I admit, I’ve been a gamer for a long time. I go back to the days of Asteroids and Moon Cresta. A friend of mine has a Gorf game in their living room and I recently tried to buy an original Space Invaders game when I passed one on the interstate. That’s why I don’t get to write many reviews. It’s also why Pretzel Pete is the game for me.
The folks at XSIV told me that they simply decided they liked those kind of games so much that they decided to create one for the new generation of players and technology. They succeeded.
Pretzel Pete centers on the adventures of the title character (surprisingly enough, a Pretzel deliveryman) as he attempts to foil the evil Baker Bob and his villainous man-absorbing pretzels. Throw in Pete’s girlfriend Pretzel Pam and bang, you already have more plot than most first person shooters currently available.
One of the more intriguing choices the folks at XSIV made was to design Pretzel Pete for the PC rather than the more obvious console market. While I could easily see Pretzel Pete as a console game, I think that despite the hype, Dreamcast just wouldn’t do just to Pretzel Pete. I think the team at XSIV truly wanted to design a console-like game that went beyond a console systems’ abilities. Pretzel certainly does that. Don’t let me scare you off though: the system requirement is a very reasonable Pentium 133. The game ran with blazing thrill-a-minute speed on my K6II 475. Let’s see the consoles try that on for size!
In terms of game-play issues, the interface is pretty straightforward. You’re presented with an over the shoulder (or pretzel van in this case) view as you maneuver around several different levels capturing pretzels with a butterfly net and protecting the citizens from being turned into more pretzels by Baker Bob.
You can gain extra powers, health, etc. through the acquisition of power-ups. All of these requires you to move, fight and shoot in a variety of challenging ways that require some time to master. Not so much time that the player should get frustrated, but it’s a little more to learn than your standard arcade game.
Every few levels of course there are the giant boss monsters. Unlike most games with such fiends, Pretzel Pete requires a bit more than military tactical thought to defeat them. You don’t need to be a member of Delta Force to defeat them, but you do need to think about what you’re doing.
Spoiler alert! You don’t fire anything to defeat the first one. Humiliation Alert! It took me too, too long to figure that out.
The game keeps the action and plot moving along at a decent clip, culminating in a confrontation between our hero and villain at a classic place, given the nature of the game. I’ll let you figure that one out. I can’t tell you everything after all.
So again, I think XSIV has designed a game that would have been a respectable contender for my quarters back at the bowling alleys and mall arcades I haunted in the early 80s and would be quite the juggernaut as a console game. The fact that XSIV had the ability, courage and high-spiritedness to accomplish this as a PC game just makes my day.
Have a pretzel on me. You’ll feel better.