Format reviewed: Commodore 16/Plus4
Developer: Tony Kelly / Mr Chip Software
Submitted by: Barry Flowers
You might be forgiven for assuming you're taking on the role of a popular 3-tier double cheeseburger, but the Big Mac we have here is the name of a quite insane maintenence man who's latest mission is to shut down all 15 power vaults of an enemy power station. The story behind this is anybody's guess, but I'd like to imagine that they're hellbent in destroying a popular fast-food restaurant empire.
Mac's main objective is to turn off all the switches in each of the 15 vaults. Once each vault is shut down he then has to make his way to the flashing EXIT which will suddenly appear to escape to the next vault. Many of the switches operate the high-voltage electric beams which block your way, touch the beams and you lose a life.
Throughout the game you will encounter enemy cannons which continuously spit out bullets whichever way it's horizontally facing. The most dangerous enemies are the spinning turrets which randomly spit out bullets either left or right which require more dexterity and plenty of luck.
If that wasn't enough, there are also plungers which continuously move up and down in an attempt to flatten Big Mac into the size of a single cheeseburger. There are ladders, moving elevators on one level, and many dissolving platforms and a rapidly depleting energy bar which serves as a time limit, so there's no hanging around.
Everytime Mac clears a level, the remaining energy will add points to your score and he will regain an extra life up to a maximum of four. Clear all 15 vaults and it just loops back over to vault 1. You can also skip to the next vault, right upto the highest level you achieved in a previous game by hitting the Y key.
As platformers go, this is up there in the top list. It starts off simple to ease you in, but as you progress you will find out just how more and more devious the level designs become. It takes quick thinking and you will often be pulling your hair out in frustration. Sometimes you might become trapped forcing you to press D to lose a life.
The graphics are pretty simple but are crisp, bright and colourful. Mac himself is quite small but this just means room for a larger level layout, and like the rest of the graphics there is no blockyness or colour clash and has excellent collision detection. Controlling Mac is very responsive, and everything runs smooth and fluid. Mac can also change direction in mid-jump which becomes vital.
The spot sound effects are few and the high pitched tones may have you turning the sound down low. However the music on the rather nice title screen is quite fun and bouncy but again it's high-tones might have you reaching for the volume after a couple of minutes.
Anyway, this is a seriously addictive game which I still often return to 26 years later. It's very good fun to play and the hi-score status means that even once completed, you will soon be coming back for more trying to beat it. It even rivals the excellent C64 version which was also programmed by T. Kelly. Incidentally, an excellent sequel based on the same code was later released for the C16 titled Mr Puniverse which wasn't converted over to other systems.
There's nothing cheesy about this Big Mac. Play it now.
You can watch the full longplay video HERE!