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Published on April 4th, 2011 | by Cameron Woolsey

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Back to the Future Episode III: Citizen Brown Review

Platform: PC
MSRP: $24.99 (series)
Developer: Telltale Games

Throughout the Back to the Future movie series, we are convinced that the two protagonists, Marty and Doc Brown, are completely immune to the shocking and unforeseen alterations that their time-skipping shenanigans create. Other characters have experienced dramatic changes: George (Marty’s dad) went from being wimpy to successful, Biff goes from evil to a pansy, then becomes evil-er, and vice versa.

But no matter what, Marty and the Doc were always the ones that kept their true selves intact long enough to save the day.

But not anymore.

Citizen Brown breaks that streak when a small change in young Doc’s life from the previous episode takes him away from the path of science, replacing his love of fancy gizmos and gallant swindling of Libyan terrorists with a love for law, order and, most importantly, civil obedience. He basically gets all the fun sucked right out of him.

Marty returns to 1986 with a bang, crashing the DeLorean into a billboard featuring Doc’s new persona, 1st Citizen Brown, a Big Brother-esque overlord of Hill Valley. With the DeLorean now grounded (or maybe signed?), Marty must make his way into the gleaming Utopian city and break as many rules as possible in order to win an audience with Do … 1st Citizen Brown and convince him that he missed the turn on the road to fate as Doc Brown, the eccentric, dog-endangering and plutonium-stealing scientist with a flair for crazy adventures and damsels in distress.

So throughout the whole of the game you will spend every waking minute of it making each character talk incessantly so you can figure out how to break each and every rule in order to gain enough attention. These horrendous rules include public displays of affection, owning a pet (pets are outlawed) and, of course, carrying liquor. And that’s really about it. From the uneventful start to the yawn-inducing moments before the rolling credits, Citizen Brown is an 1.5 hour long series of boring fetch quests. The puzzles aren’t close to challenging and the story never hit its peak.

It seemed that even the classic theme didn’t like sticking around long in this episode.

And reap the rewards of being a Citizen Plus such as $2 off big hats for Big Hat Thursday.

I was 45 minutes in and a good foot deep sunk into my couch, long since tired of clicking on question prompts, when I decided that the charm the beloved movie series had gifted the first two episodes had now disappeared. To put this plainly, Citizen Brown is not fun. I hope it’s just a temporary dip in the quality of the so far decent game series. It’s a letdown, especially since I enjoyed the first two episodes. The second one, Get Tannen! had a great plot and the interesting characters and situations kept my attention and left me eager for the third episode. Now with the end of this one, I can only look forward to a possible recovery of the quality lost after the second episode.

Final Truth:

After Get Tannen! ended I was left feeling hopeful for the continuing increase of quality for the final three episodes of Back to the Future The Game. But after the first episode jogged out the gate, Citizen Brown causes the game to stumble to a crawl. By now we’re three episodes in and gamers who have made it this far are already committed to finishing the series. I can only hope that the next episode, Double Visions, brings the game back up to speed, making Citizen Brown the only speed bump on our way to hitting 88 mph.

Rating: 6/10 ★★★★★★☆☆☆☆ 

+ Aesthetics and audio still top notch.
- Endless fetch quests are not fun.

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About the Author

Video game journalist since 2006, and gaming since he was old enough to use an Atari joystick. Follow me: @Cam_is_16bit



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