Expensive, rare, and a very good platformer. Panic Restaurant has has all of the right ingredients but is it worth the high cost of fine dining?
Panic Restaurant Memories
I remember picking up Panic Restaurant back when I was in Middle School. This was when retro video game collecting was just starting to increase in price. To give you an idea, I thought $50 for Earthbound & $60 for Mega Man X3 was just too rich for my blood. After all you could buy a new game for that price. As they say hindsight is 20/20. I initially picked up Panic Restaurant for $10 at Gamestop. $20 was typically my limit when it came to retro video games (Mega Man Series, Contra, Kirby) so $10 hit that sweat spot for me.
What caught my eye initially was the cover. This old man’s face getting up close and personal, taking up the entire cover. It wasn’t like Phalanx, you know it had the old man playing a banjo that represented a horizontal shooter. No, this NES cover was colorful, silly, and out there. This was mainly how I picked up retro games I never heard of. I looked at the cover and the name of the game. This one was so outrageous that I had to buy it. After all, I didn’t think it would bad either based on the price Gamestop was charging for it. They were pretty spot on with their used prices back them.
Remember when Funcoland came out with those ads that listed the price of all of their used games? Those newspaper ads were amazing to elementary school me. It was like looking at the stock market pages but with games. I’d look at all the games and highlight the ones I wanted. Planning what I could buy with the amount of money I had. Do I get this one used game or maybe I get two cheaper ones? Then you see that one really cheap game and i’d say to myself, “WOW, this game is 10 cents. I have to get it. It’s only 10 cents!” Great job younger me, you just picked up 10-Yard Fight for the NES. What an amazing classic that history will look fondly on.
So What Makes This Game So Special
Panic Restaurant came out at the end of the NES life cycle in 1993. That’s 3 years after the Super Nintendo was already on the market. It shows, the game’s graphics are some of the best I’ve seen on the system, controls are tight, and most importantly the game has personality. The run down of the story is that you play as Cookie, a master chef who just has his restaurant taken over by the evil Ohdove. A villain whose name was improperly translated from French to Japanese and then to English. The food has come to live and you have to battle across six levels or as this game calls them, courses. The game is a platformer so the personality shines through the enemy design. Onions, hamburgers, running baked chickens, all want to kill you. Get to the end of the level and there is a boss fight. After each level you get to play a slot machine with the coins you collected for a chance to win extra lives or health. I really wish more of the older games implemented something similar. A enjoy having a additional luck element added to the game.
Panic Restaurant is an amazing platform filled with colorful graphics and fun gameplay elements. One that I don’t think you should miss out on if you love the genre. With that said, $500 is way too much money for this game if you want to play it. If you’re a collector, I suspect the price of this game is on the way down. Very few retro video game outlets talk about this game and it is fairly unknown. If you’re a gamer, realistically, I would say you’d get about $100-$150 worth of enjoyment for it. It’s a great end of lifecycle game but one I’d recommend using that $500+ on a collection of other great retro games.
Rarity: Cart 7/10, Box 7/10, Manual 8/10
Retail Price: Loose $500, Complete $1,200
Max Spend: $100-$150
Buy or Emulate: Emulate
Do you agree with my recommendation for Panic Restaurant or want to suggest a different game for the Game Consultant? I want to hear from you about it. Please leave a comment below.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. If you like what you’ve read, you can help support Joystick Journey by becoming a Patreon. When you support me on Patreon you’ll get behind the scenes look at my writing process and other exclusives. Thank you, I greatly appreciate your support!