Hey, folks! This is a brand new column that I'm trying out this month! It's called "The Ten Reasons." The basic idea is that I'll play a game and then list ten reasons why I like or dislike it. Sounds good, right? I figured I'd start things off with MC Kids.
MC Kids is a game for the NES that everyone pretty much ignored because it was produced by McDonalds. I thought the game was kind of cool, though, so I played it a lot as a kid. So here are the Ten Reasons:
Reasons I Like MC Kids
1. Walking Upside-Down
In a bunch of levels, you can use little spinner things to turn yourself upside-down. Now you can walk on the ceilings of the scenery, which is totally awesome! Way to trample all over the laws of gravity!
Grimace! I don't know much about Grimace, but I know that he's cool. He's big, he's purple, and he lives in a loft. The other characters in this game (Birdie, the Professor, Ronald McDonald) are nowhere near as interesting as Grimace . His world has a more dynamic set-up, and, if you get all his cards, he gives you some good advice about the final boss fight. All in all, Grimace is the coolest NPC in this game, with the possible exception of the Hamburglar.
3. Big Freaking Zippers
Other games have warp pads or something similar that let you warp from one point of a level to another. But MC Kids doesn't have warp pads: It has zippers. You stand in front of a zipper and press B. Your character unzips the zipper, steps through it, and zips the zipper behind him. He then reappears somewhere else in the level. This makes no sense if you think about it, but it's pretty cool.
4. Ending the Level
OK, for those of you who haven't played the game, at the end of each level, there are two red-and-white poles connected by a string (see the picture). A McDonalds' arch moves left and right along the string. The level ends when you break the string, but, for fun, you can try to land on the McDonalds M. Land on it when it's far to the right, and you get a block!
Now that I think about it, I'm not sure why I like this so much. I mean, it's not exactly cool or anything. But I'm good at landing on the arch, so I like it, and I think it's fun.
5. Spring Trampoline
In this game, there are a bunch of springs. Jump on the spring, and you get sprung up really, really high. There are even super-springs that shoot you up insanely high, but you need to carry extra weight (i.e., a block) to activate them.
The springs are really fun, so imagine my amazement when I came across a row of springs in the fourth level of this game. They form a veritable spring trampoline! My sister and I would replay this level over and over again just to jump on the spring trampoline formation. It rocks.
6. The Racial Block!
This game has two characters, like most NES games. You can switch between the two playable characters by touching a particular block.
This is a pretty neat way to switch between the characters, but if you think about it, one of the characters is white, and the other is black. So if you think about it, this block doesn't let you change characters, it lets you change ethnicities! Imagine if there were blocks like this in real life!
White Guy 1: You know, I'm getting tired of my life. I want something different.
White Guy 2: Hey, why don't we become black?
White Guy 1: Great idea!
(The two white guys pull out a racial block and touch it.)
Black Guy 1: Hey, this is great! I understand rap music now!
Black Guy 2: And now I'm good at basketball! Rock on!
Also, the racial block could help get you out of uncomfortable situations!
Black Guy 3: Yo, Michael, we read your article on GameCola! That's racist stuff, man!
Black Guy 4: Yeah, not all black people play basketball or listen to rap music!
Me: Uh...(grabs a racial block and turns Spanish) Sorry, no hablo Ingles.
Black Guys 3 and 4: Oh, sorry about that then!
7. Jump High on the Moon
One of the worlds in this game is the moon. Now, even though the game's walking upside-down ability tramples all over the laws of gravity, the laws of gravity are maintained for the moon. That is, the moon has less gravity than the Earth, so on the moon, you can jump really high, and float down. That's pretty cool. The idea was repeated in Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door, but it was much better in this game. In Paper Mario, the moon jump is a cool but useless effect that appears for a brief time in the moon level, but, in MC Kids, it's an integral part of the whole level's designs.
Plus, the programming for the moon levels allowed for a Game Genie cheat that let you do moon jumps on all the other levels. This cheat lets you plough your way through the levels of the game. Rock on!
Reasons I Hate MC Kids
8. That Damn Piranha
In several levels, there is a piranha. It swims around the water, waiting for you to fall in so that it can kill you. I HATE this piranha. It's already plenty difficult to swim across a pool of water without drowning in this game. There is NO NEED for an evil piranha. I hate this guy—I hate him.
9. Danger Lake
The fifth level in Grimace's Highlands is my least favorite in the game, because my NES copy of MC Kids is bugged. Whenever I play this level, the game goes screwy, and I die on this level way more often than I should. I hate it, I hate it, I hate it.
I mean, the last world of the game is ridiculously hard, but that's on purpose. This level should be easy, but it's not. That's why I hate it the most.
10. The Final Boss
Once you've gotten all the way to the end of the game, you get to the game's first and last boss fight. You've finished the hellish Hamburglar levels, you've got your tip from Grimace, and you're all ready to fight the evil bad guy, who turns out to be....
I wasted all my time to take down a rabbit in a hat? Why couldn't Ronald McDonald have solved this problem by himself? Why didn't Grimace just sit on this little twerp? Why on Earth wasn't the bad guy something that is, I dunno, ACTUALLY BAD???
So that's my new column. Let me know what you think!