Friday, March 3, 2017

BurgerTime Deluxe (GB) Review

🍔Written: March 2nd-3rd, 2017🍔
(As played on the Super Game Boy)
Year: 1990, 1991 | Developed and Published by: Data East
Hello everyone, StarBoy91 here; passionate about video games, big retrophile, and fan of all things 16-bit, which this game is not... crap.  =|
Image from Wikipedia; Happy 35th Anniversary, you classic arcade game
On June 1982 came the Data East arcade game Hamburger as released in Japan, but when it came to the Western counterparts it would be rechristened as BurgerTime which you may no doubt recognize it as.
It was a huge hit upon release as it would spawn many home conversions for '80s consoles (Atari 2600, Intellivision, ColecoVision, Famicom/NES) and computers (Apple II, Mattel Aquarius, PC Booter, Commodore 64, TI-99/4A, PC-8000, Sharp MZ-80K/700/800/1500, Sharp X1, MSX) alike.  Many people who played it felt that it delivered the goods with its simple yet hard to master gameplay as Peter Pepper tried to make burgers while having to contend with sentient sausages (Mr. Hot Dog), eggs (Mr. Egg), and pickles (Mr. Pickle).
Data East's classic would also influence BurgerTime knockoffs like Mr. Wimpy to name one and the protagonist Peter Pepper would be one of numerous video game characters to cameo in Disney's affectionate 2012 animated love letter to video games with the video game movie hit Wreck-It Ralph.
Before long BurgerTime would garner a 1984 arcade-exclusive spinoff called Peter Pepper's Ice Cream Factory where he's transcended the burger-making business in favor of ice cream (because that's the first thing you think of with a character named "Peter Pepper" involved), by comparison having seen a very limited release and did nowhere near as good as the first game (likely due to the unfortunate Video Game Crash that occurred the year prior).  This would be the only game where ice cream making would be the goal in the series as all the subsequent games afterward would focus strictly on crafting burgers (including the unofficial Intellivision sequel Diner and the arcade follow-up Super BurgerTime where you took control of Peter Pepper Jr.).
On February 1991 the Game Boy handheld saw the release of BurgerTime Deluxe in Japan which would be released in America that March with Europe following suit later in the year which borrowed the template from the original arcade game but updated and added some things to make its own.  How fares it?
In this game Peter Pepper's Burger establishment is being threatened by the newly formed competition Nuten Doughnut to which its manager has ordered his forces to take you out by all means necessary.  You must do what you can to survive these forces and make your way to the top to preserve the burger-making business.
It's go time
As Peter Pepper the goal is to make burgers with all its layers placed in each stage's section (each area comprising of four parts), with the only way to drop them to the descending section being by walking over them, with entry to the subsequent stage being accessed by clearing the entire stage.  There to make your life a living hell however are the forces of Mr. Hot Dog, Mr. Pickle, Mr. Egg, and during the last four stages Mr. Doughnut as they will attempt to trap you with no way out unless you outmaneuver them in these intricately maze-like (but not really) setups with the only way to defend yourself being by sprinkling pepper on your foes which will temporarily incapacitate them--unfortunately you only have a small amount of that arsenal and refills are few and far between (if you can get to them alive at least) as you begin each game (or continue) with five.

Must avoid contact with that pickle
In each area are different sections which you can get to by climbing the stairs, which is the only way to bypass the enemies in pursuit of you whenever the opportunity arises.  Any time you walk over a layer of a burger by itself it'll fall down and take the place of what was below it if there's anything below it otherwise it just lands one section below you; however, if there is an enemy or more on the burger layer while you just finished unhinging it the weight of the enemy or enemies will cause said layer to fall more than one section and therefore make the other layers follow suit.  Each enemy pops up from a door and during the first few seconds of its arrival it's undergoing invincibility time which means that said enemy will not hurt you so long as it's not solid; one of the ways to take the enemy out is by squishing them with the layer you just unhinged while they stand below you.

"I've no choice but to give you the drop"
Every once in awhile an icon will pop up that will aid you in the process, depending on what layers and/or enemies you took out: there's the pepper shaker and cup of coffee which will give you one extra pepper sprinkler, there are fries that will take out all enemies at once the moment you touch it, consuming a bar of chocolate will render Peter invulnerable to enemy contact for a momentary period (as well as temporarily incapacitate the enemies who you touch in this state), and lastly there's the Peter Pepper icon which will net you a life.  More often than not they are placed in the most inconvenient of places during these areas and will be available to grab for about ten or more seconds in which case they'll disappear should you not reach them on time.

Super Peter Pepper
The visuals, done by Y. Yamamoto (who would go on to be the senior graphic artist for Tatakae Genshijin 3: Shuyaku wa yappari Joe & Mac/Joe & Mac 2: Lost in the Tropics/Joe & Mac 3: Lost in the Tropics) and Seiichirō Ishiguro (Nintendo 8-bit RoboCop, World Grand Prix - Pole to Finish/Al Unser Jr. Turbo Racing/Turbo Racing, Game Boy Side Pocket), are simple enough but manage to retain the classic charm of the old arcade game while having slight updates.  Each set of areas are adorned with brick walls but have got differing elements to distinguish themselves from the past areas: in some stages are windows with a dinner table with two chairs, in certain stages are signs that have either the word "Burger" or "Open" or "Thanks" to name a few examples, and there are different kinds of lamps attached to the walls.  Peter's animations are simple, especially as he goes all bug-eyed and incredulous as an enemy touches him and his cheering animation is cute as a stage is finished.  His pursuers all animate decently whether they're moving or being squished, and I love how the burger layer plops as it falls down the descending sections.
Is Peter Pepper a pig in this game?  Either that is the most awkward keeled over pose ever or he's got a giant, round arse
Each time all four parts of the area are cleared you'll not only be greeted with a simple four character password but also get to watch a brief cutscene, largely at the expense of Peter as he either gets squished by a burger bun or climbs down an escape rope so fast that he perishes in flames (dark).  At one point he enters a restaurant not knowing until it's too late that a Mr. Hot Dog is there who comes out wearing Peter's cooking garb as Peter exits out buck-naked.  Heheh, I love that Data East felt the need to include that as one of five different password icons...  =\

Almost done with this stage
Seiichi Hamada (Makai Hakkenden Shada, Herakles no Eikō II: Titan no MetsubōDarwin 4081, Game Boy Side Pocket), Seiji Yamanaka (Tantei Jingūji Saburō: Toki no Sugiyuku Mama ni, Game Boy Side Pocket), and Takafumi Miura (Nintendo 8-bit Heavy Barrel, Game Boy Lock 'n' Chase, Game Boy Side Pocket) all contribute to BurgerTime Deluxe's sound department, and the music is serviceably catchy.  =)  The melodies are brief, sure, but there is at least a sense of variety as the music changes every two full areas: the music for the first two areas is bouncy and upbeat as you're just getting into the controls, the third and fourth areas' music sound like the equivalent of something you'd hear in a rodeo as the main players are being introduced circling around the arena (at least to me it does anyway), and the fifth and sixth area music gets into the real nitty gritty as things are really starting to get tough--nothing spectacular, but it beats hearing the same song over and over throughout the course of the game.  The pepper sprinkling sound is adequate, the sound for when you walk on top of a layer is decent, there's a sound cue any time a helpful item pops up, and when you get the items in question the sound effects actually vary (like the cup of coffee that has got a swallow-like sound when you grab it).

Time to wrap this up, yolks
Since its release BurgerTime Deluxe has gotten a middling to generally positive reception, with the common word of mouth stating that while it's nothing special it is worth playing despite its sheer sense brevity.  In 2000 there was a Flintstones-themed BurgerTime license for the Game Boy Color in the form of The Flintstones: BurgerTime in Bedrock by Conspiracy Entertainment; in 2003 G-Mode acquired the majority of Data East's property after they went bankrupt, with the release Data East Arcade Classics on the Nintendo Wii in 2010 that included the original BurgerTime and Peter Pepper's Ice Cream Factory (and thirteen other, nonrelated games) and this game seeing a Nintendo 3DS eShop rerelease in 2011; 2009 debuted the Namco release of BurgerTime Deluxe on the iPhone and Windows and Apple computers (not to be confused with this game); culminating in the latest entry of the series BurgerTime World Tour which was a 3D update that came out on the Nintendo Wii's WiiWare, PlayStation 3's PlayStation Network, and Xbox 360's Xbox Live Arcade from 2011 to 2012.

I was a very young kid when I played BurgerTime Deluxe on the Game Boy during the mid '90s, which was the very first time I played a game with the "BurgerTime" moniker attached, and my sister and I liked it roughly two decades ago so I do have a small fondness for this game (even though back then my gaming skills were not as good or as evolved as they are now).  One of the things I often did when I was younger visiting some of my cousins in Italy was play games on the Plug and Play (in America I played with the SNES and Nintendo 64 consoles over at my relatives), not realizing at the time that many of the games available on it were real Nintendo 8-bit games until the 2000's when I fully embraced the internet (didn't matter which continent the Plug and Play was available in, chances are you would wind up playing games that never came out in America and/or Europe in an official capacity... too bad 8-bit games ran at 50 Hz speed in PAL regions); I was surprised when one of the games on it was BurgerTime, it was similar to BurgerTime Deluxe but not quite the same (it had color) that I initially thought that the original came out after the Game Boy game... obviously it was the other way around (the thing about Plug and Plays was that the copyright information would be taken out entirely, likely to avoid getting lawsuits from the respective companies).  So that was a fascinating experience.

Sprinkle action
BurgerTime Deluxe is a largely manageable game to play once you know exactly what to do, plus there are unlimited continues if you're to try to prolong your current sitting (however, doing so will start you back in the first part of the current area you're in).  The real challenge comes from trying not to resort to the pepper sprinkler so easily and often because it's something that runs out very quickly, so in order to preserve it you should simply focus on walking--be it just moving around, completely unhinging the burger layer with the enemy or enemies on top of it, or squishing the enemies below you.  Something you may notice is that they will go wherever you go; so say that enemy is a section below you and you stay above, therefore it will go up to your section regardless of whether you stayed on top of it or are going down from it.  Essentially half the time what you're doing is playing a game of "Follow the Leader" as the enemies are trailing against you, but trust me, that's going to save you on plenty of occasions (it's not completely foolproof, but it is an effective strategy when applied properly).  Pausing the game when it comes to stages that are wider than the screen would allow you to survey your left and right to see if the coast is clear or not.

Another thing you may notice is that the helpful items would pop up depending on the specific layer(s) or enemies you took out (and which ones are important, but there are some moments where you may have to ignore them because the enemies in question would be near it or attempt to trap you should you have no peppers on you; also, there are stairs that would pop up that weren't there before once you cleared a columns' worth of layers).  The difficulty does amp itself up just slightly with each successive area, but what'll prove to be the most taxing and infuriating set of stages are the last four that dominate the sixth area... well, okay, the last two.  Several years ago I tried playing through this game but never could succeed in beating it no matter how many times I tried, so I decided not to press on with it then (but was pleased that I had gone farther than I ever have before); very recently I started the game anew and got up to the sixth area again but struggled to beat Area 6.3 and 6.4--the last of which is demanding in terms of design (there were moments when I came close to succeeding but failed and had to start the sixth area all over again after the last life has been spent)--that after countless attempts it began to be frustrating to the point that I was going to review this game whether or not I actually beat it (the latter would've been a big no-no for me).  Thankfully, I managed to beat it after countless tries on my last life with no peppers (how is it that I manage to beat some games for the first time on my very last life?  It's very disconcerting).  =D

Did someone say "Sausage Party"?
BurgerTime Deluxe is very short and can be beaten in a very short time if you stick with it without fail; it might not be a great game but that's not what it set out to do--Data East just wanted to create a simple little game with an '80s arcade flavor to it with a few updated touches which they managed to pull off fairly decently in my opinion.  If you like BurgerTime or wish to play an installment of the BurgerTime series this Game Boy outing is not a bad time to spend, just try not to lose it when it comes to the last two stages; if you want to play something bigger you're not exactly going to find it here; but if simple arcade fun is what you're looking for then this will serve you just fine.  =)

My Personal Score: 6.5/10
<( ^o^)TO EACH THEIR OWN^(^o^ )>
P.S. Clips of Wreck-It Ralph screengrabbed from my Region 1 DVD of it, property of Disney.  Still a really great movie, I look forward to seeing what they do with the sequel next March.  =D  And yes, I am aware that Peter Pepper also appeared in Chris Columbus' Pixels, but I haven't seen that one.
Thank you for reading my review, please leave me a comment (spam will not be tolerated) and let me know what you think.  Hope you have a great day, take care!  =)
Wait a damn minute: ninety-eight lives and ninety-five peppers???  o_O (2:50-2:55)

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