Who could forget Burger Time, the tasty ’80s arcade game that challenged players to build hamburgers and avoid running into the nasty toppings. Even fitness guru Jillian Michaels, star of The Biggest Loser, says she spent many a quarter on this frantic arcade puzzler back in the day.
Well, it’s back. Namco Networks has resurrected this classic but while adding new game-play elements, better graphics, bigger levels (both vertically and horizontally) and minigames, too. It’s not perfect, but a delicious update nonetheless.
If case you’ve never played the original, or if it’s been a while, you must navigate around various platforms, connected by ladders, and assemble hamburgers in order to clear the levels. You do this by walking over the parts of the burger — such as the bun, tomato, lettuce and cheese — so that it falls down to the lower platform and eventually making it onto a tray in the correct sandwich order. Sounds easy, sure, but keep in mind you’ve got nasty foods who want to harm you, so you must avoid them or use your pepper spray to stun them long enough to get away. Or better yet, trap these ingredients onto one of the burger’s layers and they’ll fall down and become part of the lunch for extra points.
Burger Time Deluxe offers both a Quick Play mode and a Story mode. I recommend the latter first, as that’s the one with a tutorial. You choose to play as either chef Peter Pepper or Sally Salt and your uncle will tell you about the mean Vinnie Vinegar who wants to put the family’s popular hamburger hut out of business. In order to do so, Vinnie’s henchmen are dispatched to disrupt your hamburger making — this includes a fried egg, hotdog and pickle.
As you roam around the platforms to assemble each burger, you’ll learn to stay away from these baddies — even though their special powers can make it difficult to do so. The ham, for example, can speed up quickly when its near you, the carrot can drill down a platform (without needing a ladder) and the onion cries and leaves a white plume that can kill you if ran into. If you really want to rack up points, though, you’ll douse them with some pepper (by simply pressing on the spacebar) and make them fall into the sandwich.
Along with new enemies introduced in this remake, power-ups can also help players including running over a super salt shaker to temporarily hurt all the enemies’ eyes, hot sauce that sets them on fire for a few seconds and an energy drink that makes you run faster. Some, though, just give you extra points such as the teacup, ice cream and spatula. Problem is, the background art is so busy — with dozens of napkins, dishes, pots and loaves of bread per level — it’s hard to tell at first glance what you can pick up and what you cannot (after a frustrating few minutes, I explained to my wife the power-ups glow a little bit). Another oversight is not all items are explained by your uncle, such as the water dripping that can push you down the ladder or bubbles that can float you to a higher platform.
It’s optional, but if you spell a word by collecting each letter scattered throughout the platforms (such as P-E-P-P-E-R) then not only do you finish the level without having to assemble every hamburger, but you’re also treated to a hidden minigame. The first one you’ll encounter is a maze that challenges you to reach the end point (and avoid the falling hamburgers) within a predetermined time limit.
Despite the aforementioned problems with the game — including two "freezes" that had us restart the game on two occasions and a silly picture of your uncle in the corner of the screen that can block a burger you need to assemble — we enjoyed playing through Burger Time Deluxe. Fans of the original game or those who enjoy silly arcade diversions should find this remake a treat for their PC.