Game of the Week (9/3/17) – BurgerTime

I love a nice juicy, gooey, cheeseburger like most carnivorous Americans. I also love a certain arcade smash from the early 80s that puts you in control of a frantic and portly chef attempting to manufacture burgers while being chased by pissed off foods such as hot dogs, eggs and pickles. For the second time this year, Burger Time is my Game of the Week. I selected it as a GotW back in March when I was covering my Colecovision collection and now it’s time for me shine a light on the excellent Intellivision version.

Data East was the developer of the superlative arcade title and they worked with Bally Midway for publishing, which was my first exposure to the game. Data East then licensed the game for development on consoles and computers by several companies, most notably Mattel. Mattel developed and released a number of the early 80s ports of the game onto consoles and computers, including obviously the Intellivision version.

I gave BurgerTime on the Colecovision a very favorable review and while the graphics were better on that version, I find the controls to be much more responsive on the Intellivision version. I am attributing much to the Intellivision’s disc controller vs. the little joystick on the Colecovision which can be difficult to maneuver. I find that rolling your thumb along the disc allows you to move Peter Pepper up and down those ladders with a level of precision and timing that Colecovision’s version cannot handle. This is especially important when attempting tricky escapes and burger component drops while enemies are walking on top of and underneath them. I am not a fan of the respawning enemies right in the middle of certain platforms which can lead to some very cheap and irritating deaths. You eventually learn to live with that quirk and avoid certain platforms if you know an enemy will be respawning soon. Other than that, I really have no other complaints about the Intellivison port. Mattel was so proud of their version that they bundled as the pack-in for the Intellivision II. I can definitely score higher and get further on the Intellivision version of Burger Time than I can on the Colecovision version so maybe some of my bias is based on the fact I am simply better at this version, who knows?

In all, BurgerTime is one of my favorite games of all time and easily one of my top 5 second console generation era games. I do prefer the Intellivision version slightly over the Colecovision due to the controls and the wider screen size which makes the game slightly easier. As far as gameplay preferences, the Colecovision version seems a little cramped to me, giving you less room to work in order to avoid the food enemies. I can lure enemies to one side of the screen on the Intellivision version if necessary and I have a much harder time doing that on Colecovision. The overlays don’t add much to the game play as you only really need the disc for movement and the side buttons to throw the pepper at the enemies. The keypad buttons are used to select number of players and to start the game and that’s it. Nevertheless, the overlays are attractive as expected and worth having if you’re a huge BurgerTime fan like myself. In my opinion, this is the definitive home console version of this classic arcade title.

Rating: A+

Currently in my collection: 2 copies of the game, manual, 2 overlays, box

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