Review: Hell's Kitchen: The Videogame
Posted 11 Oct 2008 at 20:46 by Derek Wheatley
|"...from whiny social class to families with screaming kids, each with their own patience level."|
Those who have watched the television program of the same name will be no stranger to award winning chef Gordon Ramsay, along with his low tolerance for slacking and frequent use of expletives.
The story is about you, a lowly dishwasher, rising through the ranks to become a head chef, under the tutelage of Chef Ramsay. You appear to a one man band, doing everything in the restaurant, from greeting the customers and taking them to their tables, waiting on said tables, cooking the meals and then taking away the dirty plates when they're done.
The game starts off with an easy premise to get you in the swing of things, you serve two people two simple dishes, tap the touch screen to take the menus and go to the kitchen. To begin with you have only two ingredients, which have to be tapped to be "prepared" and when done have to be dragged to its respective pot, which has the colours of the ingredients you need hovering above it. The ingredients are prepared one by one, so if the orders back up, you've got to decide which ones to prepare first to save time. Each dish has a time limit it must be cooked in, leave it on and it gets burnt, drag it to the serving area and leave it for too long and it gets cold. Either way results in you having to do the entire order again, receiving Ramsay's scorn and seriously damaging your rating at the end. Certain orders may have two dishes with two different time limits, such as 13 and 9 seconds, meaning you have to have a sharp sense of time of adding ingredients to start cooking at the right time.
After the meal is cooked, it's back to the dining room where, with another tap you serve it to the table and await the cleaning. Later it does not stay as simple. You have more tables, more ingredients going into dishes with different cooking times and some tables having more than one course. The clientele differs also, from whiny social class to families with screaming kids, each with their own patience level. After you have served everyone and cleaned the tables, you get a rating out of 100. If the orders back up too much because of your faulty cooking and poor timing, Ramsay will shut the restaurant down and you will have to start again.
The action is all done on the touch screen, the top screen filled with an impressively realistically looking Gordon Ramsay and his tolerance meter. As it gets low the anger flows, he does occasionally swear but it is bleeped out, and yes, it is the voice of the great man himself. The music is low with a subtle bass. You won't really notice it as the games goes on, your concentration will be focused on switching back and forth from kitchen to dining room in those spare seconds of cooking time.
There are two modes of play, career and arcade mode. Arcade places you only in the kitchen with all the ingredients (including the ones yet to be unlocked in career mode), as well as an oven to cook in, only using pans in the early days. The orders come flying in endlessly. This can be good practice to prepare you for the hectic career mode. Each day in career mode unlocks a new recipe for you to prepare in the real world, the instructions don't lead you by the hand as Cooking Guide might, but are some very tricky and professional meals.
The graphics seem to have been focused on creating a realistic likeness of Ramsay on the top screen, leading the bottom screen not being as good as it could. However it does have to cram in a busy dining room with many whiny customers flailing their arms around at times, so this can be overlooked.
Hell's Kitchen: The Videogame is an example of a game which is easy to pick up but harder to put down as you go back to earlier days to raise your rating to that all important 100%. It can easily be played in those spare breaks you have in the day, due to the simple gameplay which can be picked up and reacquainted with in seconds.
N-Europe Final Verdict
Hell's Kitchen is an example of how something so simple can become so addictive. You will find yourself going back to increase your final score.
Easy to play in bursts
Lots of recipes to unlock
Strangely satisfying when you serve
Can get frustrating
Ingredients can get mixed up
It's not your fault the customers are so whiny