BurgerTime Deluxe
Platform:  Game Boy
Players:  1-2 (when linked)

    While a game about making burgers may sound mundane, BurgerTime is in fact one of the most intense and hair-raising maze type games ever released.  The premise of the original game was simple:  The player controls Peter Pepper, a short order chef with a knack for stacking perfect burgers.  Buns, hamburger patties, lettuce, tomato, cheese - all Peter Pepper's specialty.  However Mr. Hot Dog, Mr. Egg, and Mr. Pickle are on the run to prevent Peter Pepper from assembling his burgers.  Armed with nothing but your wits and a pinch of pepper, it's up to you to guide Peter Pepper on his burger building escapades.  The game became an undeniable classic of the golden era of arcades and arcade games.  The arcade sequel, Peter Pepper's Ice Cream Factory, changed things up quite a bit but a few years later a true sequel would show up on the Game Boy in the form of BurgerTime Deluxe.  While the "Deluxe" treatment was somewhat commonly shoved onto Game Boy and Game Boy Color releases, with BurgerTime Deluxe it's less of an enhancement and more of a completely new sequel.

Description:  Things are going pretty well for our burger flipping hero, Peter Pepper.  His burger restaurant is open and doing nicely.  However a rival food store, the donut shop "Ninten Doughnut" opens up next door and its crazed proprietor sends Mr. Hot Dog after Peter Pepper.  Unsurprisingly Mr. Pickle and Mr. Egg aren't far behind and Peter must fight back as only he can - with a drop of burger fixings and a pinch of pepper.  While the enemies pose the biggest and only threat to our quick footed chef, the objective remains assembling burgers.  Dropping a burger fixing with an enemy atop it will cause it to fall an additional level, however the enemy will simply be temporarily stunned after taking the ride.  Dropping a burger fixing onto an enemy below will crush it and remove it from the board.  Eventually it will rejoin from an entry door of which the locations of are different on each stage.  Throwing pepper at an enemy will stun it temporarily.  While throwing pepper makes it easier to corral multiple enemies on or under a burger fixing, the attack is usually used as a means of last resort.  As one gets further into the game the amount of enemies constantly ramps up and pepper becomes more useful for escape than attack.

However pepper isn't the only trick Peter has under his chef's hat.  BurgerTime Deluxe adds new powerup items in addition to what was in the arcade.  Pepper shakers will give Peter an additional pinch of pepper to throw and grabbing a cup of coffee adds bonus points to the player's score.  A pack of french fries will eliminate all enemies on the stage but they will eventually return through the enemy entry doors.  Chocolate is the most valuable addition to the game as it makes Peter invincible for a short time.  During this time touching enemies will stun them, allowing an experienced player to rack up big time points from well placed burger drops.  Another power up, that appears to be a potato, will turn all the enemies into Mr. Hot Dog, the easiest to evade of Peter's foes.  Extra lives also pop up from time to time, of course picking them up should be a top priority.

Graphics:  For a Game Boy title BurgerTime Deluxe looks great.  Everything is well animated with fitting backgrounds and solid animation of all sprites.  There's nothing incredible going on but the game looks as it should and everything is clear and detailed.  When large amounts of enemies are on screen there's a touch of slowdown but never bad sprite flicker or ghosting, which is very important in a game that requires as much concentration as this.  All the graphics look as they did in the arcade but have enhanced details to give a more cartoon like appearance.  It should be noted that Mr. Egg has undergone a complete change from a walking fried egg into a hard boiled egg in half a shell.  When the new Mr. Egg is crushed by a burger fixing he appropriately smashes and cracks like an eggshell.  After each bracket of stages are complete a humorous little animation plays, usually showing how unlucky Peter can be.

Sound:  It's BurgerTime so sound isn't a huge part of the game but it is here and nicely complements the rest of the game.  The classic BurgerTime music is enhanced with several new tunes but every one sounds like it belongs.  The little jingle that plays before the start of each stage is exactly as it was in the arcade original and sound effects alert the player when a bonus item pops up somewhere on the level.  The sounds of burgers dropping and pepper being thrown also sound as they did in the arcade.  All in all the audio is very upbeat and frantic, matching the gameplay perfectly.

Play Control:  Thankfully Data East didn't try to reinvent anything here.  The directional pad moves Peter Pepper and both the B and A buttons are used to throw pepper.  This is how it has always been with BurgerTime and how it always should be - simple.  Movement is exacting and responsive.  If you make a mistake it's your mistake, not the game's.

Replay:  With classic arcade games the replay usually comes down to attempting to achieve higher scores.  BurgerTime Deluxe does in fact have an ending but the route to it will take quite some time.  Even the most experienced BurgerTime players will find plenty of challenge here with over twenty completely different stages.  A simple password function comprised of four icons allows players to resume their progress, beginning at the first stage of each area bracket.  I consider myself a moderate BurgerTime player and had fairly smooth sailing until around Area 3.1 when things began to get pretty tricky.  Some stages actually don't have all the ladders in place at the start.  Instead they appear as the stage is traveled, creating some very taxing situations.  This alone greatly expands the amount of play that can be had with this cartridge.  While it may not be a game that begs to be played again immediately after completion, it is a title that you will come back to - either for a quick arcade session or to spend hours working through the more difficult areas.

Final Verdict:  If you like BurgerTime then this is a game you really must own.  It truly is the perfect complement and true sequel to one of the most popular arcade games ever created.  What I love most is how it consistently throws new things at you but retains the formula that began in the arcade.  One of the more interesting changes is in the size of some of the burgers.  Instead of all burgers being the same width, BurgerTime Deluxe adds in some very large burgers, sometimes taking up half the width of the screen.  These add a new challenge and enhanced aspect of strategy to the game.  While the larger fixings mean it's easier to smash enemies under them, it also means it takes far longer to completely run across one.  Many of the stages after the first couple of levels are larger than the size of the screen and scroll with Peter as he moves.  This scrolling is smooth and at no time does the game make you feel like it's taking control away from you.  In fact on these stages pausing the game allows you to scroll around and view the entire level with the directional pad.  Even later stages actually loop horizontally, again adding a new challenge.  As soon as you feel that you have mastered a new addition, the game again throws something new at you but still in the context of a classic.  In a way this is very similar to the Donkey Kong release on the Game Boy, which did much of the same.

I usually don't recommend spending more than a few bucks on a Game Boy title but for this one I'll make an exception.  I paid $10.00 for a loose copy and actually would have paid a little more.  Very surprisingly this game is somewhat unknown and as with many great Game Boy games, simply got lost in the shuffle.  BurgerTime Deluxe is a no brainier game to pick up.  Without a doubt it will be an original Game Boy title that you will come back to time and time again.

Written on 11-07-10 by David, insanedavid@classicplastic.net

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