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Iron Chef America: Supreme Cuisine Review
I never used to be a cooking show kinda guy. On a Tuesday afternoon, I would have rather watched a rerun of the Cosby Show than watched Julia Child concoct some culinary creation. But now, I can't get enough of the cooking shows and the Food Network is my "go to" channel if there's nothing I particularly want to watch on TV. And for that, I blame Iron Chef. (Also, possibly the hotness of a few of their hosts...)
Iron Chef (and it's spiritual successor, Iron Chef America, on which the DS game is based) is a strange combination of cooking show, competition and over-the-top camp where chefs are chosen to battle one of the Iron Chefs in a timed cooking battle based on a secret theme ingredient. While that may seem unusual, like the dishes the chefs prepare in the show, the combination of ingredients makes for irresistible entertainment. So, I wondered would the game live up to the show on which it was based? Or would the game fall short like most other licensed games?
The game features a few familiar faces from Iron Chef America. In the game, you'll get to witness virtual counterparts of the Chairman (who, as I just learned, starred in the Crow TV show a few years back), Mario Batali, Masaharu Morimoto, Cat Cora and commentator Alton Brown. For the most part the likenesses in the game are spot on. (But what's up with Alton Brown's cornrows?) There are a few absences from the show, notably two of the Iron Chefs, Bobby Flay and Michael Symon. So if you're thinking of playing the game to face off in a culinary contest with either Iron Chef, you're gonna have to look somewhere else. (Maybe a Throwdown with Bobby Flay game?)
And if you're thinking that you can immediately choose one of the Iron Chefs to face off against, think again. Instead of following the format of the show and choosing an Iron Chef to compete against, you fight a series of battles against chefs of steadily increasing difficulty until you reach the Iron Chefs. In that regard, the game almost feels like Mike Tyson's Punch Out. In fact, if Mike Tyson's Punch Out beat up and then raped and Cooking Mama
, Iron Chef America: Supreme Cuisine would be their bastard child as the game borrows heavily from the cooking simulator.
The core gameplay consists of completing a series of tasks using the stylus, ranging from chopping to plating, in the creation of a dish. There are 18 different tasks with anywhere from four to seven tasks per chosen dish. The quicker and more accurately you complete these tasks, the higher your score. But unlike the show the game is based on, you're given both the secret ingredient and a number of dishes based on the secret ingredient to choose to complete.
But it's unclear if your choice of dishes has any bearing on the judging portion of the competition. Like the show, after you complete your dishes, you're given a score based on taste, plating and originality of the theme ingredient. Seeing as how two of those three are very grey areas which would be hard to translate into a video game, I'm going to have to guess the scores are just arbitrary numbers. Especially since the judges will randomly comment on two of your selected dishes and they will always love the first dish and always hate the second.
One of the the games features that feels most like the show is the sound. There is actually very little sound in the game, but it's enough to evoke the show. From the start you'll hear the familiar chords of the Iron Chef America theme song and the over dramatic way in which the secret ingredients are announced (PORTOBELLO MUSHROOM!) is very much in the spirit of Iron Chef. But other than the sound, the game feels like a collection of stylus minigames with an Iron Chef skin.
As an Iron Chef fan, it's hard to divorce myself from wanting the game to be more like the show even though I know intellectually that much of what is done in the show couldn't be translated into a video game. But there are other aspects of the game which I thought could be improved regardless of the show it was based on. For example, the judges are an arbitrary addition to the game to make it feel more like the show. But what if they actually served a purpose
? What if each of the judges had specific likes or dislikes and choosing a particular dish had consequences
when it came time to judge the dish?
Ultimately, Iron Chef America: Supreme Cuisine is a shallow game. The only actions that have consequences are the cooking task minigames that you as the player complete. From your chosen opponent to your chosen dishes, none of it has an effect on the outcome other than choosing a recipe that has the tasks which you can complete most quickly and accurately. That being said, this isn't an unpleasant game. If you're looking for an engaging game, look elsewhere. If you're looking for something quick and easy to pass the time, give this one a try. That's why I'm giving Iron Chef America: Supreme Cuisine a "rent".
I have no idea what to recommend in either replacement or to complement this game. In fact, I'd probably just recommend watching Iron Chef America on the Food Network. It's more entertaining than the game and you might even learn a thing or two about cooking... Or if I could even find the original Iron Chef anywhere on TV, I'd be a happy man.
After the resurgence of multiplayer co-op, GameBizCo Inc. hired Player Two to be the Goose to someone else's Maverick. His workload isn't quite as heavy as most of the other people working at GameBizCo Inc. and as a result, he spends a lot of time in the break room or playing computer solitaire.
First Appearance: Another Videogame Webcomic?!? An Introduction
Player One is top dog at GameBizCo Inc. Nearly every game, from Pong to Mario Bros to Grand Theft Auto, requires Player One's expertise. His cocksure and sometimes inappropriate attitude is an annoyance to his coworkers but seeing as every game needs a first player, they make due.
First Appearance: Bonus Stage! Here comes Player One!
Damsel I. Distress
Whether it be a castle, a dungeon or mystical island, Damsel always needs to be saved... and she hates it. Damsel longs for the day when she's given the role of a strong female lead character who doesn't have huge breasts with hyper accurate physics.
First Appearance: LittleBIGPlanet
Underneath the huge brute that is Final Boss lies a timid creature who wouldn't hurt a fly. He puts on his "angry face" when throwing barrels down ramps or breathing fire but deep down he feels sorry for doing so. He's been known to throw a game or two in the player's favor.
First Appearance: World Record
John Minion, or Min for short, is the hardest working employee at GameBizCo Inc. Playing everything from Goombas to no name thugs, Min gets beat up on a daily basis but loves every minute of it. He always wanted to work in the gaming industry and was originally hired as an intern. After years of getting coffee, his big break came when someone called in sick... and the rest is history.
First Appearance: Watchmen: The End is Nigh
Middle Manager works in the Human Resources department. He runs staff meetings and interviews prospective employees. The other 90% of his time is spent playing Freecell on his computer.
First Appearance: Another Videogame Webcomic?!? An Introduction