Pressure Cooker [Atari 2600] – Review

Garry Kitchen's first game released in 1983 was Keystone Kapers.
Garry Kitchen’s first game released in 1983 was Keystone Kapers.

Ironic that I write about Pressure Cooker after mentioning how Steve Cartwright sought to instill proper dental hygiene in the youngsters with Plaque Attack. Not because hamburgers are detrimental to a healthy mouth, but because they’re a prime culprit in his game. While that game was lighthearted, Pressure Cooker is a little less frivolous, gameplay wise.

Taking on the role of Short-Order Sam, players must assemble burgers to the specifications of customers. At the bottom of the screen is an electronic order board which lists what the next three customers want on their burgers. Burger patties ride on a nearby assembly line and players must catch ingredients as they’re shot out of a food dispenser. Should they let an ingredient hit the wall or let a patty drop, points will be deducted from the player’s performance rating. If this number reaches zero, it’s game over.

With a completed burger in hand, players need to move to the wrapping room and place the burger in the proper receptacle. Filling an order with the incorrect ingredients will also subtract points from a player’s performance rating. However, successfully assembling and delivering burgers will increase a player’s score, the ultimate motivation.

With Pressure Cooker, there were a few gameplay mechanics players had to understand. This was a much needed break from the simplicity found in the majority of these early Activision games. Not that it’s an inherently better game because of that. I enjoyed it and liked that I didn’t immediately understand the game, but I wasn’t in love with it.

It's much more complicated than most of the Activision games I've written about.
It’s much more complicated than most of the Activision games I’ve written about.

With a score of 15,000 in Activision Anthology, players will join the “Short-Order Squad” and unlock the game’s patch. Originally players had to score 45,000 points of more.


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