Orion Burger is an Adventure Game developed by Sanctuary Woods and published by Eidos Interactive for the PC and Macintosh in 1996. It features a young man saving the Earth from an interstellar fast food chain through a time loop.
The game was developed using M4, Sanctuary Woods' title for the MicroProse Adventure Development System. It was the company's second and final title not made for children, after The Riddle of Master Lu. The game also features a quite impressive cast of voice actors, including Rob Paulsen as the Player Character and Jim Cummings as the Big Bad.
The intergalactic fast-food chain Orion Burger uses the services of an alien meat-supplier named Zlarg, who only cares for money and doesn't have much in a way of conscience. So his next genius plan is to use the inhabitants of the planet Earth, known as "humans", as a raw, protein-rich material for the tasty burgers. However, environmentalist pressure is threatening Orion Burger's pretense that it only uses unintelligent raw materials, forcing Zlarg to abduct pet shop assistant Wilbur Wafflemeier from the sleepy American town of Boonsville and test him for sentience before scouring his planet clean.
Zlarg is still brazen enough to rig the tests, so that no creature can pass it, and — like planned — Wilbur fails miserably. In accordance with inter-galactic abduction protocol, he is supposed to be returned to the moment he left and remember nothing, but he gets a helping hand from the alien-rights activist Astra, who has smuggled herself on board the ship and sabotaged the teleporter. Wilbur arrives intact to a time one hour before his abduction with knowledge of what is going to happen, and has a chance to cheat back.
Gameplay consists of wandering around Boonsville, solving puzzles to gather gear and information for the aliens' five tests. Wilbur is abducted at regular intervals, tested, and returned to Boonsville through the failing teleporter for another iteration of the loop. Going back in time resets the town and empties Wilbur's inventory, but after Wilbur passes a test, he'll automatically (and instantly) prepare for it on all subsequent iterations. Some tests are puzzles themselves, others merely cutscenes.
Events happen at specific times, allowing Wilbur to take advantage of his foreknowledge. The player can also opt to skip straight to the abduction or give up on a test. The game cannot be lost or rendered unwinnable.
This Video Game contains examples of:
- Affably Evil: Flumix is generally polite when speaking with Wilbur, and seems to not realize the tests are rigged.
- Aliens Speaking English: All the main aliens speak English, though the ones Wilbur must deal with during his fourth test are said to speak their own language which cannot be understood.
- Alliterative Name: Wilbur Wafflemeier.
- Bluffing the Advance Scout: Played with. Rather than convincing Zlarg that humans are dangerous, you "merely" have to convince him you're too smart to eat.
- Damsel in Distress: Near the end of the game, Zlarg catches Astra and puts her in his meat locker.
- Entertainingly Wrong: Zlarg assumes Astra was helping Wilbur pass the tests, which is technically more reasonable than the idea of Wilbur being Crazy-Prepared via a "Groundhog Day" Loop.
- Greater-Scope Villain: While Zlarg is the Big Bad of the story, he is acting on behalf of the titular fast food corporation.
- "Groundhog Day" Loop: The premise of the game, brought upon by a malfunctioning alien machine, where Wilbur experiences roughly the same hour over and over again.
- Kick the Dog: Zlarg eats Wilbur's aunt.
- Mean Boss: Zlarg constantly yells at Flumix and insults him.
- No Fair Cheating: In-Universe. Zlarg tells Wilbur he's disqualified for having Astra help him pass the tests, despite having rigged the tests so no creature could pass them.
- No Intelligent Life Here: The Orion Burger corporation tries to invoke this, by setting Wilbur up to fail, as they are not allowed to prey on intelligent life-forms.
- Real Time: The hour Wilbur have to solve the various puzzles around Boonsville before he is abducted again, plays out in real time. The player can, however, decide to skip straight to the abduction at any time by pressing a button on the interface.
- Ship Tease: Wilbur and Astra are implied to feel affection for each other by the end.
- Time Travel: Fortunately for Wilbur, and mankind, this occurs thanks to Astra's intervention and allows him the means to win.
- To Serve Man: The aliens plan to serve mankind as fast food, but the game even deconstructs the trope a bit, as the Orion Burger corporation is facing legal pressure from both the intergalactic government and alien-rights activists about their use of sapient meat in their burgers, hence why the test is rigged to have Wilbur, and mankind by extension, fail to qualify as intelligent life-forms.
- Villainous Glutton: Zlarg greatly enjoys the free access he gets to Orion's food as one of their workers.