If game designers only learned one lesson from the entire NES era, it should have been this – don’t put any parts in your games that resemble the 3rd level of Battletoads. The infamous “speederbike level” had you piloting a little motorcycle across the stage, only the thing went so damn fast that you needed ESP (or, more likely, memorization) to make all the jumps and dodge the various obstacles. And if there’s some reason why you do end up having to put a section like that in your game, don’t make it the very first level. At least let people enjoy your game for a few minutes. Even Battletoads figured that part out.
Which brings us to Back to the Future III. The game opens without so much as an introduction before throwing you right into its own version of the speederbike level – chasing a runaway stagecoach on horseback. On my first try, I didn’t even have enough time to figure out which was the jump button before crashing into a rock. On my next try, I jumped the rock but was then hit by a tomahawk. Then I was attacked by a bird. Then my horse tripped over a box. Then I got tomahawked again. Then my horse stopped short of a ravine and send me flying. Then a cowboy rode up behind me and shot me. After that, it was another bird. And after every four crashes, you’re treated to a screen showing your girlfriend falling off a cliff and have to start all over. Good times.
We’re not even sure if they bothered to make a second level.