At a Glance: Years before they would turn the gaming industry on its nose with their concept of punching simians in Monkey Puncher, Taito was sitting around in its office one day and started being assaulted by a monster popcorn popper. Quickly, it picked up a pot, put it on its' head, and spun into the enemy - killing it instantly and making the creature explode in coins. "Hey, wait a moment," it thought aloud while eating out of the creatures' head&
Platform: NES (Download Emulator here - 192k)
Download: Download ROM here - 64k
Game Plot: While taking a jog down the street wearing his full cooking garb, Chef Cookie was assaulted by Chef OHDOVE with various fruits and vegetables and some kind of really pissed off pumpkin. He introduced himself by only using capital letters for his name, so I assume OHDOVE is a pretty enthusiastic guy. You are given little history about you and your arch nemesis OHDOVE, which makes you wonder who the real villain is. Perhaps throwing vegetables is a form of greeting in his country. It's only a small step between hunting down a maniac chief and killing him in the name of evil and realizing that the real evil - is inside you.
As indicated by his very brief speech, OHDOVE wants Cookie's restaurant: the ever popular "Eaten", the only restaurant in town that has ice traps, spike pits, and bottomless jumps. Really, you would have to realize that Cookie has spent a great deal of time setting up his restaurant to meet current government regulated "evil mastermind" specifications. Maybe you wouldn't have Cobra Commander and Dr. Wily knocking you over with radioactive squash every day if you would put a little less money into your "deadly traps" section of your budget.
This restaurant is huge, looking like a James Bond villain retired and set up a restaurant for giants who come from some kind of dimension where you need to use spoons the size of my head. The place is so vast you have six whole levels before you even get to the finale showdown on some weird stir-fry pan that flies, a scene which will no doubt win Keanu Reeves an Oscar in the upcoming Hollywood adaptation: Stir-Fry Angels. This also means that anyone who gets up to go to the bathroom has to probably get through at least two stages before they can reach it. This game is a translation of a popular Japanese game, Naughty Kokkun's I don't give a damn what the game is called. This is a sequel to the videogame adaptation of "The French Chef", where Julia Child defeated Martian space potatoes using a pizza cutter and an egg beater.
Alongside all this, Taito even took the time to punish you with mini-games. This goes perfectly with your brain cells leaping out of your skull in agony as you try to kill a homicidal hamburger by throwing dishes at it. One of these games has you catching eggs with a frying pan that fall from wierd looking birds. It's obvious these birds have developed some natural instincts for dropping their young into frying pans. Fortunately, evolution has stepped in and also given them the ability to drop bombs in attempts to foil their pan-wielding natural predators. Nature's a beautiful thing.
Enemies: The enemies are all foods that have been cooked up by your villain, OHDOVE, by means you are never allowed to know. Perhaps dabbling into some kind of food necromancy, or foodromancy" as I call it, he brings food to life. This reminds me of all the times that I brought my food to life at the dinner table using my childhood imagination. My mother beat me.
Perhaps these vegetables have finally been given the ability to live for a short time and are simply pursuing whatever means to find happiness in their short and miserable lives. Naturally, you are there to help guide them gently to their true goal - being cooked alive.
Weapons: To make sure that you have no ability whatsoever to fight, the game provides you with cooking utensil-based weaponry. Now, remember, if you are going to fight headless chickens that get shot out of a microwave or ice-skating ice cream cones you only have five or so methods of fighting back. This excludes the option of gnawing your controller in half when you fail one of the many jumps in this game. You have a pan, a spoon, a fork you bounce on, a pot that you wear on your head like a superhero, some dishes, and a desire to end your own life. The last one is a weapon you always have and can never drop.
Levels: Six, such as the number of times you cut yourself having tried to make the jumps in this game. Or perhaps the number of times you break your controller in anger for being killed by a dancing jelly on a plate because your guy has to fight with a bouncing fork. Every level is labeled by different dining terms like "Appetizer", "Soup", and "Those terrible mints you get". The level titles give you little information as to what you'll be facing, seeing, smelling, or tasting. But, if you vomit, you'll get a good enough idea.
Bosses: Six, just like the stages. Each boss ends the level, but don't get any idea that they make sense. The dining hall level named "Soup" has a radioactive microwave that shoots chickens. The outside level named "Fish" has an exploding hamburger, and the level named "Meat" has a seductive ice cream cone. To compare this to real life, let's say you are playing this game. Suddenly, you're controller is a hamburger! And your fingers are now eggs! And your mother just turned into a giant donut that spits out heat-seeking raisins! Now you are officially inside Panic Restaurant, where every second some food item appears and wishes to disembowel you.
Defining Moment: The intense anger on Chef Cookie's face any time he hits something or rides on that stupid fork weapon. I can never imagine a time where riding a giant fork like a pogo stick would fuel my inner hatred&.for evil.
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The Rom Pit is dedicated to reviewing the most bizarre and screwed up classic console games from the 1980's, the ones that made you wonder what kind of illegal substances the programmers were smoking when they worked on them. Strangely enough, the same illegal substances are often necessary to enjoy or make sense of most of these titles. No horrible Nintendo game is safe from the justice of the ROM Pit.