Friday 29 August 2014

Panic Restaurant (NES review)

Developer: EIM
Publisher: Taito
Released: 1992

In this platform game, you play the role of Cookie who has had his restaurant overtaken by rival chef Ohdove.

To win it back you must work your way into the restaurant and battle a range of food monsters including pizzas, microwaves and apples that explode into needle-like segments! You're armed with a frying pan but you can collect power-ups that include a spoon (extended reach), a fork (allows you to bounce on enemy's heads) and dishes (which you can throw from a distance). Once you've destroyed an enemy they'll drop coins that can be used in the end of level slot machine where you can win extra lives, points and hearts. The game's bosses are hysterical and include a hamburger, an ice cream cone and a wok! In terms of graphics, these are some of the best you'll find on the NES with bright, colourful stages and smooth animation. The music is excellent and the sound effects are so good that they remind me of walking into an old arcade room! However, even though there are a couple of mini-games to break up the action, the game can get repetitive as the gameplay stays the same throughout. The uninspired level design doesn't help matters either and there are very few surprises or standout moments. Fortunately, Panic Restaurant doesn't outstay its welcome and the game's six stages can be completed in around 20-30 minutes. It's somewhat challenging on your first playthrough but once you know what's around the corner you'll have little trouble progressing.

It's a shame the developers didn't add more variety and improve the level design as there's the seed of a really good game here. Don't get me wrong, Panic Restaurant is fun but by the final stage you'll start to grow tired of its thin gameplay.

Random trivia: The main boss is supposed to be called Hors d'Oeuvre (French for 'first course') - however, an error occurred when translating it from Japanese to English and he became known as Ohdove!

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