Tuesday, April 24, 2012

M.C. Kids (NES, 1992)

My first acquaintance with the bizarre world of McKids came through the C64 version, which was titled McDonaldland. It got OK reviews (71% in Commodore Format) and I was into platformers at the time, so I tried it out. I liked the atmosphere, and it was clear there were some nice ideas in the game, so I sort of liked it - at first. However, when I made it through the later stages in the game, something began to feel off about the C64 conversion: it felt unfinished. But it was only when I came across the NES original that the extent of how poorly programmed the C64 version was became evident: a rush-job that in later levels bore very little resemblance to the original.

But let's leave aside the C64 version and take a look at the NES one. Let's be clear about this, McKids has a lot of clever ideas in it: walking upside down, springs, non-linear routes, shortcuts, mazes, different types of gravity, trolleys etc. It's a good game which will appeal if you like some mystique into your arcade endeavors. That said, I feel that it could be better. There aren't many enemies around, and to make up for this the programmers have turned the pace a bit on the fast side. I would rather have more enemies and a slower pace. The music and background graphics could also be more atmospheric. It would have added enigma and fascination.

I feel like I'm not done with McKids though. I'm gonna try out the Amiga version (also titled McDonaldland) and see whether they finally nailed it there. There's also a Gameboy version but from what I've seen it's not much cop.


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