Game Review: More Adventures of Big Mac – The Mad Maintenance Man (Commodore 64, Mastertronic)

More Adventures of Big Mac: The Mad Maintenance Man, Commodore 64, Mastertronic - IC0057
  • 7/10
    Score - 7/10


Whilst not looking or sounding the best, and not an original idea either, what really makes More Adventures of Big Mac – The Mad Maintenance Man enjoyable is the gameplay. There are eighteen well designed screens of platform action with a set of switches to turn off for each, and then find the exit. The jumping over the switches can occasionally be fiddly, but you do progress further with each go and the one more go factor is definitely there. A solid Mastertronic release.

User Review
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The game’s front cover calls this game More Adventures of Big Mac – the Mad Maintenance Man (which I will shorten to Big Mac for rest of the review) which is somewhat confusing.  There were not any previous games featuring the Big Mac character, and even the title screen does not mention the More Adventures part.  In any case, you are Agent 007 ¾, disguised as code name Big Mac, the maintenance man.  Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to achieve the shut down of the enemy power station by going through eighteen power vaults, and ensuring all switches are set to negative before exiting each vault – and before your oxygen supply runs out.

Big Mac, Fries to Go

The title screen is basic and does have a theme that also plays in-game, namely a version of the classical piece Prelude and Fugue #6 by Bach.  It is not a bad version but not the best either.  From the title screen you can select 1 or 2 players and joystick or keyboard.  What it does not tell you from this screen is that you need to press RETURN once you have made your selection to commence the game.   For those using the keyboard, an option to redefine the keys might have been nice as the key layout can be a little on the awkward side.   Once done, you are into the game and a nice opening screen to start you off and get you into the game.

In each vault you will need to move to the switches and walking over them will toggle them on (to the right) or off (to the left).  You need to make sure all switches are off before heading to the exit.  Of course, some switches are placed in not the easiest to reach locations, or where you need to turn off other switches first to be able to reach the remainder.  One thing you will note immediately is that if you walk over a switch, it can sometimes come back on, so what you will need to do is to jump over the switch once off, so it remains off.  This takes some practice to do, and occasionally you will switch back on by accident, but it is well worth learning that early on.

Two All Beef Patties, Special Sauce, Lettuce, Cheese, Pickles, Onions on a Sesame Seed Bun

There are a number of elements to the game that are introduced as you play: ladders and ropes you can climb up or down, some of the platforms slowly collapse underneath you, so you need to have your wits about you, and the robots that fire bullets at you.  Some of those are turned off by the switches, so in an early vault the key is to go to the switch by the robot first before handling the three in the middle of that vault.   There are also bouncing balls to dodge on some of the vaults and some balls that fall out of the ceiling and will kill you on impact, and that can be a little on the tricky side when that happens.  And of course, the plungers.  Time your run under these whilst above and move before you are squashed and lose a life.   There is also a countdown of how much air you have left – if this runs out, then a life is also lost.

Once all the switches are off, the exit is represented by a little house graphic with an E in the top – and the exit will only work if the switches are off, so going there too early will not be worthwhile.  This also means you must be sure of a sensible route around each vault to get the switches turned off, avoid the hazards along the way and get used to the jumping over the switches, which can occasionally be finicky.  Once you complete a vault you receive a score bonus and an extra life (up to a maximum of nine), which does give the game some longevity as you can get quite far once you have practiced.

I’m Lovin’ It

The graphics in Big Mac are fairly basic, with the main Big Mac sprite having a funny little “hands in the air” expression as the jumps are made.  The platforms and other characters such as the robots may seem simplistic, with the robots turning to face a direction before they fire their bullets. but at least it is a clear background so you can see what to do easily without the view being obscured.  The sound effects are functional, although you might tire of the Bach piece that plays throughout over time – and crucially, the collision detection is spot on.  If you make a mistake and hit something, it is down to you and not the unfairness of the game, so that is a good positive to take.

Final Thoughts

Big Mac certainly plays homage to the likes of Manic Miner and other platform games before it, with its single screens of action increasing in difficulty as you progress.  That increase is ramped up nicely and fairly, so you can get further each time and not be too frustrated.  Whilst the graphics and sound are not the best around, even though the classical piece is pleasant enough, what stands out here is the addictive gameplay, which makes the game what it is – a solid platform game that has some added switches to turn off to complete each of the vaults.  It may take some time to complete all eighteen vaults, especially as the later levels are quite hard, but it will be an enjoyable time doing so.

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  1. Game Review: More Adventures of Big Mac - The Mad Maintenance Man (Commodore 16 and Plus/4, Mastertronic) - Mastertronic Collectors Archive

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