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What Ever Happened to
Chef Peter Pepper?

That's right, Chef Peter Pepper, the star of the very popular and fondly-remembered classic arcade game, Burgertime. You remember the game: you played a tiny chef who had to make giant hamburgers by climbing around on platforms and knocking the various burger components (buns, meats, cheeses, lettuce, etc) from platform to platform until they formed a complete burger. It was fun!

But it wasn't without peril. There were also living foodstuffs out to get you. Pickles! Fried eggs! Hot dogs! Don't worry, though; there were three basic ways you could deal with such delicous enemies. You could squash them in between two burger components, like this unfortunate weiner here:

Oh! That dreadfully heavy lettuce has dashed him to death! Another way you could take care of them was by tricking them into stepping onto a component before dropping it to the level below. The evil foodstuffs would fall with it!

See you later, weenie! This method was actually the most desirable, because if you sent an evil foodstuff down with the burger part, it weighed it down so much that it would keep falling through several floors instead of stopping at the one immediately beneath. You could finish burgers much faster that way.

Of course, being evil foodstuffs, the evil foodstuffs were sometimes difficult to trick. When your back was to the wall, you alwasy had a final, desparate means at your disposal: PEPPER!!

Gads! You've stunned that evil egg with a ferocious dash of pepper! It'll be completely harmless for several seconds, and can't chase or hurt you until it regains its senses.

Once you've completed all the burgers in the level, you move onto the next. But not before Chef Peter Pepper does a little celebratory dance:

Tee-hee! Ain't he cute? Well, this game was made in 1982, and Chef Peter Pepper was pretty quiet after that. Other than quietly running a small Diner, nobody really heard from him. Until suddenly in 1990, he quietly returned...

Apparently he'd spent a long time in Japan. He looks young, Japanese, rested, and has lost that inexplicable "H" from his chef hat! He looks like he's rip-roaring to go with his frying pan and spatula! What kind of great burgers will he make in this? Super burgers, I'm willing to bet. After all, this game is called...


So let's put in our quarter and press start and...

Whoa! Holy mageegus, it's a map! Apparently Chef Peter Pepper no longer makes burgers in just one location now. Now he's scouring the globe, making burgers on the fly. I guess. Who's that mean looking disembodied head in the upper right corner who looks like he's wearing a Carmen Miranda fruit hat? Oh, well...

Chef Peter Pepper's quest appears to be divided into worlds. Hmm. So far this doesn't really remind me of regular burgertime. Oh, here we go...

Hmm. Well, this seems more familiar. We've got a whole bunch of platforms and ladders, although Chef Peter Pepper seems to be an outdoor cook now. There are several hot dogs, eggs, and even a pickle running around. Chef Peter Pepper is holding an oversized pepper shaker. All right, so this doesn't seem all that different from his 1982 game. But, wait a minute, why is Chef Peter Pepper in midair? That's because this is the single biggest thing that Chef Peter Pepper learned in his travels to Japan: How to jump! In fact it's vital to the game. Back in 1982, Chef Peter Pepper had to run from one end of a burger component to the other in order to knock it down to the next level. But now that he's learned how to jump, he just has to jump on top of it a few times and down it goes!

As far as taking care of the evil foodstuffs, well, that's changed a little. You still have your pepper when you start out, but instead of having a limited supply of sprinkles, you can pepper spray away all you want until a timer runs out, at which point you're S.O.L. But don't worry; some girl (I have no idea who she is) periodically pokes her head out of the windows on either side of the screen and dangles items for Chef Peter Pepper. There are various weapons besides the pepper shaker, like frying pans, spatulas, metal skewers, and some device that sprays water.

All of these weapons not only stun the evil foodstuffs, but it you use them enough on a single enemey, they'll actually go flying offscreen! Yikes! The girl will also give you other items like a cape that absorbs damage and various types of shoes.

In this game, you can still send the foodtsuffs for a ride by tricking them onto your burger component before you send it crashing down to the next level. This time, though, it not only doesn't slow down the evil foodstuffs (they don't even pause once they land), but it doesn't make the burger component fall any more than its usual one floor down. In other words, all this does is get an enemy out of your hair until they find the nearest ladder and start harrassing you again.

Squishing the foodstuffs between burger components is still highly effective, though, and very desirable because if you squish the evil foodstuffs they will actually become sort of bonus layers in the burger you're making. I'm not sure exactly what kind of burger component they turn into, though. It's kind of brown and white and fuzzy looking:

Yum, yum! Who wouldn't want to eat this burger? Looks delicious:

The burgers in this game come in three different sizes: Regular, where you have to jump like three times on a component to get it to fall; small, where you only have to land on a component once to get it to fall; and SUPER BURGER, where you have to jump like five or six times to get the components to fall. So there actually ARE super burgers in Super Burgertime. Look at the size of those tomatoes! Great Caesar's ghost:

Some things, though, never change. Once Chef Peter Pepper makes all of the burgers in a level, he advances to the next. But not before doing a little dance:

Tee-hee! Ain't he still cute?

There are four levels in each world, and the last level is a boss fight. What kind of bosses would you fight in a game where all the enemies are foodstuffs? Some kind of giant calzone or something, right? Wrong! You fight bees:

That's right. And for some reason you come into the boss levels loaded to the gills with hamburgers that you lob at the boss and whatever it throws at you. Why don't you get to toss around tiny burgers in the regular levels? How many licks does it take? The world may never know.

On to Worl 2, which appears to be in some sort of a forest:

Yikes! It's not a forest, it's Candyland! Don't worry, Chef Peter Pepper doesn't care about candy; he's still only interested in making the finest burgers in the land.

As you can see, we've got some new enemies running around. You can see a couple of what look like watermelons. But there are also these giant bamboo shoots:

The best part about bamboo? It can fly around like a rocket of course! Silly! Chef Peter Pepper is also going to have to be prepared to face another ferocious enemy: the Data East Lighter!

Yeah, it's a giant cigarette lighter. What's it doing in a game where you make burgers? I don't know. Quit yelling at me.

Here's my favorite looking enemy in the game:

I'd say it's a really happy jack-o-lantern, but it's bright green instead of orange, so I'm not sure exactly what kind of foodstuff it's supposed to be. It sure does take a lot of pepper (or stabs with a skewer or bonks with a fry pan) to kill, though.

After you fight through Candlyland for a while, you'll get to the boss:

A helpless nest of tiny baby birds that you mercilessly slaughter with your horrifying burgers! I LOVE this game! Don't worry, after you kill all four of its babies, the mother bird shows up out of grief, but only for a short time as you bludgeon it to death with your deathburgers! Chef Peter Pepper: Friend to All Animals Everywhere.

Onto World 3, which looks like it might take place on the water.

Yup, it looks like you're on some sort of a ship, what with the wood planks and rope ladders and all.

You'll notice some new enemies here, too. There's a squash, a pear wearing a delighful pink bow, a celery stalk, and of course a bottle of hand soap. Yup. Uh-huh. Yeah. Yes. Hand soap. Mmm-hmm. Holy crap, what is that:

A giant, flying, indestructible spiny blowfish! Jesus Harold Christ, what is THAT doing in a Burgertime game? Do they eat blowfish with their burgers in Japan? Why can it float, and why can't it be killed!!!??? Oh, gravy, here comes something else:

A vulture that drops rocks on Chef Peter Pepper. Hold on, now. All the enemies in this game are supposed to be foodstuffs. I know that you can eat blowfish if you're careful about not being poisoned, but you cannot sit there and tell me that vultures are legitimate foodstuffs. This is ridiculous. Next thing I know, you're gonna tell me that that severed finger I found in my Pepsi was there for added flavor taste.

Finally, we're onto the boss, which is some sort of fish that can swim through the air as if it were water, and can secrete smaller fishes from its body. Taste deathburgers, ass-hat!

You know, I forgot to mention this earlier, but look up at that picture of the boss. Look at that sinister face floating in the background. That's all. I just want you to look. Not gonna make any jokes about this one. Just gaze into its eyes as if you love it. There, don't you feel better? I know I do.

Onto World 3, which might be in either clouds or mountains.

Clouds. There aren't very many new enemies in this world. You'll see a bunch of grapes down there, and there are a couple others.

But this is the part of the game where it goes nuts. In fact, it graduates from Crazy Go Nuts University (CGNU). From now on, it's not infrequently that you will put in a quarter and lose all three lives within ten to 15 seconds of putting in that quarter. The game goes nuts, with screens so full of enemies that not even constantly thowing pepper in every possible directly will save your sweet, sweet ass from dying. If I were actually playing this in the arcade and not at home, I probably would have have had to have spent 30 or 40 bucks beating it. I really love the verb "would have had to have." My favorite verb of all time is "would have had to have been being" as in "He would have had to have been being eaten."

But enough about me! This is Chef Peter Pepper's exciting oddyssey. Onto the boss of World 3:

Oh, no, giant Mickey Mouse skull baloon and friends. Yikes. Oh-whoa. Aargh. Dead. Onto World 4:

Finally, you get to the castle. What castle? I dunno, I just assume that this is where you've been trying to get the entire game, seeing as how it's the last level. This must be where that Carmen Miranda guy is. Maybe he's that giant face that lurks in the background of the boss fights. The one I love. You know.

I'd like to show you some screen shots of the last world, but that would be giving EVERYTHING away! I can't do that. If you want to know what the last world is like, play the game for your damned self.

All right, all right. I was just too busy trying not to die (and failing miserably) that I just never reached up and hit the F12 key. Whoops! My bad, baby! Ooh, baby I love your way / Want to be with you night and day.

Okay, enough already. Let's get onto the final fight: Giant Carmen Miranda guy!

This is actually probably the easiest boss fight. Here's how it goes. There's this giant guy. He raises his hands up from the bottom of the screen for you to jump on. He'll then raise you up near his face so you can mangle it with your deathburgers. How very convenient! He's such an obliging chap.

Well, he can only stand so much deathburger in his face at one time, so he will try to squish you by closing his fist around your body. But don't worry, he'll wiggle his fingers a good five seconds before that happens, giving you plent of time to walk casually off his hand and out of harm's way.

After you give this guy enough deathburger face, I can only assume that he dies. Deathburger death. Death by deathburger. However you want to say it. I prefer the word murder, but that's just my perogative. Carmen Miranda is dead, and somehow this saves the day and makes you a hero. Look! You get a parade while the credits scroll!

Hey there's that girl who gave you items thoughout the game. Nice of Chef Peter Pepper to give her a ride home in his burgermobile. Who is she? Beats me.

You know, looking closer at the audience makes me think that they didn't really have a choice about coming to this parade. They don't seem actually happy to be there:

The men just look bored, but those two poor women in the front row look terrified out of their minds! Just look at 'em! Yikes! I'll say it again: Yikes!

Well, this game was pretty disappointing. Data East sent Chef Peter Pepper to Japan, and instead of coming back with a new game that capitalized on the originaly of the first game, they tried to sandwich (no pun intended—no pun at all, really) the Burgertime concept into just another Bubble Bobble type game. It doesn't really work very well, and it doesn't really feel at all like Burgertime. It feels like Bubble Bobble with horrible evil foodstuffs and giant burger components, and the wholesale slaughter of helpless baby birds. I'd also like to take this time for apologizing for writing this article without ever once checking the spelling.

You sure have changed, Chef Peter Pepper. You sure have changed.

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