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Curry House CoCo Ichibanya
  opened by paleface at 02:13:01 01/27/05  
  last modified by paleface at 12:25:50 03/05/24  
  paleface [sys=PS2; cat=Cooking; reg=JPN]
Reference added: 677
  "Yoshinoya and CoCo Ichibanya: two crazy PS2 fast-food cooking games."
"Ichibanya" appears to mean "First House," and is the brand name of a chain of fast-food curry house restaurants in Japan. The subtitle of the game babelfishes as something like "Also Today is Vigorous! Curry is good!" Subliminal, you see.
It's interesting how similar this game is to Success' "Yoshinoya" (see entry 677): both PS2 cooking games simulate a different fast-food chain, both have career, challenge and quiz modes, both have cute little employees and frenetic arcade action, etc. And yet CoCo Ichibanya doesn't appear to have anything to do with Success or Yoshinoya: Ichibanya is a separate chain, and it was published by Dorasu (known mostly for their gambling games, it appears) and developed by their dev arm, Dorart.
Anyway, so, in the main game you have to cook curry dishes for customers pouring into the store, raising your "I pleased the customers" meter faster than the pernicious timer meter. In a particularly cool touch, if you call out greetings and thank yous to the customers as they come and go (L2 and R2, and you get little hints when you can do it) you get a bonus on the customer-pleasure meter.
Customers come in, study the menu for a few seconds, then order. If they're at the bar, the cook gets the order directly. If they sit at a table, the co-worker has to go over and take their order. That appears to be all the co-worker does, which is good, because in advanced play you have to take control of the co-worker yourself, while also alternating control on the cook. Yikes!
So what's the cook do? Well, orders stack up, and you have to cook the foods shown in little iconic form in each order. Orders always require you to pour out a certain amount of rice. After that, you may have to add a certain number of drops of hot sauce, pour on a serving of curry, cook and add any of a variety of meat or vegetable ingredients, and then finally, maybe, toss on a flavorful final topping.
Rice scooping, sauce and curry pouring and ingredient and topping-adding are controlled with the right analog stick. This is pretty slick because, by selecting multiple foods to cook with the Triangle button menu, you can have several toppings stewing away while scooping rice, pouring sauce, and so on. You have to plan ahead for maximum efficiency because the ingredients take a little while to cook--but don't get held up at, say, rice scooping, lest your cooking boil over in the meantime.
Not only can you switch between cooking ingredients on the fly, you can also switch between orders on the fly. Whoa. I haven't really got this good yet, but in theory this means that you could be cooking ingredients for a whole slew of orders at once while maybe having finished scooping rice for one, pouring sauce for another, adding curry for another, and so on. Oh, the juggling act!
As if that weren't enough, aside from having to control the co-worker taking table orders, and sending polite greetings and goodbyes to customers for bonus points, you also sometimes have to satisfy panicking employees by solving little puzzles, like driving the truck around town on deliveries, or adding up balance sheets. These are over fast, and the CPU sort of takes over cooking while you're doing them, but they can be just the sort of straw that breaks your CoCo camel's back in high-stress periods. Egads!
Oh, if you cook parts of the meal just right, you start to gain a combo score. More combos, more customer happiness. Good on you. So the basic cooking activity is much more complex (and fun, if ya ask me) than the simple matching of Yoshinoya. I'm not sure if the restaurant changes as you advance through Career mode like it does in Yoshinoya, though. I've also yet to encounter anything like a Yoshinoya-style boss fight. So far, Curry House seems to have deeper action but a shallower story and story event system than Yoshinoya, but I haven't really got very far in either one (unless they're really short, eheh).
There are little conversations between two employees between chapters, fortunately you can button-skip right through these. Oh, and the game is pretty good about showing hints for the controls for each activity as you encounter them for the first time, which is extremely helpful.
The time attack or whatever modes are also tucked away under the Career mode menus (the menus all look like tasty dishes, but also feature a lot of kanji and took me some experimentation to figure out, in fact I still haven't figured out the significance of the last time attack menu). You pick a time limit and go for the best score you can get, I think. The action quickly gets ridiculous, and here you're switching between the two employees, doing the sudden puzzles, etc. Workin' it, in other words. Whew!
The minigame mode is one or two player and appears to have about a dozen minigames, but I've only got two so far. I guess you have to unlock the others, and I only hope you do that through Career mode rather than (shudder) Quiz mode. Anyway the two I can play now are pretty good as far as minigames go. One has you pumping the button at the right rate to try to maximize how much food you eat within the time limit--eat too fast and you choke and lose time. Actually that one is only okay. The more entertaining one is a memory-matching game where you have to regurgitate the dishes ordered by a passel of customers, in the correct order. I like that one.
Quiz mode is all in Japanese and has you using the face buttons to select one of four answers to a series of thirty or so questions, and I think there are three sets of questions, maybe. If you can't read Japanese (*raises hand*), forget it. As I said, I really hope that you don't need to do Quiz mode to open up the rest of the minigames, 'cause that's never gonna happen.
· Yoshinoya (PS2)

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