Ah McDonald’s! The fast food conglomerate that has grabbed our arteries for as long as it has been around, though I’ve nowadays preferred Burger King for its better taste…yeah, I’m not getting any endorsements from McDonald’s anytime soon. Anyway, you’re a big business, you want to sell your food, and children are a very easy target, and sometimes commercials and happy meals that look like your nightmares aren’t enough, you got stamp some more history into your legacy, you see video games are the talk of the town, so you want to be in it too. But before I talk about the main game of this review, there’s something I want to add.
I’ll talk a little bit about Donald Land, the very first McDonalds game ever made…in Japan only. We have a platformer where you play as creepy clown Donald, as he must rescue his friends, whilst apple-bombing the crap out of enemies. It’s a rather decent platformer, but got stuck on some section where the jump was too high…I don’t know. But here’s a fact, you may have thought I misspelt Ronald’s name, but in Japan, he’s called Donald McDonald, the reason his name was changed there was because of a real life man named Ranald MacDonald who taught English to Japan. That’s quite hilarious when you think about it.
Now on to the feature presentation of M.C. Kids, known in Europe as McDonaldland…though if you play the game, the title in the game is still M.C. Kids…I don’t know. It was developed and published by Virgin Interactive and published in Europe by Ocean Software and was released in 1992 in the US and 1993 in Europe. I’m taking a look at the NES version as there are other versions for the Commodore 64, Amiga, Atari ST and MS-DOS.
Our tale begins with Mick and Mack reading a book about the will-be retired Ronald McDonald showing off his magical bag (not that magical bag). Suddenly, Hamburglar comes and steals it, so Mick and Mack is tasked with finding magic cards for different friends…which eventually will lead to getting Ronald’s magic bag I guess.
The game is a platformer where you play as Mick or Mack, do you want vanilla ice cream or dark chocolate, diversity that’s not shoved down your throat. And if you played Super Mario Bros. 3, it’s near enough similar, and you can see that with the world map. Fun fact, Nintendo saw a version of the world map that looked even closer to the one Super Mario Bros. 3 had, so Nintendo forced the developers to change it…despite a lot of games having maps and Nintendo has a superiority complex BECAUSE NINTENDO!
Your objective is to find one or two magic cards in each level; you have a set number of cards to collect, meaning you don’t have to collect all of them to finish a world. Some can be caught easily but a few are hidden quite well for a kid’s game. You have your platforms, your enemies you can kill with boxes you can pick up and throw them. Instead of collecting coins, you collect M icons, collect 100 to get a life.
So what’s unique about this game? Erm…you can go upside down sometimes if you run on certain platforms…erm…you can ride on a boat…there will sometimes be zippers on the wall to teleport to different parts of the level…OK, it doesn’t do anything too original, but those black boxes that, if you land on them, will send you back to the beginning of the level and that’s just absurd, there might be that one card you need to progress but it takes ages to find it, meaning you’re going to do plenty-a leaps of faith with small chances of success, which leads to the difficulty being completely sporadic…at least the game physics isn’t too bad.
I mean, why didn’t McDonald’s market it? I mean, this is a game advertising McDonald’s without showing the food, why didn’t they advertise it? I’m saying this because not only did it sell poorly, people didn’t acknowledge it overtime…until the Angry Video Game Nerd went and reminded everyone of its existence.
The graphics are pretty good for the time, for something that was made in about a year, which could be considered a tight deadline, it’s good. The level design is OK, it’s full of colour and fun for what the NES could do until Kirby’s Adventure came around and gave us rainbows for supper. The music isn’t too bad, I liked a few but they’re mostly upbeat.
Overall, M.C. Kids…or McDonaldland is decent at best. Other than a few issues I have with the game, it’s not that bad, it’s a platformer with a few unique parts that have been done in other games, but what could you do when you’re making a game for a restaurant as large as Donald Trump’s ego.
I played a bit of the Game Boy port, it was released as McDonaldland, developed by Visual Concepts and was released in 1992. However, outside of Europe, it was changed to Spot: The Cool Adventure, where the graphics have changed to have a Cool Spot theme.
And it’s even more basic than the console port, as whilst you do similar things from the original, it’s even more linear since you don’t collect magic cards, and you can go along getting from A to B. My issue is that once you get a Game Over, you go back to the beginning, so no continues for you mate. But from what I played…it’s OK, but you ain’t going to get far with four lives unless you’re able to collect more.
You can get it for the NES, Game Boy, Commodore 64, Amiga, Atari ST and MS-DOS.