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Metal Gear Solid, this ain’t.

October 15, 2009

In a hopefully ongoing series, I’m attempting to whittle down a bit of my backlog of games. I do not even intend to complete these; some I just want to play for the first time since purchase. The first game on my list, decided by the fortune cookie at Backloggery.com was an Xbox 360 game I purchased just for yuks. It’s Sneak King, one of the four Burger King promotional games that were available shortly after the 360’s launch. Of the four, this was supposed to be one of the two “good” ones; good, of course, being a relative term in this case. So how was it?

Well, it’s pretty much as I expected. The Burger King sneaks around and surprises people with artery-cloggers. For the sake of full disclosure, I spent about 40 minutes with the game, and did not progress past the first level. There were 20 missions available in this area, and I got through seven before realizing that there were probably better ways to spend my time, such as twiddling my thumbs or staring at a blank white wall.

The intro screen would have you think that the Burger King was a peeping tom or a burgler. It was a looped live-action thing with some guy in a fairly creepy costume sneaking around the outside of a house at night and magically materializing at different areas of the screen. The one thing that stuck out at me was how much the guy’s hands were moving when he was standing still and holding a platter out in front of him. I really do not know why they just didn’t take the final few frames of the video and just loop those endlessly. Instead, the guy’s hands are constantly moving. Either he got loaded on BK Joe and just could not stand still, or he was going through saturated fat withdrawl, and needed a fix of some hot grease. In any case, not a promising start.

Speaking of which, in the game itself, people have a hunger meter icon above their heads that causes them to collapse once they get too hungry. White doves fly in circles above them when they are sprawled out from lack of food. When they eventually recover, miraculously, they are no longer hungry. Since when is the typical American so malnourished that he or she would collapse from lack of food? And on a related note, why is everyone I encountered in the game seemingly within a healthy limit for BMI? Maybe in the levels I had yet to experience, there were more morbidly obese people, but I’m guessing not. And white doves generally are indicative of some sort of spiritual or religious concept (at least in John Woo’s films). So when someone in game collapses, has their head circled with white doves, and then recovers, no longer hungry, was it perhaps divine intervention to save them from future heart attacks?

Another odd thing in the first area (a logging site) is that men in hardhats are consistently working, sawing down trees, but the women in hardhats also at the site always seemed to be just sort of wandering around without actually working. So, what message can we draw from this? That if you are a woman in a primarily male-dominated job, you really need to do nothing more than be a pretty face to get paid, maybe?

And I’m not quite sure what the concept of the game is even supposed to be. I mean, once I got past the horrendous camera control (with no option that I saw to adjust it), it wasn’t all that hard to sneak up on someone to surprise him with a bag of hash browns. But the question is why? Why is the Burger King intent on surprising people with Burger King food? The entire concept is lost on me. Yeah, in reality, whoever was in charge of this whole promotion wanted to put the mascot in video game-y situations. But why not make a life sim (the characters in this game talked in some gibberish Sims-esque language anyway), where you are a counter worker at Burger King, and the ultimate goal is to win a trip to Las Vegas for an annual shareholders meeting or something to meet the Burger King himself by serving Burger King food as quickly as possible? You know, like a Root Beer Tapper knockoff or something. Oh, wait….because that would ring of a quiet pathetic desperation.

So instead, you have the Burger King hiding in boxes (heh) and in the back of trucks, waiting for the opportune moment to jump out and thrust a Crois’sandwich at an unsuspecting logger, who is, of course, giddy with the prospect of seeing the King do a little softshoe flourish before being presented with a calorie bomb. The great thing is that you get a ton more points from hiding within something in the environment before jumping out to surprise the hungy loggers than just from casually walking up behind them and doing the same. Thing is, though, that the King always seems to climb out of his various hiding places in what amounts to a slow motion, canned animation that takes at least 5 seconds, and yet, the “startled” onlooker seems surprised at seeing the King once he eventually emerges.

I COULD get into the ramifications of opening the game with a logging site, correlate that with how much paper gets thrown away every day at fast food restaurants, and make a speculation that the area is in the game specifically to subconsciously tell the player that it’s okay to destroy virgin forests in exchange for being able to order and eat breakfast from the comfort and convenience of a running automobile. But I’m not going to, because that’s probably looking too deeply at something that’s not even there.

On the positive side, the odious product placement becoming more and more standard in games (Pizza Hut and Fanta in the new Phantasy Star Portable 2??) is irrelevant in this case, as the entire game is a Burger King product placement, and does not pretend to be anything else.

So yeah, this game is pretty bad. I think I paid $2 for it used at Gamestop, which was ALMOST worth the 45 or so minutes of “entertainment” I got out of it. Definitely not worth the shameful trophies that are now part of my profile.

I give this game 3.62 Angry Whoppers out of a possible 10.

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