IGN Review of Iron Chef America: Supreme Cuisine
The original Iron Chef and its American offspring are known for being flamboyant and over-the-top. Sure, it's a goofy show. With its wild presentation style, it's almost the professional wrestling of cooking shows. Sadly, all of that flare is nowhere to be found in Iron Chef America Supreme Cuisine for the Wii.
Starting a game consists of naming your chef and picking its gender. You have the option of picking a Caucasian male or female and that is it. Once that's out of the way, you can select from three gameplay options: quick play, career, and school.
Quick play allows you to jump in and see what Supreme Cuisine is all about. Career lets you challenge other chefs on your way up the Iron Chef ladder. And for those who want to study up before getting competitive, school mode let's you train on every dish and gesture Supreme Cuisine has to offer.
Regardless of whether you pick quick play or career, here's the breakdown of a match: pick, prepare, and arrange your dishes, then let the judges decide. Every round has an allotted amount of time and certain dishes require more preparation. You have to choose at least three dishes per match (up to six if you can handle it) and finish all of your selections to win.
In true Iron Chef fashion, every match begins with tourney ringleader, "The Headmaster", selecting a secret ingredient. Supreme Cuisine offers several secret ingredients, each with at five to nine dishes that can be prepared.
Dishes are prepared in WarioWare style macro games which obviously focus on cooking. Everything from chopping vegetables to cracking lobsters is done with the Wii remote in simple, responsive gestures. Each stage of preparation should take about ten seconds to complete and you are quickly onto the next task. All preparation actions are done with the Wii remote and (if necessary) the B button for actions like gripping.
Following food preparation is food arrangement. When arranging food, you simply have to drag the prepared items to their silhouette on a plate. After placing the items in their appropriate spots, you are given a few decorative items that you can place where you please to add flare to the dish.
The final stage is judgment. A panel of three judges will give the final say so on your dish. Honestly, unless you really just go ballistic with the gestures, there's nothing difficult about finding favor in the judges.
There you have it. From a gameplay standpoint, Supreme Cuisine is solid. It's a waggle fest, but it has enough gestures and food preparing techniques to keep things diverse and flowing. With this said, Supreme Cuisine suffers from some serious, serious flaws.
Starting with its presentation, Supreme Cuisine is riddled with load screens. No one likes load screens all over the place, but that's not the worst part. Before starting a match you will be subjected to some of the poorest cut scenes in video gaming with several load screens thrown in. While the gameplay is fairly quick, getting there can be a very aggravating road.
Another huge problem is Supreme Cuisine's graphics. Supreme Cuisine is ugly as sin. All character models are hideous caricatures of the Iron Chef cast including Iron Chef Mario Batali and commentator Alton Brown. The characters look like ugly, poorly rendered versions of Celebrity Deathmatch models. For a game based on a series with an almost anime style of presentation, Supreme Cuisine takes one of the ugliest routes imaginable graphically.
It should be noted that these hideous characters and cut scenes are not present in the actual gameplay. The food preparation segment features the same style, but the absence of hideous humanoids makes the experience a lot more forgivable.
Supreme Cuisine also suffers in the audio department. While the music stays in line with that of the series, major annoyances are aplenty thanks to Alton Brown's commentary. The man knows his food and is a well versed individual on culinary topics, but every food prep mini-game comes complete with a Alton Brown commentary on whatever it is you're doing. What will really drive you up the wall is that most tasks are finished before his commentary is over, but you have to sit and wait for him to get his point across. There's no skipping this banter.
In an effort to make consumers feel less cheated (an effort that ultimately fails), Supreme Cuisine includes an in-game achievement and development system. As your chef wins more rounds, he or she will receive a higher rank. Also, several achievements are available for "perfect slicing" and a slew of other well executed gestures.
Two person multiplayer is also tacked on. The multiplayer offers head to head or co-op battles. Ultimately it's more of the same; a decent enough gameplay mechanic hampered by an atrocious overall presentation.
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