Saturday, May 5, 2012

McDonaldland (Amiga, 1992)

Scroll down the page, and you'll come across my review of McKids for the NES, which just so happens to be the original version of this game. So, the Amiga version (and any other version for that matter) is a conversion of that.

McDonaldland/ McKids is a weird game. Inside of it there is the basis for a cracking gaming experience, and yet no version of it fulfilled the promise. The NES version plays too fast and rigid. The DOS version plays too fast and rigid and lacks the graphic charm of the NES version. The C64 version is the most atmospheric of the bunch, but apart from that it's a technical disaster. And now, here's the Amiga version.

So what do you do in McDonaldland? Well, it's a platform game, so you travel across the levels of six different worlds in pursuit of Hamburglar, who stole Ronald McDonald's magic bag. In each level there is a hidden McDonald's card which you must find in order to proceed further. After you've done so, you must then find the level's exit. So, primarily, McDonaldland is an exploration game. There are baddies around, and to get rid of them you must pick up and throw crates at them, Blues Brothers-style. Be careful though, baddies respawn and crates don't, so think twice before you waste them.

McDonaldland is far from linear. To quote from the NES version review: "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".

The good news is that as far - as far as the gameplay is concerned - the Amiga version is the best one, thanks to the pace being more measured, and the controls being more fluid. Hurray. Alas, every rose has a thorn, and where the Amiga version falters (sort of) is in the atmosphere. The programmers did their own thing with the graphics and music, and their bright and sugary renditions of the levels and tunes lack some of the charm and personality found in the NES and C64 versions. It doesn't matter. Overall, this is the version to get.


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