Review by Retro
"Me want cookie!"
Ever since the year 1969, that blue, overgrown puppet that carries 99% of his weight in sugar has been making sure that no cookies in his sight collect dust on a classic show for children called Sesame Street. After 14 years of devouring his favorite food (I think it's the only food he's ever even tried) while millions of laughing children and hunger developing parents watched him on their television sets, the Children's Computer Workshop decided to give the furry little (I mean big) creature his very own game!
Cookie Monster Munch has ten variations in all to choose from. At the start of any of the ten games, a playing field that kind of resembles a sort of maze, will quickly load from the bottom of the screen to the top. Then, depending on which variation you're about to take on, a certain number of cookies will appear at differing places in the maze while a monstrous cookie jar pops its lid at the bottom of the screen. Then the real game begins.
In the first six variations, you get to control the Cookie Monster himself. Once all the mouth-watering chocolate chip cookies are placed somewhere on the screen, it's time for you to move Cookie Monster's lazy butt around in the four basic directions in order to pick up all the cookies and then carry them to the lively jar. Each time a cookie is placed into the cookie jar, the jar's lid will pop up and then rattle around for a couple of seconds as it settles back down onto its glass container. Then it's time to go get some more cookies for your never-ending sugar craving.
With variations 1-3, the Cookie Monster can only pick up and carry one cookie at a time (zzzzzz). This can make for a boring experience when there are five or more cookies lying around lazily on the ground. When a board is cleared, a jaw-dropping screen (graphics wise) will come up. Cookie Monster will be standing in front of a huge jar and he'll pull out one cookie at a time and consume it in a few bites as crumbs fly in every direction from his overzealous mouth. When he's through, his eyes will spin around in satisfaction. Then it's back to a different maze full of cookies to do it all over again. These three games go on until you turn the game off or until you proceed to a different variation.
Games 4-6 are a lot better. Cookie Monster can now pick up as many cookies as he wants before taking them to the jar, and he also walks much faster. I think maybe he lost some weight while only being able to carry one cookie at a time as his stomach growled like a tremoring earthquake, so now, his craving is stronger than ever and he couldn't bare the hunger anymore.
Even better, these three games are timed. While you're collecting your fattening snacks, a bar will slowly chip away at the bottom of the screen. When it runs out, some decent music will play for a few seconds, and then it'll be time for the monster to eat all of the cookies he just finished stuffing into the jar.
Finally, variations 7-10 are what really makes this game a worthy item in your Atari 2600 collection. In these, instead of forcing the Cookie Monster to move around and possibly lose an ounce or two of his jelly roll like stomach, you get to control the slender Cookie Kid! Each of these four games is timed, and they're played just like variations 4-6. But that's not the good part. The good part is that the Cookie Monster is now the fierce, relentless enemy!
The Cookie Monster is like an eagle-eyed sheepdog looking over his sheep. He paces back and forth across the fence while keeping a very close eye on his precious cookie garden. As soon as you pick up just one of his priceless cookies, the starving and angry beast will immediately jump over the fence (he has unbelievable hops for such a humongous creature) and make his way closer and closer to you until he catches you and eats every single cookie in your hand. It goes without saying that the cookie stricken maniac also eats any cookies on his way to catching you.
You have only two kinds of defense that you can utilize to escape the hairy, but firm grips of the cookie guardian. You can run for your life, or you can hurriedly take the cookies to the jar before you're caught red handed as the menacing thief that you are. Like before, when the time runs out in these variations in which you control the kid thief, Cookie Monster's body will be telling him ME WANT COOKIE! Therefore, he'll eat all of the cookies that you just threw into the pot. That's right, you just collected all those damn cookies and ran for your life, just to have them all eaten by the greedy, cross-eyed monster in the end.
The tenth and final game in Cookie Monster Munch is easily my favorite. In this one, the whole maze is invisible! You'll only get to see the twisting landscapes while the screen is loading (about ten seconds), and for about two seconds every time you pick up a cookie. The rest of the time, you'll be having to remember or guess which way you need to go next, while the Cookie Monster seems to be able to see in the dark as if he has flashlights for eyes.
Of course, being a kid in the decade of excess, the 80's, I used to watch Sesame Street all the time, and the Cookie Monster was always one of my favorite characters, if not my favorite. Playing video games was just about my only other hobby apart from watching TV and getting on my parents' nerves, and I can tell you that I've played Cookie Monster Munch a lot throughout the years.
Yeah yeah, laugh all you want since the game is a kiddy game and since it features a Sesame Street theme, but I'm going to be brave and tell you that even though I'm now in my 20's, Cookie Monster Munch is still a fun game to play.
It is a game that's geared towards children about ages 3-7 (and it's a great game to get them for learning to count), but anybody who enjoys playing fun games could discover some good times from this munching game. I mean, come on, the Trix rabbit could even play it without having to worry about a sniveling kid taking the controller away from him and saying, ''Silly rabbit, Cookie Monster Munch is for kids''.
I'm not all that crazy about the first three games that never seem to end, but the timed ones are all fun, especially the ones in which you control the kid and run away from the dreaded, evil Cookie Monster. The game is surprisingly addicting, and believe it or not, it has some of the best graphics and sounds of any Atari 2600 game. If you're an open minded person that can overlook the fact that you're playing a kiddy, Sesame Street game, and concentrate on the fun that it has to offer, I recommend getting Cookie Monster Munch.
GRAPHICS - The graphics are simply unbelievable for an Atari 2600 game made in 1983. The 'mazes' aren't really mazes at all (at least not like the ones in which you have to find a way to the end); the layouts just look like mazes. The playing fields all have a straight horizontal walkway at the very bottom. Jutting out from these walkways are four or more short paths that the Cookie Monster or Cookie Kid can take to get to the treasured sweets. There is no searching for a way out of a dead end, or any complicated directions to figure out; you can clearly see every vertical and horizontal twist that the playing field has.
The graphics of the characters and the mazes (including the fences and the cookie jar) are colorful, with nice animation and a good amount of detail. However, the screen in which the Cookie Monster takes all of the cookies out of the jar and eats them one by one, blew me away. The graphics in that screen look almost...*GASP*...realistic. 10/10
SOUND - The sounds are another major highlight of the game when you compare it to the majority of the other 2600 titles. As soon as you turn on the game and see the title screen, you'll hear something that 99% of Atari 2600 games don't have, music. During gameplay, some good music (it's catchy, even though it loops around about ever 7 seconds) will always be playing. I especially like how the music changes when the Cookie Kid picks up a cookie. It changes from the usual soothing track to a faster, mood setting tune that lets you know that you're being chased as if you're the robber and Cookie Monster is the cop.
The sound effects are no rotten cookies either. From the popping and rattling sounds of the cookie jar, to the sound of the dreaded Cookie Monster leaping over the fence, to the sound of the potbellied creature eating a cookie, the sound effects go hand in hand with the great music. 9/10
CONTROL - Cookie Monster Munch is one of the few games that utilizes use of the Keyboard Controller. All you have to do is press 2 to go up, 4 for left, 6 for right, 8 to move down, and press 5 to pick up a cookie. As long as those buttons are in place on your controller (if you're missing a button, just use a pen to press the buttons), you shouldn't have a bit of a problem. 10/10
REPLAY VALUE - I very seldom go back and play the variations in which I have to control the Cookie Monster, but the ones in which I get to control the kid and trespass in the Cookie Monster's land of junk food are downright addicting. For those, I go back and play the game pretty often, and you probably will too. Something that makes the replay value even better is the fact that most of the variations are for 1-2 players. Playing against somebody else to see who can collect the most cookies is a good challenge, and it's fun. 8/10
OVERALL (not an average) - Cookie Monster Munch, though it may appear to be just for kids, can be fun for anybody of any age. Almost every attribute of the game is great. I really want to give the game an 8 or 9, but I can't since the Cookie Monster controlling variations aren't a whole lot of fun compared to the Cookie Kid ones. Nonetheless, the game is definitely worth getting for those variations, and for the two-player capability. Get it while you can! 7/10
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 10/12/02, Updated 10/12/02
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