McDonald Land (Amiga)
McDonald Land (or MC Kids in America) is what the name very well might have suggested to you – a platform game based on the McDonald’s fast food franchise…yup, this really existed. And do you know what, it’s actually pretty good fun.
It’s available on the Amiga, Nes and Gameboy – but I’m mainly going to focus on the Amiga version here. The Nintendo versions of the game are similar, it’s just the Amiga version (understandably) has better graphics and music. Impressive, beautifully illustrated graphics at that, with chunky, fun looking characters and pretty colourful worlds.
The game starts off with the nefarious Hamburglar running off with Ronald McDonald’s magic bag. Ronald, being a fully grown adult, decides the best course of action is to send two young children – Mick and Mack – on a dangerous quest to find his bag for him. Rather them than you Ronald, I get it. I suppose he does have adverts to film and burgers to sell…hey, you gotta protect the franchise. Anyway, the two kids are told the Hamburgler was last seen near Birdie’s treehouse, and off the pair go.
The game borrows a lot from Super Mario Brothers 3, with a hint of SMB2. It has a similar world map to navigate, and the platforming style is very similar to the Nintendo series. That’s not a bad thing though, don’t get me wrong. If you’re setting out to make a platform game then you might as well base what you’re doing on the cream of the crop at that time. It’s unfair to go as far as to call it a rip-off, but it was almost certainly inspired by it.
Considering it’s a game aimed at kids it’s a game that packs a real challenge – so much so McDonalds officials were reportedly unhappy at the end product as they thought it was too tough for their target audience. It’s no Battletoads, but it’ll test you and yes, there is a lives system. If you die too many times you’re starting again. Even more annoyingly, while the game may have borrowed from Mario it didn’t take one of the most important features for such a lengthy game – the ability to save There are a lot of gaming hours in McDonald Land, and that’s normally a good thing, but to complete it you have to sit down and finish it in one go. There’s not even a password system. This is probably the biggest flaw with what’s actually a fantastically fun platformer.
Years and years ago, when I first played this, it didn’t really bother me that to get to where I was before I would have to revisit the original levels. It’s a pain in the backside from a modern perspective, whether you die or whether you just don’t have the time to finish the game in the sitting you decide to play it.
That said, don’t let that put you off giving this game a go. It’s available very cheaply on eBay and if you enjoy a good platformer this certainly fits the bill. It’s an accomplished Mario clone, stuck in the middle of a particularly tasty Big Mac.