Super Burgertime

Super BurgertimeThe Game: Chef Peter Pepper is back, and boy, is he kawaii. As in the original Burgertime, the chef has to climb ladders and cross levels – while being chased by deadly ingredients – all in the pursuit of building the perfect giant burger. If he drops the burger on them, the chef’s opponents can become part of the meal. He can also spray them with pepper, as in the original game, or grab bonus weapons (such as a frying pan with which to brain them) from the sides of the screen when they intermittently appear. If enemies are on a bun, patty, etc. when it’s dropped, they’re temporarily taken out of play. Players advance a level by completing construction of all of the burgers. (Data East, 1988?)

Memories: Sometimes revising a “retro” title results in something really cool. And then there are the times that it doesn’t. Audiovisually, Super Burgertime is a huge step up from the original game, but the payoff for the finer graphical details and cute music is that the game play seems a little bit off.

Super Burgertime gives the player too much space to cover to complete his task, and while there are new ways to evade enemies, such as jumping (not an action Super Burgertimethat the original Burgertime permitted), the characters are so oversized that it’s almost too easy to die. Chef Peter Pepper’s hat comes in contact with the foot of a hot dog on the next level up? His goose is cooked, even if the burgers aren’t. Luckily, the game has a “continue” feature where players can add another quarter and try again without going back to the first screen. (This player winds up using that feature a lot.)

What makes Super Burgertime a must-play is the two-player cooperative 3 quartersmode. This is where the game suddenly comes into focus: it needs one player fending off the enemies so the other can build some burgers. The addition of giant hoagies is neat in principle, and there are lots of other neat touches that I really want to like. But when the neat little touches make for a big imbalance in game play, I think I’ll stick with classic Burgertime – at least in single-player mode, it’s still the best thing on the menu. Super Burgertime is best set aside as a two-player experience.