Promotional games have come and gone. Typically they involve some movie or tv show, kid or blockbuster related. Once in a while, they center on food such as the M&M’s game for Playstation 1 or perhaps the 2 or 3 McDonalds games. Burger King decided that their king character which was a cartoon character onto himself deserved not one video game about him but three. Better also make that for one of the top systems today. The XBOX 360. What will we charge, just $3.99 with a value me…l. I mean if Whopper Jr can sell himself for a buck then why not. A fine trio of games (Big Bumpin, Sneak King and Pocketbike Racer) deliver on a fine time of good graphics, entertaining gameplay and fresh food (well maybe not so fresh).
I was a little worried when these games were advertised as XBOX and XBOX 360 games on the same disc. In my mind I’m imaging cheesy little parlor games from the PS1 days. Titles like Tennis and Air Hockey. The games that feature anamorphous blobs with unknown characters. This is not the case. We actually get beautiful scrolling backgrounds of picturesque landscapes. Well not quite, but all three of these games are pretty to look at. The best use of graphics is probably found in Sneak King where you can actually interact with the area including hiding in hay stacks, knocking over trees and lodging yourself into a port-a-jon. Pocketbike Racer has many of these same types of graphics (I think they borrowed a lot of them) and is also a joy to watch. Big Bumpin is the only title that suffers here but that is due to what is going on in the screen. There is so much ground to cover that everything just looks kinda small. Also present in these games is some minor problems with collision detection but overall this was their strongest area.
We go from best to worst quickly here. The sound is borderline atrocious in all three titles. It’s that quirky over the top carnival music that leads you to run for your custom soundtracks feature on your XBOX 360. However, if you have the old xbox you are royally skewered. I guess it wouldn’t be annoying but when its the same tune over and over again as you have to play through certain levels, it becomes mind numbing. Sound effects are also very sparse and have to repeated constantly. It is a case of recessed soundtracks and little imagination. It’s bad, trust me really bad. For 360 owners, switch to some Soundgarden or similar driving music for Big Bumpin and Pocketbike Racer. Then perhaps some scary soundtracks from Halloween or Friday the 13th for Sneak King. You’ll be more at home then.
Big Bumpin can be best described as the bumper cars title. You can play as the king or many other Burger King alumni as you try to knock each other into the pit and be the last one in the race. There are of course hazards on the stages which lead to all sorts of mayhem and destruction to your vehicle. There is a hockey mini game as well where you score points by pushing a puck around with your bumper cars (2 on 2 action if you will). So the premise is actually pretty sweet. However, the control is awful. It becomes frustrating as you try to maneuver your bumper car into others and somehow force them off the playing field. Forget the hockey experience as well, you’ll spend more time knocking in your own goals than actually making headway here.
Pocketbike Racer is your Mario Kart esque title. Again you are one of the many burger king alumnus but this time they throw you on a tiny pocket bike. The idea here is run around a track and try to finish first among your peers. However, the other racers can launch rockets, throw firecrackers and just generally disrupt your playing experience. It has a very addictive racing feature that I haven’t found satisfaction from since Crash Team Racing (again on the ole PS1). There are 4 types of races here with different difficulty levels including Standard, Battle Royal (hits only matter), Ultimate Cone Trial (going through cones only matter), and Hardcore Racing (no cones, no powerups, just up and down the track). Control is very good here, however there are times when you get caught going a certain way and you are stuck in glitch madness. Not to mention there are a few “shortcuts” that you can take on the various courses to get you way ahead of the competition (intentional or not). Cones will also give you fits when you miss the gate and just stick on the cone.
The final title is the solo only adventure of Sneak King. The hilarious and creepy adventure puts in the guise of the one and only Burger King. Your mission is to deliver all sorts of Burger King items from Sandwiches to Hashbrowns to even big cups of Joe to the unsuspecting citizens of the town. To do this you must sneak and creep around, hide in all sorts of places and then feed the citizens before they die of hunger. Points are scored by variety of surprise (flourish), how hungry the recipient is, how close you are to the person, and how many sneaks you have done in a row without being spotted or the chain. Control is very well done here, it is fairly easy to move around you can make a lot of things happen with your sneaks. I do wish for more variety in flourishes but that’s relatively minor. The difficulty is a mixed bag where you’ll find yourself finishing the challenges pretty easily but not with “A” grades. The game reminds me of a cross between Metal Gear Solid mixed in with Tony Hawk.
One would think with bargain titles (promotional bargain titles at that) that you would get very little replay value. This is simply not true. True is the fact that you won’t spend the rest of your life playing these titles (thank goodness), but on each game there is a lot to do. All three titles sport XBOX 360 achievement points (200 a piece) and two of them (Big Bumpin and Pocketbike Racer) are XBOX Live titles where you can compete against other people who dabble in having the whopper done their way. Sneak King I think missed the boat a little by not including a live mini game of some sort. Perhaps a spy vs spy thing where you try to deliver sandwiches to the citizens but the other king can put obstacles in your way like roller skates or banana peels which they would slip on and cause all sorts of noise. (I smell sequel folks). Big Bumpin has very little replay value outside of achievements but Pocketbike Racer includes unlocking different circuits and different vehicles. Sneak King provides tons of different challenges and you can unlock various other locations not to mention trying to get those special “A” grades.
Burger King went above and beyond the burger here. They actually delivered (I still have space and must fit in all the puns I can) on providing a decent trio of budget games to hungry gamers around the globe. Only $3.99 a title with the purchase of a value meal (and if the Burger King is decent enough they will let you buy all three at once), its cheap and good fun. Sure Big Bumpin is a steaming pile but both Pocketbike Racer and Sneak King are great experiences and will have you going back for more. I love the fact that all of these include those ever addictive XBOX achievement points (I can safely say I have more achievement points in BK games than anybody on my friends list), and they come in normal XBOX Cases. Also (if you need them), they all include 48 hour XBOX live trial gold memberships, a nice little extra. If you can (and not have to own all of them like me), just grab Pocketbike Racer and Sneak King and waste the other 3.99 on a Chicken Sandwich or Double Meat Whopper. Just remember, those aren’t your arteries that are hardening, they are your precious gaming skills as you sneak up on and show everybody your mad flourishes with an enormous Omelet sandwich.