In the mid 2000's McDonalds released some Game and Watch style games using characters from well known video game series like Sonic the Hedgehog, Spyro the Dragon and Crash Bandicoot.
These were given away with Happy Meals. At the time I was around 12 or 13, and probably a bit big for Happy Meals, but I remember specifically forgoing larger, tastier meals just to get my hands on some crappy LCD games!
In the past few years I've re-collected 8 of these for next to no money, and a few of them are genuinely fun. So here's a few short reviews of them!
This ones pretty bashed up, but still works.
Its your basic LCD racer, move from side to side, dodging other traffic.
Not much fun. Meh.
This one is actually pretty good. You move Knuckles up and down to catch the balls being hit at you. Some balls will curve, some will stay straight, others will be faster and the pace of the game speeds up as you carry on. For a free LCD game, this does the job.
This is pretty much the same as the Baseball one but vertical. I think I prefer this one because the graphics are slightly easier to discern what they're supposed to be, also I'm English, therefore Football>Baseball in most instances. This is also pretty good fun.
This is an odd one. There is a screenshot of Green Hills zone on the background, and you have to guide Sonic over blocks of grass and collect rings using the jump button. It's like a super lo-fi version of the actual Sonic games, unfortunately it doesn't work very well and you can't really tell what's going on. The outer case for the game is quite nicely molded though, so at least there's that going for it.
This one I almost really like. You have to throw the ball past some defending robot things into the net. You get 2 points per hoop and each level ends at 20 points. There are 5 levels which have increasing amounts of robots who are actively defending more often. It's quite cool to have levels in these kinds of games that do something other than just speed up.
However, I don't think it's possible to 'die' in this game. Every time you play you will end up winning, because no matter how many times the defenders catch your ball you can keep playing, and you don't even lose points or anything. This makes the game pretty pointless and kind of ruins it for me. I know it was meant for kids but there is literally no challenge.
Crash Bandicoot Series
I've only got the one of these:
Pretty much the same as the Sonic Racer one, it's a bit naff. On top of that, rather than a normal LCD screen, it's got one of those ones with a big white bit at the back that you have to hold up to the light to see through. True, it allows the screen to be in colour, but who wants to hold this up and show the world that you're playing crap Happy Meal toys from nearly a decade ago?
Well, okay, me... but still.
2/10 - worst of the bunch
Shoot those birds/dragons Spyro! Collect them gems Spyro! That's all there is to it, and yet it's kinda fun.
After collecting a certain number of gems the speed increases. The gems are dropping from the sky while the birds/dragons are approaching from the side so there's a bit of multi-tasking going on on Spyro's part.
I quite like this one, for a happy meal toy anyway.
Spyro Solomon's Key?
I thought I would leave the best til last, this one is actually really good. Like if it was released as an LCD game back when LCD games weren't so cheap they could be given away with fast food, some people probably would have bought it and enjoyed it.
There are 3 corridors, each with a Rhynoc (or possibly a Gnorc, it's quite hard to tell with such tiny graphics) that moves around.
These enemies kill you if you touch them, unless you have charge mode on. When you have collected enough gems in a stage a little icon of Spyro's head charging appears in the top right hand corner, meaning you can move through enemies for a short period.
You can move between corridors in gap spaces and you have to collect gems in order to reveal a key and a door. There are 5 levels of increasing difficulty, unfortunately this just means speeding up the movement of the enemies and the rate that the gems disappear, rather than adding anything new to the already fully featured game (considering how small and cheap it is). It is also pretty easy, although more of a challenge than most of the others that I reviewed here. I suppose it was made for kids, it should be easy really.
Anyway, I've genuinely had quite a lot of fun with this one. I kept it next to my loo for a while because it takes about 3-5 minutes to complete, which is about right for toilet time (unless it's the morning after a beer and curry night).
10/10 As far as free Happy Meal toys go, this is the best one I've ever got.
Cheers for reading,
Dusty Old Games.