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Burger Time (NES) artwork

Burger Time (NES) review


"Several times, Sammy has come face to face with the white devil, only to find himself choking and sputtering on salt as the deviant rushed past. While it's true that the chef has only a limited supply of salt, he can pick up more containers throughout the area (and oft is wont to do so). When a soldier like Sammy is stunned on salt, it's all too easy to fall to his doom before he has a chance to recover."



It's a war zone out there. Perhaps no one appreciates that more fully than Sammy Sausage, the unlikely protagonist of Data East's arcade hit come home to the NES, Burger Time. Every day he goes to work, watches comrades in arms fall, then must go home and endure endless jabs from his adversaries on television. When you're a wiener like Sammy, life is hard.

Sammy, as you may or may not know, is red in color. His literal job description is to stop the evil chef from successfully grilling some of Sammy's compatriots. These fellows are easily slapped about, defenseless against the wiles of the chef who claims his role in this jihad of sorts is to make hamburgers. While the world cheers him and his apparently innocuous attempts to find mass meals for digestion, Sammy knows the frightening truth: the chef just has an eye on profits, and he's not afraid who he grills, salts, or smashes to get them.

And so, the butchery that amused sadistic humans in the arcades comes home to the NES. If you were to ask Sammy, he'd say he doesn't really care about the particulars, the 'where' and 'how.' All he knows is that, competent port or not, he could well find himself on the receiving end of a face full of salt at any moment, forced to watch in stunned silence as another dear friend perishes at the hands of the wicked chef.

Though Sammy is not alone--there's a virtual army of others like himself, each member ready to sacrifice his or her life in the same way Sammy will--he can't help but feel sometimes like the world is conspiring against him. First, there's the nature of the battlefield to consider. In even the simplest of missions, Sammy must climb up and down an assortment of green and blue ladders, then parade across brown ledges where his people have been knocked unconscious and laid out for slaughter. He has only moments to save them, and can't spare even a second to comfort them, because his adversary can easily dash around the ledges, pushing captives ever closer to an unspeakable death. Indeed, the villain (who ironically wears white) will do precisely that, knowing he has to stay a step ahead of those wieners and eggs loyal to the cause of defending the innocents.

And so goes this twisted 'game' that Sammy knows only as life. As he and his fellow warriors mount an offensive against the chef, things move simply from one level to another. Inevitably, the chef will eventually succeed in his genocide, bringing more and more patties, lettuce leaves, and buns to their deaths, exalting in his collection of trophies.

It's infuriating for Sammy. He knows that all he or his cohorts must do is touch the simpering chef and the fiend will lose one of his five lives, yet he can't. The number of ledges give the chef too many options as he drops the ingredients of his butchery from one level to the next, ever closer to hamburger sandwiches at the bottom of the screen. Too many times, Sammy has seen his fellows smashed under the falling corpse of a bit of lettuce or a piece of meat Sammy once dated. He can still remember the anguish when he had to watch as Susie Salamie surrendered to the crushing weight of Bertha Burger. He'd admired both of those girls, professionally and personally, and it's this vendetta against the chef that keeps him working, despite the odds.

And what odds there are! Besides the dead weight of lost loves, he also must avoid the salt. It is, in fact, the salt that he fears most. Several times, Sammy has come face to face with the white devil, only to find himself choking and sputtering on salt as the deviant rushed past. While it's true that the chef has only a limited supply of salt, he can pick up more containers throughout the area (and oft is wont to do so). When a soldier like Sammy is stunned on salt, it's all too easy to fall to his doom before he has a chance to recover. He's seen it happen to others far too frequently.

Adding insult to injury are the bright visuals and cheery tunes. The irony isn't lost on Sammy; he sees that humans must view this as a bright frolic through a gastric wonderland, complete with merry flute work in the background. But to him, it's none of that. Instead, this game is a tour through a virtual slaughterhouse.

And so it is that I implore you, on behalf of all the wieners in the world, to boycott this game. Sure, it can be 'fun' for short periods, but you're stripping yourself of your soul whenever you stick this rubbish in your NES. Stop the butchery, and let Sammy finally rest secure in the knowledge that no more of his friends will become burgers, that this wicked chef will finally find his hunger for death satiated. Please?

Rating: 6/10

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Staff review by Jason Venter (April 18, 2004)

Jason Venter founded HonestGamers in 1998, and since then has written hundreds of reviews as the site's editor-in-chief. He also is a prolific freelancer with game reviews, articles and fiction available around the Internet.

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