Review Information
Reviewer Name: Tony Wilkins
Game Difficulty: Medium
Difficulty Options: True
Game Information
Full Title: Global Gladiators
Year Released: 1993
Game Type: Platform
Max Players: 1

From the box - "Strap on your GooShooter and join Mick and Mack on a quest to neutralise the monsters of Slime World, the Mystical Forest, Toxi-town and Arctic World. Check out the bodacious backgrounds, the 1250 awesome animation frames and the most spacious sound around!" How can sound be described as spacious? Anyway. After M.C. Kids on the NES in 1992, Mcdonald's decided to follow Michael Jackson's lead and use the reputation of the Sega Mega Drive (Genesis) as a "hip" console to promote their brand the next year. The 16-bit console was always the target so most effort went on that version but both the Master System and Game Gear were still strong contenders in Europe warranting their own ports.
Being told there was a McDonald's game back in the day, my mind conjured up a Tetris or Columns style puzzle game where instead of jewels you have to match burgers, fries or a milkshake. I wasn't expecting a platforming run'n'gun style of game but that's what we got. While M.C. Kids on the NES was practically a ROM hack of Super Mario Bros 3, this feels more like Zool which was released the same year on the Master System. The gameplay is very similar. On each stage you have a set amount of McDonald's logos you have to collect to complete the stage with an even higher target if you want to unlock the bonus stage. Many of these collectables are located on platforms that you need to jump to but watch out many of them have something nasty waiting for you as well. There are also a number of invisible platforms that are well worth memorising after you stumble across them. As well as navigating the sometimes confusing stages you also have to contend with a number of enemies in your way and this is where your GooShooter comes in handy. A laser it is not however and you will have to master its arc of fire if you want to destroy anything before taking a hit yourself. As per a game of this type there are plenty of pick-ups to get along the way such as health, extra time or 1ups.
Unfortunately, they are a mixed bag. The foreground mostly looks good with well detailed artwork. The character and enemy sprites are also well detailed and animated. It's just a shame the colours are so dull and almost drained out compared to even the darker levels of Sonic the Hedgehog on the SMS. Background art is almost non-existent on most levels. If you want to boast about the Master System's colour pallet to your NES-loving friend, this probably isn't the title to pull out.
Sound & Music
The music is pretty good and complements the gameplay quite well. Neither seems to be lagging behind the other which is always good although I have read online that if you play it on an NTSC (60hz) machine then the music starts to run away a bit. Sound effects are minimal however and explosions are the usual distorted noises we expect on an 8-bit console.
This was probably my biggest headache at first. The controls are too floaty for my liking which again reminds me of the Zool games. When you are used to the tight controls of Sonic, Ninja Gaiden or even Alex Kidd it sometimes feels like your character is going to fly away. He is also prone to running off at high speed like he is on a major sugar rush if you bury the D-pad left or right which looks impressive for an 8-bit console but can see you hurtling in to some oncoming hazard. That all being said however, once you use a life or two acclimating to the floatiness you find you do get a lot of control making platforming that much easier. I will mark this up relatively evenly as a result.
Replay Value
Music & Sound
Replay Value
I don't know why but the appeal for regular replays just isn't there. If I don't make it all the way through the game I am not particularly annoyed nor do I have any burning desire to try again. I know this is a nitpick but the boring white label on the cartridge doesn't encourage me either. I hate those labels compared to the classic Master System ones.
I honestly think the McDonald's license hurts this game a bit. I keep making comparisons to Zool and yet I find that is the more memorable game. Had Virgin Games created original characters and story and dispensed with the McDonald's endorsement it might have been better appreciated. As it is it's just known as "that McDonald's game."
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