
  1. 1988
  2. 1989
  3. 1990
  4. 1991
  5. 1992
Back to the Future Part III
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Back to the Future Part III Back to the Future Part III Back to the Future Part III
  • Review Score:

  • F
Once upon a time, there was a kooky old scientist named Doc Brown who managed to invent time travel. Unfortunately, this led to a lot of problems. First Marty McFly, Doc's teenage helper, was sent back to the 1950s, where he almost came between his mother and father hooking up. Once that adventure was over, Marty and his girlfriend had to go into the future, all the way to
2015. And when that didn't fix everything, Marty realized he had to go back to the Wild West and save Doc from bandits, gunslingers and all of the other locals from 1855.

Chances are you already know this story. After all, the Back to the Future trilogy is a cherished classic for a lot of movie fans. But let's assume you only know of Marty's adventure through Arena's dreadful Back to the Future Part III game for the Sega Genesis. Not only will you be utterly confused by what's going on, but this non-sequel will turn you against Back to the Future faster than you can say Biff Tannen.

Back to the Future Part III (Genesis)

Wait ... did I just call Back to the Future Part III a game? That's something of a misnomer, as this is nothing more than a collection of four horrible tech demos. It all starts with the famous chase scene where Clara Clayton (played in the movie by Mary Steenburgen) almost flies off a cliff to her death. Thankfully, Doc Brown is there to save the day. And that's the start of one of the most aggravating stages in video game history.

Forget the Battletoads race sequence or that time the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles had to disarm an underwater bomb, because saving Clara proves to be the most frustrating moment of all time. You're asked to shoot down birds, jump over barrels and dodge bouncing boulders. The problem is that these obstacles give the player only a second's notice before knocking Doc off his horse. It doesn't help that this event goes on for several minutes, forcing the player to replay the level dozens of times before memorizing every obstacle.

Back to the Future Part III (Genesis)

Upon completion, Marty is sent to an even more frustrating stage. The second level sees our hero trying to hit bandits and more in the shooting gallery. Anybody who has ever played a light gun game with a standard D-pad can tell you that it loses something with a game controller. Here the targeting is made worse thanks to the over-sensitive aiming and speed of the shooting gallery. The whole thing is blisteringly difficult and even less fun than watching Doc Brown get knocked off his horse in the first stage.

Once through the shooting gallery, it's time for Marty to take on the baddies in real life. However, instead of giving us another first-person shooter mini-game, the camera flies into the sky and we're forced to play the stage as an overhead plate-throwing competition. If you think using the gun is frustrating, wait until you have to throw a plate through a narrow window. It's as if the developers are actively working against you, daring the player to complete these insane challenges.

Back to the Future Part III (Genesis)

It all leads up to the big climax, where Marty must traverse a moving train in order to save the people he loves. This is easily the most playable portion of the game, largely because it actually feels like something we're used to. But don't get too comfortable, because it's full of cheap deaths. And much like the other three levels, this mini-game overstays its welcome.

Simply put: These stages suck. There isn't one single redeeming quality to any of these mini-games. They are hard to control, painful to play and look terrible. The cinemas don't help to fill in the story and the ending is laughably bad. The fact that this short, overly difficult game was released at full price is offensive to me. Without even a second of fun or whimsy, Back to the Future Part III is the worst Genesis game I've ever played.