Review: Iron Chef America: Supreme Cuisine

IronChefAmericaSupremeCuisine.jpg Of all the games released last year, none let me down more than Iron Chef America: Supreme Cuisine. I know, that probably sounds absurd considering it’s a budget game that I probably shouldn’t have expected anything from in the first place, but as an avid watcher of the TV show, a big fan of cooking shows in general, and someone who just plain loves cooking, I couldn’t help but have high hopes for it. I mean, the Cooking Mama games are a blast so one would think Supreme Cuisine should’ve been able to take the cooking genre another step forward or if nothing else at least be Cooking Mama with a shiny coat of Iron Chef paint, right? Wrong!

To even mention this game in the same sentence as Cooking Mama is a grave disservice to Majesco’s cooking franchise. Supreme Cuisine shares the same design as far as cooking activities go – you flail, twist and flick the Wii Remote in various directions to perform the 18 different chef tasks like chopping, slicing, mixing, grating, stirring, grilling, rolling, pouring and even the final plating – but the quality of the design isn’t nearly as high. After you’ve played one battle, repeating the same cooking tasks again and again becomes boring.

My main beef with the game is that it does absolutely nothing with the Iron Chef license. The themes are the same – you are the challenger taking on world-renowned Iron Chefs in culinary battles to create delicious meals from a secret ingredient provided by The Chairman – but all of the rules and drama that make watching the TV show so entertaining are completely nonexistent. For starters, the 1-hour time limit that is the driving force behind the show doesn’t factor into the game at all. Each individual task is timed, but there’s no real running clock to keep you on your toes. After you complete a certain number of tasks you get a scripted clock update that imitates the show’s presentation but has no impact on the battle. Obviously it wouldn’t be any fun to play out matches that really took an hour to complete, but a fast-forwarded timer could’ve easily been instituted. Without a countdown there’s no urgency, and that equates to a game that is very, very easy. I went through the game and never came close to losing a single time.

The whole judging element to the show was botched as well. It doesn’t matter how well you perform your tasks, when it comes time to present your dishes the judges automatically hate one dish and love one dish (yep, only two dishes get judged for some reason). Only when a battle is complete do you actually get to see how you scored on each of your dishes and the individual task performances that went into each dish, and to see that you scored a full 100 points on a dish that was blasted by the judges makes absolutely no sense. You can win a battle by 15 points, yet when you go through the judging process they make it sound like you did terribly.

Sadly, these issues only scratch the surface of Supreme Cuisine’s flaws. Except for Alton Brown, whose performance is pretty much the lone bright spot of the game, the voice acting is pretty bad overall, especially The Chairman and the annoying judges. The cartoonish art style and in-game graphics are relatively appealing, however the poor still-image cut scenes clearly show the game’s budget quality. Another small thing that really bugged me was the recipe selection. Most of the recipes are repeated for each secret ingredient, and because of this you get some strange dish choices. Carrot fajitas? Shrimp pot pie? Wha? It’s as if the developers forgot to research real dishes and food combinations.

I know I’ve treated this game brutally and I truly hate to do that to a budget title, but I’m sorry, if you’re going to make an Iron Chef game it has to live up to the show and at least be comparable to other similar games, and unfortunately Supreme Cuisine failed to meet those expectations.

Forget Iron Chef America: Supreme Cuisine, Cooking Mama is still queen of the kitchen!

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Pros:
+ Alton Brown does a good job with commentary and food facts
+ Appealing graphics and art style

Cons:
– Terrible misuse of the Iron Chef license
– No real countdown timer
– Awful recipe choices
– Pointless judging
– Way too easy

Game Info:
Platform: Reviewed on Wii, also available for DS
Publisher: Destineer
Developer: Black Lantern
Release Date: 11/25/08
Genre: Cooking Simulation
ESRB Rating: E10+
Players: 1-2
Source: Review copy provided by publisher

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!