So, it’s been a long while since the last food game. A really long while. And I’m really sorry about that. I couldn’t really tell you what MADE it so late besides… well, life, I guess. That, and… to be honest, I’m kinda sick about writing about food games right now. There’s only so many platformers you can write about, and while there’s puzzle games and party games and all sorts of weirdness along with the platformers… I’m not going to stop entirely, I’m just going to move onto some different stuff until I’m reedy to tackle them again.
However! Before we put this on the back burner, let’s check out one more game. It’s even one that I don’t hate and want to die, this time!
So, McDonald’s. What all can you say about them that hasn’t been already thought and said by like 90% of the western hemisphere? Personally? I’ve never been all that fond of them. Their burgers are way too greasy, and they come slathered in these little pieces of onion. I HATE onions.
But, yeah, that’s not the point. What do you think of when you think of McDonald’s? The burgers? Nah. The playplaces that were usually always wet and slippery, leaving you to bang and scrape your knees everywhere? Nope. Their desperate attempts to appeal to hipsters with overpriced coffee? Close, but not quite.
Yeah, this dude. Remember Ronald McDonald? McDonald’s would prefer you didn’t, with their new advertising campaign of ‘WE CAN BE STARBUCKS TOO REALLY’ having phased him out entirely. But back in the 90’s, and long, long before that, Ronald was the official mascot of not only McDonald’s, but hamburgers in general, along with his other colorful pals, like the Hamburglar, and Two-Armed Non-Evil Grimace.
So, in the 90’s, McDonald’s, much like it always was, was popular. Video games, much like they always were, were popular. Clearly, the smart thing to do would be to make McDonald’s video games, right? And so they did.
McKids for the NES was a colorful, Mario-esque platformer where Ronald sends out two small children to do his dirty work in retrieving his missing magic crap for him. Mick and Mack as the Global Gladiators on the Genesis, however, was a darker, grittier game where Ronald sends out two small children to do his dirty work in… saving the environment, or something? Both interesting games in their own way, and games I’ll look into some day. Maybe.
McDonald’s Treasure Land Adventure? Well, that’s another story entirely. See, somebody actually had the bright idea of having Treasure handle making a McDonald’s game. Yes. I do mean THAT Treasure.
Of course, this was before Alien Soldier, Guardian Heroes, Mischief Makers, and pretty much anything else they had under their belt. This had actually come out about a year after Gunstar Heroes. Not sure what possessed them to take on a licensed game like this so soon in their lifespan, but I guess they REALLY needed the money?
So, what is this thing actually about? We can infer from the title that it involves treasure, and, well, Treasure. There may also be an adventure along the way, one that may or may not take place on land.
Wait, wait, hold up. ‘Bad’ guys? All these random monsters seem to have done is find random pieces of some treasure map lying around, just like Ronald. They haven’t really done anything that would put them in the category of ‘bad’, yet we have to seek them out and murder them one by one, anyway. Bah. Continue with this silly plot.
And so, with that very necessary bit of exposition, the game begins in Stage 1, the Magical Forest. The entire land is so damn magical, apparently, that every stage is ‘Magical ____’.
OK, so, before I start getting into the game itself, let me make one thing clear. This actually is, legitimately, a GOOD game. Sure, it’s not AMAZING or anything, especially comparing to Treasure’s later work like Dynamite Headdy. But after you play crap like M&Ms Shell Shocked, you start to take on a whole new apprecation for decent platformers.
So, here’s how the basic gameplay works, starting from the screenshot above. On the lower left are Ronald’s gems, which work as both his points and a tradable object. Yeah, don’t ask me. If you look above them, you’ll see I’m currently in Expert difficulty, because I’m a man’s man who plays games about magic clowns. The red and white flowers, shown after the gem meter, will give Ronald another hit if he picks up 2 or 3 of the same type. And after that is Ronald’s inventory, showing his current power level, number of balloons, how much Golds (it’s Japan, don’t ask me) he’s currently holding, as well as his lives and continues.
So what can Ronald do? Well, he can throw sparkles out of his hand, which cause enemies to violently explode. Hey, man, McDonaldland is a tough place.
But the main ‘gimmick’ of the game is that Ronald has a magic scarf that he can toss onto certain handles to cling to them. It’s a little bit like the little orange guys Dynamite Headdy grappled on to get to higher places, so I guess this game was kind of a ‘beta’ for that whole concept. Ronald can’t actually use the scarf to attack enemies or something, because… well. It’s still just a scarf.
I’m not going to lie to you, readers. On the Expert level of this game, I got DESTROYED. Completely and utterly. See how Ronald has three gems? Well, pretty much any enemy attack on this difficulty will take away from them, killing Ronald instantly unless he happens to have some flowers on him. Sure, you can eventually upgrade his maximum gem count through Golds, but you probably won’t be able to survive that long.
So, yeah, for the purposes of this post, I’m going to have to ratchet the difficulty down to the Normal setting so I’ll have some kind of chance of getting anywhere. Yes, I had to turn down the difficulty on the game about McDonald’s. If you were going to laugh at me, you probably would have done it when I posted a blog about playing a game about frickin’ Ronald McDonald.
So how does the game actually play? Pretty well, really. There’s nothing to really set it apart from pretty much any other platformer made that year besides the whole scarf thing, and things never get quite as crazy as say, Gunstar Heroes. But it controls well, it’s nice and colorful, like you’d EXPECT a game about Ronald McDonald to be, and it’s, barring playing on Expert mode, not a tough game to beat at all.
Something else that’s also nice is that Ronald can stop in certain doors that lead to… what are apparently McDonald’s franchises. Only instead of offering you artery-exploding food, they offer you helpful powerups to use your gold on. No, sorry, Golds.
And so, after braving the Magical Forest, fighting off giant turtles, alien rabbits, and dwarves trying to smite him with thunder, Ronald finds himself in a cave. Is the cave magical? The game doesn’t say, but it would be safe to assume so.
And the game is totally fine with you ditching him. I mean, he IS asking you for two hit points, and those don’t grow on trees. However, you WILL meet Ronald’s other mooching friends, and they WILL But Thou Must you out of your health.
Sooner or later, you’ll meet the boss, one of those so called ‘bad guys’ who just happened to find another piece of paper lying around at more or less the same time you did. AND FOR THAT THEY WILL BE PUNISHED.
OK, so, all the bosses basically work like this. They all have this weird tractor mouth beam thing that’ll take away one of your gems. You WANT this to hit you, though, because for some reason, Ronald’s magic will only hurt them while they’re chewing your gem. I guess they get too distracted to block or something. Occasionally, they’ll drop in little minions you can kill to get some more gems if you run low. This guy’s pretty easy since that’s pretty much ALL he can do, but later bosses will actually put up more of a fight. As you’d expect.
So, after Magical Forest, you go onto the second stage of four. This time, it’s Magical Town, which… starts on a train, before actually going into the town proper. I guess Magical Train/Town wouldn’t be magical enough.
Venturing on, Ronald encoutners… oh, damn it.
You know the deal here.
And then, after Ronald braves a particulary dark tunnel, he comes across… across… well…
After that, Ronald finds himself face to face with the wicked circus owner. Locked in mortal combat (but not kombat, big difference), they don’t notice the train slamming itself into the barricade some idiot put on the track.
Will Ronald become a brightly colored smear on the ground? Will the forces of evil… have it their way? Who could posses the next piece of the map?
I don’t know, I’m bored with this now.