The hit film Back to the Future is thirty years old! That mean’s it’s almost old enough to be as cynical, jaded a git as I am. In celebration of this momentous occasion, we look at some of the best time travelers in PlayStation’s twenty year history. Being PlayStation based, this means we can’t do any jokes about Blinx the Timesweeper sadly, but hey, just mentioning it is kind of a joke, right? Anyway, here we go.
Desmond Miles (Assassin’s Creed series, hit 90’s TV series Desmond’s)
We start off with a bit of a cheat, as Desmond doesn’t really time travel, but he is able to relive the past via his own timeline thanks to the Animus. So while there are no hilarious time-travel cliches about meeting his great-great-great grandad and accidentally seducing a relative, he did get to be a bunch of people more interesting than he. It’s a shame we never got to see the point in his timeline where his Guyanese dad runs a barbers in Peckham in the early 90s. Imagine the Only Fools and Horses crossover potential!
Sergeant Cortez (Timesplitters: Future Perfect)
Ahh, Timesplitters, how I rue your demise, thanks in part to Haze, cause of the most depressing company downfall since a flock of pigeons were put in charge of SEGA’s PR department. It’s been ten years since the final entry in the series and its first fleshed-out protagonist in the quip-happy, time-hopping Sergeant Cortez. His epic journey to find the Time Crystals sees him go back and forth through the ages, taking in the sights and righting wrongs like Doctor Who; if Doctor Who was American, and solved problems with guns. I think that’s the plot to Sliders?
The Doctor (Doctor Who: The Eternity Clock, Lego Dimensions)
Naturally, after mentioning the good Doctor, we move onto the Time Lord himself. His Matt Smith incarnation had a PS3 and Vita game from Until Dawn creators Supermassive Games. It wasn’t very good though, serving as a reminder that while Until Dawn is Supermassive’s David Tennant, The Eternity Clock was its Colin Baker. Never mind though, because Lego Dimensions will alter the timeline by having a wonderfully cool lego-fied Peter Capaldi and Tardis to muck about in, and each time he dies he regenerates into one of his earlier forms. Lovely.
Max Caulfield (Life is Strange)
Of all our intrepid time travelers, poor Max Caulfield has the absolute least fun with it. Only able to rewind time a short amount at first, the opportunity to use her powers to make things better for herself and others brings more misery than repeatedly viewing the list of upcoming first party releases for the PS Vita. Owing more to the consequence heavy films like The Butterfly Effect and Donnie Darko than Back to the Future or Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, it’s been an emotional ride for Max, and not a particularly happy one for players either (a fine game though).
Ratchet and Clank (Ratchet and Clank: Future series)
The PS3 Future series of Ratchet and Clank games revolved around the lone Lombax’s search for his tin buddy Clank and the time-altering Great Clock’s misuse potentially tearing apart space and time; all while reeling from the discovery of what happened to his race. The use of Time Portals in Crack in Time saw Ratchet and Clank able to manipulate the local timeline to get themselves out of some hairy situations. Presumably the secret ending of the last game, Nexus, was the duo erasing the previous games from history so it could be rebooted next year.
More crazy time travelers overleaf.
Sly Cooper (Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time)
The black sheep (who is actually a raccoon) of the Sony platforming family still has some of the most fun adventures. Like all reputable platform series (and Crash Bandicoot), you have to have a time travel plot to at least one entry, and Sly waited till his fourth installment for his. In Thieves in Time, Sly and his gang go through time meeting the light-fingered raccoon’s ancestors in order to save the present (or steal something, more likely that) all of whom are also thieves. You see? Now you know it is true when a council estate yobbo says they can’t help nicking stuff because it’s all they’ve ever known. Even their Neanderthal precursors probably wore caps and baggy jogging bottoms.
Crash Bandicoot (Crash Bandicoot: Warped)
Look, I only included the orange gurner because he’s inexplicably still a draw to the same people who believe Spyro the Dragon was a game changer. The worst thing Naughty Dog has ever created joined a rich lineage of platformers that have time travel (see above) with Warped; the third entry into the catalogue of horrors known as the Crash Bandicoot series. Crash’s hub world acted as a time machine to shoehorn in historic favourites such as the age of the dinosaurs, the Middle Ages and a futurescape that is probably responsible for the future setting of Naughty Dog’s superior platforming franchise’s first sequel Jak II, which also had time travel woven into it (although done ever so slightly better). It is believed someone went back in time to try and erase any memory of how terrible Crash games were and, instead, instilled a false sense of nostalgic warmth in the general public for them. Crash Team Racing was good though.
Doc Brown and Marty McFly (Telltale’s Back to the Future, Lego Dimensions)
How can you do a feature that began as a tenuous link to Back to the Future and not include Michael J Fox’s second best character behind Doc Hollywood? Sadly, there is no time travellng Teen Wolf game, but we do have a couple of fairly recent appearances by BttF’s Marty McFly to make do with, and Christopher Lloyd’s Doc Brown too, though I’m still holding out for a romp through history with Uncle Fester from The Addams Family. First up was Telltale’s episodic series that serves as a continuation of the films and sees Marty trying to absolve Doc of a crime in the past. It contained lots of fanservice and some original cast members returning to reprise their roles (though Michael J Fox makes a cameo as another character entirely instead of voicing McFly) and did a novel thing of being a point n’ click adventure from Telltale that featured actual puzzles. It wasn’t a bad series either, if a little messy in places, but like that other hip and happening time traveler Doctor Who, the pair are reappearing in videogame form thanks to Lego Dimensions. No word on a Lego Huey Lewis and the News set though.