Gaming My Way

14 Oct

Rocket Knight Adventures Review (Genesis)

Yes, it’s old. And yes, you may not have heard of it. But it’s an amazing game, and if you haven’t heard of it yet, you should go pick up a copy at your local used game store/thrift store/pawn shop. Or get it through the Wii’s Virtual Console if that’s your thing.

If you care about a plot, this game has a minimal one, told with little scenes of things happening between the levels. Really though, it boils down to you, an opossum Rocket Knight, needing to rescue the princess and save the kingdom from the evil pigmen. It’s an old school platformer, so you’re lucky you get that much, to be honest.

As an old school platformer, this game does a lot right. The basic gameplay consists of hitting enemies with your sword which can shoot little missiles (or beams if you’re thinking about Zelda) a short distance and jumping or rocketing away to avoid enemies and obstacles. Since you can’t attack while you’re storing power to use your rockets to attack or fly and jump long distances, you have to be careful in choosing when to charge and when to just make the jumps, particularly in boss battles.

There are portions of levels in which you will actually fly continuously, and one entire level for which this is the case, and these are some of the most fun parts of the game. Here you simply can move all over the screen, letting enemies have it with your beam sword. Stage 6 is particularly fun with this due to the very high number of enemies and an amazing boss fight against a small space ship.

Speaking of bosses, almost all of them were incredibly well done. They’re usually fairly standard find and hit the weak point affairs, but they are all very unique in look and usually require very different strategies to get to a given weak point. The fights against Axle Gear were my favorite, as he’s basically your evil doppelganger, and I’m a sucker for doppelganger battles. The only one that was a little dissapointing was the very last battle, which feels a little anticlimactic, but since it’s a phased boss fight, I’ll forgive them as the other phases of the boss were very well done.

The music is quite strong, usually serious and getting you in the mood to take out some pigmen. At times, most noticibly during the forth stage, it’s a bit more lighthearted. All around, it’s quite good though. Especiallly of note is the music in stage six, which helps keep the feeling of flying through space as an awesome adventure in crushing evil.

The controls are done well, as all you need are jump and attack buttons. It’s possible it might have been more convenient if you didn’t need to charge the rocket to use it, and this could have been done by using the extra button normally used as a second attack button for rockets instead. However, I think it was intended that you choose whether you want your attacks or your rockets ready, and it works well as it is.

One last note is this game has a difficulty for everyone. If you’re awful at video games, feel free to play the children mode, which will give you lots of lives and continues, and allow you to take very little damage from enemies. Easy is for people who like to learn the game before jumping in, but are comfortable with games. Normal is for people who think Super Mario Bros. and Sonic the Hedgehog are a quality challenge. And hard is for people who like there difficulty somewhere in the area of Ninja Gaiden or Contra. Yes, seriously. In hard mode, one hit will kill you, and you start the game with one life and no continues. As the game goes on, you can earn extra lives, so starting with one life isn’t as bad as it sounds, but hard mode is still not for the meek. It is a lot of fun if you’re looking for a challenge though.

So, for those of you looking for a high quality, old school game of just about any difficulty, this game has your ticket. Pick it up if you can find it, or borrow it from a friend. You’ll be happy you did.

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