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Yakitori Musume: Sugo Ude Hanjouki
  opened by paleface at 22:51:52 12/26/04  
  last modified by paleface at 23:02:19 12/26/04  
  paleface [sys=PS2; cat=Cooking; loc=JPN]
References added: 321, 343
  "Games cooking games by Media Entertainment."
Babelfish and the internet lead me to hypothesize that the title means something like "The Yakitori-taking Daughter: The Prosperous arm of Sugo." That's probably amusingly incorrect, but I know for sure that "Yakitori" is in there, and yakitori is grilled chicken, or something.
So in this game you play a girl running a yakitori joint with the apparent aid of a pestiferous and presumably cannibal chicken. Customers come in, jaw for a while, and then suddenly it's up to you to please them with enough well-cooked skewers of grilled food before an arbitrary time limit expires.
The grill is laid out at the bottom of the screen, with seven skewers ranged along it. The skewer contents can vary, from the basic chicken meat skewer to different chicken organs, vegetables, and maybe even different meats (they all look fairly different, but I can't read the names). You fan the skewers individually with the X button, check them with the Square button, and serve them (basically launching them upscreen into the patron's mouth) with the Circle button. If the food is properly cooked when you serve it, not underdone or burned, you get points that help fill up the meter above the patron's head. If the food isn't cooked right, that's negative points. Different foods cook at different speeds, so you have to keep their approximate cooking times in mind as you skip your pointer back and forth across the grill. The meter starts to go down gradually if the patron doesn't get served for a while. Fill up the meter before time runs out and you pass the stage.
The time limits can be pretty tough until you get the hang of things. Basically, the skewers won't cook nearly fast enough to beat the time limit on its own, so you have to fan the coals beneath them every chance you get, and learn to recognize what they look like when they've grilled the correct amount of time. Sometimes you get a time-limited powerup after serving a skewer properly, from a more powerful fan to the coveted "Frenzy"--during a Frenzy, the patron loves whatever you serve them, even straight raw chicken. Yeah! I think you have to get a combo of a bunch of good skewers in a short period of time to trigger a Frenzy though.
The time limits are tight enough that if you screw up a few crucial skewers it probably means retrying the stage (patron). This would be all fine and good except that you can't skip the conversations that occur before and after the serving sequences, and they go pretty slow. This adds up to a lot of tedious waiting and mashing the circle button, just to restart a stage (oh and you have to sit through a load back to the menu, then a load into the serving screen again). Ugh. This could have been solved perfectly by allowing you to skip conversations, and by having a "retry" option after failing a stage. Unfortunately such features are nowhere to be found.
As you play through you meet more wacky patrons, serve different foods and earn little knicknacks that you can use to enhance the look of your shop's interior. There's also a two-player mode that I haven't really tried.
Like Media Entertainment's other cooking games, Manpuku!! Nabe Kazoku (see entry 343) and Yakiniku Bugyou (see entry 321), Yakitori Musume is a fast-paced game of reflexes and memorization/timing. The difficulty curve seems a little higher than those other titles, however, and the unskippable slow conversations can get pretty frustrating. I like it, but you have to have a little more patience with it than the other games. Oh, and the menus are quite heavy on the Japanese, but you can figure out the necessities pretty quickly by trial and error.
· Gourmet Action Game: Manpuku!! Nabe Kazoku (PS1)
· Taiko no Tatsujin: Wai Wai Happy Muyome (PS2)
· Yakiniku Bugyou Bonfire! (PS2)

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