Wednesday, 21 March 2012

McDonaldland (GB)

Super Adventures in McDonaldland - Game 3

Yeah, this is called McDonaldland again, like some versions of M.C. Kids., but it's actually a different game.

In fact it's two different games, because in the US this is known as...

Spot: The Cool Adventure!

Cool Spot has totally hijacked McDonald's game! I haven't got a clue how or why.

A different starting screen from the NES game, though I've still got a moon block to change my character from Mack to Mick.

I usually leave the difficulty on the default setting when I play games, so I'll take the easy path because that seems like the more default of the two.

No tent scene this time, or Puzzle Cards to collect, or even a reason why Ronald's bag is missing. Mack doesn't give him an answer, he just grins and walks away, silently shaking his head.

Actually I think he's got that problem some other platformer heroes have, where they have to keep turning their head from left to right as they walk.

We're starting off in a forest level this time? Well it's a bit unconventional, but it might just work.

In M.C. Kids I had some choice in the order I played levels, and I could return to replay levels I'd already completed. But it seems like they've stripped away all choice from this map screen. I can only go forward, in a straight linear path.

Spot: The Cool Adventure (GB)
Cool Spot doesn't give a damn about Ronald McDonald or his magic bag, so he skips the story screen and goes right into the game. Meaning there's absolutely no hint about where I'm going or why.

Also he didn't like the name 'Grimace's Forest', so it's called the 'Carbonated Forest' now.

Actually this really is pretty similar to M.C. Kids. Though it has very narrow levels with no exploration and no Puzzle Cards to find.

Spot: The Cool Adventure (GB)
I'm still picking up boxes, and throwing them at snails. Who then just reappear the second I've scrolled the screen away from where they died. At least he throws them forward towards the enemies this time when I want him to.

Cool Spot collects spots instead of arches, but I haven't noticed any other changes. The levels are the same, the music's the same, it plays the same. There's just no 'story'.

Son of a bitch... how the fuck did I mess up that jump? The way the hero moves is just a little 'off' somehow. He never quite jumps the way I expect him to, and I'm finding it hard to get the hang of it.

This should be so simple, but I'm slipping into the instakill water over and over. And every time it sends me back to the start of the level, where a hit-point restoring heart pick-up is waiting.

The thing is, I've fallen into bottomless holes or in water way more times than I've collided with an enemy. The terrain is a far greater threat than the enemies, and that kills in one hit. So they should be giving me lives, not hit points, if they want to be helpful.

Spot: The Cool Adventure (GB)
Oh right, so that's what the extra hit points are for. It's for when they drop enemies on my head out of nowhere that I can't possibly dodge. Uh, you can't see Cool Spot because he's flashing in pain, but he's holding that box on the right.


I'm glad they introduced this new type of moving platform somewhere relatively safe. That triangle on it is actually an arrow, showing the direction it's going to end up going. It'll take me right into the water unless I jump off in time.

When I was here as Cool Spot I tried jumping off early, and went straight into the wall, then straight into the water. The M.C. Kids really needs to learn how to swim.

Hey it's one of spinning shuriken things from the NES game that flips gravity. Oh wait, no, this is actually an enemy that hurts me. While grinning.

Game design tip: Don't make a hazard look like an important helpful thing!

Bonus level time. All I have to do here is... man, I don't have the faintest idea. The hearts are bouncing around the screen, and sometimes the forcefields flicker off, and I'm just jumping around like an idiot.

The second time I reached one of these I figured it out though. Those metal plates in the floor toggle the forcefields. I need open them up to let the hearts in, without letting them bounce back out. Every heart in the top section when it's over I get to keep.

Plus if I fill my hit point bar I get an extra life, which isn't a feature I see in games often.

I'm back in the trees again, just like in the other versions, though again it's an entirely different level. It's still as narrow as the rest of the game, only I'm scrolling vertically instead of horizontally.

Another thing that's different, is that in the other versions the platforms were low enough for me to actually reach. I've been jumping up and down here forever, but I just can't make it.


Oh right, I have to pull down to do an extra high jump. Well now I know that. A small extra feature to make the jumping in this game just that little bit harder.

I jumped down here, grabbed the top box on the left, and threw it at the wasp. Then I jumped down to grab the second box... and the wasp was back. The enemy respawning in this is ridiculous.

Oh also the wasp killed me. There were no continues. Game over poor Mack, your McDonaldland adventure ends here.


Spot: The Cool Adventure (GB)
It took me way longer to get up here than it should have. There's no bottomless pits on this level for me to land in when I miss a jump, instead I just fall down the tree a bit and have to climb up again. Over and over and over.

But there's an extra life over there if I can just kill this wasp, then bounce off that spring. All I have to do is pull right when I spring up, there's no possible way I can screw that up, surely.

Spot: The Cool Adventure (GB)
Son of a bitch, I screwed it up! He didn't jump far enough, and now I'm falling back to the ground.

Spot: The Cool Adventure (GB)
Okay, I have a choice to make. I either try to jump the gap from up here, or I fall down and try to use the spring to bounce over. It's okay though, because I know that whichever one I choose ain't gonna work. The way the character moves, I'm going to fall short and land in that pit and that's all there is to it.

And then he landed in the pit and died. Cool Spot then threw away the last of his lives trying to get back to the spring, but he never did. Game over.

But wait, Mack and Cool Spot might have failed miserably, but Mick's kicking ass! Because I started again, and I know what I'm doing this time.

This platform rail puzzle isn't something I've seen in the other versions of McDonaldland. It's nothing that clever, I need to jump on the switch block to change the track when the platform's in the right place, but it's a little more interesting than what I've been doing so far.

Okay, I think I'm actually starting to like the game a bit now. At least now when I fuck up, I feel like it's my fault, not because of the way my character moves.

Uh, what? How the hell am I supposed to get up there?

I mean, I know I can carry a spare platform and attach it to a rail, but there's no spare platforms around.

Awesome, I've figured out that I can detach platforms by jumping on them when they're over a broken section of rail. This doesn't help me at all.

I need to find one of platforms I can actually pick up. Oh wait, I think I saw one... floating back up at the top of the screen. Where I just dropped down from. Son of a bitch.

Well I guess I'm throwing Mick into a pit and trying again then.

Now I'm making progress! I've got no lives left, but I'm making progress.

Now that I'm using umbrellas to float down the game is really reminding me of Blues Brothers.

Just have to put that platform there to get some extra height to jump from and...

Well, fuck.

I didn't even get to see what happens when I get 100 arches.

And the Hamburgler waves goodbye. He's even thrown a party to celebrate my failure.

Shameless Advertising Rating: Pretty Low. This has so little to do with McDonald's that they were able to change it into a game for different brand just by basically just changing the arches to spots and swapping in a different mascot. Though there is a giant can of 7up on the title screen of Spot.

Clown Rating: Minimal. Ronald showed up at the start, had two lines of dialogue, and that's it so far. And he isn't even in the American version of the game at all.

There's plenty to like about this game, but I found more than enough to piss me off too. Overall, I'm glad I'm done with it.

Part 1: Donald Land (NES)
Part 2: M.C. Kids (NES)
Part 3: McDonaldland (Game Boy)
Part 4: Global Gladiators (Genesis/Mega Drive)
Part 5: McDonald's Treasure Land Adventure (Genesis/Mega Drive)
Part 6: Ronald in The Magical World (Game Gear)

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