The almighty hamburger. A hot sandwich starting with a beef patty, topped with trimmings like lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese, and smothered with ketchup and mustard. A monetary staple for fast food drive-ins and a popular item to cook for some outdoor grillin'. It's also one of the easiest food items to cook where almost anything on it will compliment it. Almost. That is until you come across evil food. Hot dogs, eggs, and pickles are tired of being on the menu and have gone on strike! That is the formula it takes to have a little video game called BurgerTime.
The object of the game is to guide a chef, named Peter Pepper, through various mazes. Each maze contains scattered ingredients that make up a hamburger which has to be assembled on plates at the bottom of the mazes. Making hamburgers should be easy, right? Wrong. To add salt to a wound our chef is constantly being hunted down by food whose only goal is to stop chef from completing his mission. The only weapon at your disposal is the almost empty pepper shaker that was grabbed at the last minute.
For a simple sounding concept BurgerTime is anything but simple. One false move or turn will have our chef meet his demise instantly. And no matter which way our chef goes the food will not be far behind. Our chef gets very little no time to stop and get a heading on where everything is. Even stopping for a split second will end up with him being cornered with no where to run. Hit them with pepper and he can slide by. Catch one on a hamburger part when you make it fall will take that evil food with it for a long ride. Want an egg on your burger? Catch one between all the layers of the burger and it becomes part of the burger. Pick up the desserts and side items that pop up to gain extra pepper.
Originally developed by Data East and released in North America by Bally/MIDWAY BurgerTime is one of those games that's a bit of an odd-ball. Out of all the video games made there hasn't been another game that has tried to imitate or use a similar formula that makes BurgerTime tick. My Arcade managed to cram all that into a miniature arcade cabinet that's as much fun to play as it is to look at. But is it any good?
On the outside BurgerTime's cabinet contains artwork that is inspired by the original but not 100% accurate. For whatever reason the chef on the sides has an "H" on his hat where as the original chef on the real deal has a "P" for Peter Pepper. I'm not quite sure what the "H" is all about unless his name is Hamburger Harry. Maybe Peter got fired and Harry took his place? Your guess is as good as mine. At least all of the artwork fits together nicely.
All of these My Arcade Micro Players made to date remind me of the NES standard controllers with a removable joystick handle. With that you have a D-Pad/joystick combo that tries to act as a four-way joystick from the arcades. The two smaller buttons are to Start and Reset the game. The Start button doubles as a pause button for times when you need a break. For some odd reason there are two pepper buttons. Well, should one button fail there is a back-up.
Even though it uses the NES version of BurgerTime it's still a blast to play but BurgerTime on this unit is very unforgiving and very fast paced. Before you know it food will be on top of you in the blink of an eye. I have not managed to see if all the mazes from the arcade are here but I did manage to see five of them. Getting that far was not an easy task at all. Concentration is definitely the key to getting anywhere in this game. You can sometimes trick enemies to go one way while you take off in another direction. But not always.
BurgerTime has its place in video game history as one of the most original and iconic designs of all time. No matter how unforgiving this game gets its addictive and hard to put down. It is for me anyway. We hear more about Pac-Man, Dig Dug, Centipede, Frogger, and other popular games from the same era than we hear about BurgerTime. And these attractable micro arcades I have found hard to resist. My only wish is that they would have used actual arcade ROMs. BurgerTime takes its place next to my other micro arcades where it will be enjoyed time and time again. Not a bad way to preserve some of the arcade games my generation grew up with.