M.C. Kids: Over 1 Billion Pwned

McDonald’s. The biggest and most influential fast food chain in the world. They even have a creepy clown for a mascot. Seems like the perfect franchise for a video game, right? And not some Burger Time or Tapper clone, no, what this  fast food franchise needs is a platformer. A really bad platformer. With deadly forest critters and piranha.

Trust me. You won't be high-fiving after playing this

Trust me. You won’t be high-fiving after playing this

M.C. Kids is an NES platformer supposedly aimed at kids who like hamburgers, creepy clowns and throwing blocks at wildlife. Oddly enough though, it doesn’t star the yellow pinstriped terror, but two of his munchkin henchkids, Mick and Mack. Ronald has enlisted Mick and/or Mack (the game can be played two players alternating) to help him get his Magic Bag (of what is never really explained) back from the thieving Hamburglar. Ol’ Ronny, however, is not so easily satisfied and insists that you also find and collect at least four of his special “M Cards” hidden throughout the various levels or he won’t tell you where the Hamburglar has last been spotted.

Seriously? Not only do I have to retrieve some magic sack but I have to find a bunch of crappy baseball cards? I don’t even know why I’m helping this jerk.

I think that's a spider...or a wind chime

I think that’s a spider…or a wind chime

Ok, so I’m starting my journey and WHY DOES THIS LOOK LIKE SUPER MARIO BROS 3? Seriously, the map screen and even some of the levels look very similar to Mario’s own, but whatever, this is low budget so I can forgive some heavy-handed art stealing. What I can’t forgive are these annoying forest critters that I can’t jump on. No, to kill an enemy you have to pick up a block and throw it at them a’la Mario 2. Now this worked in Mario 2 cause you could also jump onto most enemies and throw them as well but no, not in M.C. Kids. In M.C. Kids you have to rely on your wildly inaccurate aim and random meta-physical properties of said blocks (sometimes they bounce, sometimes they fly straight through the stage).

I'm...I don't even know what to say to that...

I’m… I don’t even know what to say to that…

Mario maps & meta-physical blocks aside, the gameplay on display here is just crap. The jumps are float-y and the characters show some early symptoms of MarioFoot. The level design is also a mess with the all-important “M Cards” often tucked away in obscure nooks and crannies that require more leaps of faith than Indy on acid. Oh and have I mentioned the “back-to-start” blocks? See, there are these little flashing blocks that if you touch them, *Yoshi Island death sound* congratulations you’re back at the beginning of the stage! These progress-murdering blocks are bad enough in small bunches, but in some levels there are ENTIRE WALLS of the things. Tell me, how it is good game design to make nearly insurmountable obstacles that instantly send you to the start of the level should you touch said obstacles? I mean seriously, THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE A KIDS GAME, NOT BATTLETOADS!!

Gaaaahhh!!!! NO! Get away from me!!

Gaaaahhh!!!! NO! Get away from me!!

Oh and fun fact, this game actually has a “Suicide code” should you happen to get trapped in the kludgy level design and can’t reach the goal. If you press Start, then hold Start and Select for 3 seconds, then Mick/Mack will commit ritualistic Seppuku with a McDonald’s french fry. Ok, so I lied about the french fry part, but your character will actually kill himself if you enter that code. Suicide code. In a kids game. THE FRELL?!?

Seriously, if you’re going to make a kids game, put some thought into your audience and R.O.B. almighty don’t make me want to murder Ronald McDonald while playing it, people have a hard enough time fighting those urges to begin with. Or maybe that’s just me…