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Out to Lunch (SNES) artwork

Out to Lunch (SNES) review


"Although most of my gaming time is spent playing manly Xbox and PC titles, I have played several messed up games over the years. In the matter of fact The Lost Vikings, a puzzle game starring three goofy Viking misfits is one of my favorite SNES games. Marsupilami for the Sega Genesis is another weird game that I wouldíve loved if it wasnít for a few annoying problems. But these games are nothing compared to Out to Lunch, which is easily the weirdest game Iíve ever played...."



Although most of my gaming time is spent playing manly Xbox and PC titles, I have played several messed up games over the years. In the matter of fact The Lost Vikings, a puzzle game starring three goofy Viking misfits is one of my favorite SNES games. Marsupilami for the Sega Genesis is another weird game that I wouldíve loved if it wasnít for a few annoying problems. But these games are nothing compared to Out to Lunch, which is easily the weirdest game Iíve ever played.

In Out to Lunch you play as a chef who opens his refrigerator to make his next masterpiece. Suddenly all of his food escapes! So instead of going to the supermarket to buy more food he decides to hunt down the food that got away. Not only will he probably lose his job for choosing to vacation to Mexico to catch that last hamburger and tomato, but he also looks like a total jackass in the process.

And yes, thatís exactly what you do in Out to Lunch. You travel to several different locations including Switzerland, the West-India Islands, Greece, and Mexico to capture the poor suckers who are running for their lives. Each stage consists of about 10 levels in which you must locate all of the food that escaped and then return it to a cage. So basically each levels sends you on a wild goose chases to collect all of the food before the time runs out.

Although it might sound retarded, Out to Lunch has a pretty cool premise. It is a cross between a platformer and a puzzle game; you hop from platform to platform while searching for all of the food scattered throughout the level. Youíll start somewhere near the bottom and collect several items during your quest to assist you such as a net for capturing the food (which is mandatory), a speed boost, and projectiles to throw at and stun the food thatís trying to escape. After finding and capturing the food assorted throughout the map you must return it to a caged box so you can bring it back to the restaurant to finish creating the dish thatís probably already days late (donít worry, thereís no cooking in this game). After every level a new set of food escapes from the refrigerator, thus repeating the food searching process again and again.

This crazy idea is actually pretty cool at first. Out to Lunch is a fun and challenging game that most platformer/puzzle fans will initially enjoy. There are several neat features that keep the game from being repetitive and make the game highly enjoyable (for the first stage at least). For example, some of the higher platforms in Switzerland have ice on them, making it harder to run across and capture food on. There are also several items assorted throughout the map that are worth points, which makes the challenge even greater. Do you go after all of the items, hoping to get a higher score, or do you capture the food and get the hell out of the level before the time runs out? There are also several obstacles to avoid, such as bandits who try to steal your food and other enemies such as the black cheese in Greece (yuck!) that will block your way. The various foods will also put on a fight by running away from you as you approach them, and will even go as far as jumping on trampolines and sliding off of platforms to escape.

Itís a shame that the game doesnít remain this fun. Although there are several neat gameplay elements, they all become stale after the first stage. Thatís not good, especially when you have five more to go. A new obstacle or a new type of food might appear every once in a while, but it isnít anything new that you havenít already done. Instead of coming up with new puzzles and challenges in each stage, such as in The Lost Vikings, Out to Lunch takes a simple concept and repeats it over and over. One positive aspect is that the challenge gradually increases, but with the repetitive levels there isnít any reason to keep on playing it.

Speaking about the difficulty, it is sometimes too unfair. You would think that it is a piece of cake to chase down a giant wad of meat (and by giant I mean nearly twice the size of the average person), but the food moves surprisingly fast. The gameís biggest problem is that there is no set route that the food moves on. Although this prevents the AI from becoming repetitive, sometimes it makes it impossible to win. The time limit often seems way too insufficient to capture all of the food, even if you take the fastest route possible. The game not only requires skill and level memorization, but luck as well.

Out to Lunch is definitely one of the more clever and unique games Iíve ever played. It also happens to be fun for a while. But on the other hand it is extremely repetitive and sometimes impossible to win. Itís great for killing a few minutes here and there, but it isnít appealing enough to be worth tracking down or emulating. If there was more variety and either a fairer time limit or a more forgiving AI, Out to Lunch wouldíve definitely been a winner.

Hereís an interesting point: If the chef was fired after his first trip to Switzerland, or if the food actually stayed in the refrigerator, the game wouldíve never been as repetitive as it is. Damn food, always getting away!

Rating: 5/10

Halon's avatar
Community review by Halon (December 03, 2008)

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