If you spent any significant amount of time at arcades during the early 80's, chances are you played BurgerTime at one point. While not as blisteringly popular as Pac-Man or Donkey Kong, the game did gain quite a following and even became a staple in many grocery stores.
We've seen quite a few of these classic 80's arcade titles get updated versions many times before, so it should come as no real surprise that BurgerTime is getting a rather intensive makeover with BurgerTime HD. And while the basic gameplay premise of making burgers while avoiding the onslaught of angry vegetables and condiments remains intact, Monkey Paw Games has managed to toss in a huge number of twists to give the title a far more modern look and feel.
Since this is a preview build of the game, some features are not included in this version that will end up in the final product, including split-screen multiplayer (no online due to file size limitations), but we were able to at least get a good feel for what the game has to offer.
The biggest update comes from the new 3D visual presentation. Not only that, but the levels are no longer built on a straight 2D plane – instead, they're basically designed with a circular layout that rotates around as your chef moves. You'll still have to run over the various layers of burgers to get them to drop down to the awaiting bun below, and while you'll have your trusty pepper shaker on hand to stun enemies, there are a host of new dangers to navigate around, including moving platforms and collapsing trap doors. While most levels in this build were similar in style and theme, each added a little more difficulty and challenge by introducing more enemies and new hazards, so there's always something new to see as you progress.
In BurgerTime HD, your chef also has a few new moves in his arsenal to make things easier. For starters he can now jump, something that can be used to avoid foes as well as traverse the host of moving platforms he'll encounter. He can also pick up stunned enemies and hurl them at oncoming bad guys, not to mention make use of special power-ups that he'll be able to grab in each level, two new twists that add a nice layer of variety to the package.
Visually, this is quite a step up from the classic arcade release, but this can be a double-edged sword in some cases. While it does make the game look incredible, having the levels rotate while things move around in the background can make seeing enemies a bit difficult at times. You'll really have to keep your eyes peeled unless you want to find yourself running into bad guys you never saw coming.
Much like the visual presentation, the game's soundtrack also gets a nice little update. There's still a hint of nostalgia in some of the musical pieces, but for the most part it's completely new, with a rather interesting 1920's musical twist to it. The score does seem a bit odd at first, but once you get into the game you realise that it strangely befits the action taking place onscreen.
We couldn't help but love the updated look and gameplay elements of BurgerTime HD, and with a good number of levels, there should be plenty for arcade fans to sink their teeth into, or so we gathered from the selection we sampled in this early build. Fans who enjoyed the original arcade classic should find it a nice trip down memory lane, and gamers who somehow missed the original release can now get the chance to experience it in a whole new way. At the very least, it's a title we'll be keeping a close eye on as development continues towards the game's summer 2011 release on WiiWare.