Tuesday, 13 December 2016

SNES review 107: Out To Lunch

So did any of you visit the fast food restaurant chain Wimpy's here in the UK as a kid? Actually there are still a few of them dotted around here and there so maybe you went last week, I wouldn't be surprised though if there are people that have never even heard of it, after all they are not that common now days and everyone seems to have almost forgotten that there are alternatives to McDonalds when it comes to a burger fix. As many of you will know McDonalds had plenty over the years but the first fast food game I ever remember playing was Mr Wimpy a platformer released on the good old 48k Spectrum back as a kid, why am I mentioning this in a SNES review? Don't worry It will make sense in the long run. Now the bulk of Mr Wimpy was effectively a clone of an arcade game created by Data East called Burger Time in which you ply as a chef called Peter Pepper who walks over burger ingredients to knock them down until they create a burger while being chased by various killer foods like a walking hot dog and a walking egg, I can link this back to Nintendo by telling you that Burger Time got a Gameboy version called Burger Time Deluxe in 1991.

Now you kind of expect weird games on the old spectrum specially seeing as you could buy budget titles for as little as £1.99 so there was room for some stranger ideas to have a chance, but it might surprise some to learn there was a cart based game for a major system about a Chef, how about I tell you it wasn't the only game staring a Chef on the Gameboy, there was another one, and importantly this other one had a SNES release as well or I wouldn't be talking about it (and its name wouldnt be in the title and a picture of its cover wouldnt be above either). So the game I am reviewing right now is a game called Out to Lunch or to give it its full long title Pierre le Chef is... Out to Lunch. Out to Lunch was released for the SNES in 1993 it was both published and developed by Mindscape a company who published a few very good games my personal favourite being the blood filled fantasy game called Moonstone: A Hard Days Knight which I highly recommend everyone to look up, Out to Lunch couldn't be further from that though don't expect Pierre to be slicing anyone's head off here his weapon of choice tends to be a net.

OK so to explain it as simply as possible Out to Lunch is a side-scrolling platform game in which you play Pierre a French chef who has to try to collect the ingredients he needs for his culinary delights by travelling around the world to collect sentient escapee foods.

One thing I need to say is that when you start the game up you will be met with a choice of playing either a single-player or two-player mode/game but it is one of those kind of bollox alternating turn taking two player modes, which I can hardly see the point of. Yeah I am not going to call the game a failure over this but I do think its something that needs pointing out to anyone considering purchasing it.

OK so the objective of each level is to capture a set number of ingredients before a timer runs out. To catch the ingredients you use Pierre's net, you don't just have to catch them and then they disappear and that's it like you might expect though, there is actually a cage in the level you empty them into which is a nice touch. I personally find this game to be absolutely full of neat little touches though, you get these cool little animated skits now and then that are bursting with character, you really start to feel for Pierre as his vegetables run off and leave the poor little fella dazed and confused.

The game is quiet simplistic but its not really a bad thing you can pick it up and have fun playing it straight away. It goes like this at the start of every level, you have to find your net before you can catch the run away food, then you catch the food and place it in the cage and then the door to the next level will appear somewhere in the stage and you go through it, rinse and repeat. Yes it sounds simplistic and it is, but its simplistic in much the same way something like Pacman is, its also a very very charming game.

So far it all sounds very walk in the park but there are of course enemies, there is bacteria and insects trying to get in your way. Its not just you and your net against the world though, no you can also jump on enemies heads to stun them and pick up weapons like hot sauce and bags of flour. You travel the world visiting different countries 8 in total which all have there own set of levels, there own music and feel, it is done very well and helps to keep this basic game fresh and fun. The graphics are simple but charming as is the soundtrack, its just generally a very nice pleasant game. The game handles well, its nice and quick and you never feel like its anyone's fault but your own when you fail and to me that is the hall mark of a darn good game.
So how would I rate Out To Lunch well I give it a very hearty 8 out of 10 and would strongly recommend it, its a fun little game that probably passed most people by, sure its not a Mario beater but its a nice cute fun game which really deserves more attention than it gets. So how much are you looking at if you want this game, well online loose carts tend to go for £15 to £20 usually with boxed copies starting from around the £28 sort of mark. I was lucky enough to get mine from a local indy shop for £15 complete. I think this game is totally worth it.

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