REVIEW: Rocket Knight
Great for a downloadable title. Really feels like Sparkster with only a few differences. Some good and some not so good.
The music is whimsical and the sound effects are fitting and hilarious. But, no memorable tunes from the 16 bit days. Sad face.
Art & Animation
Looking really good! Animations are readable but could be a little more interesting. Design of characters and environments look great but for some reason Sparkster doesn't look like himself.
A definite throw back to the oldschool Sparkster series. After playing through this a couple times I can say that I love it. It definitely retains that action / adventure, platformer style of gameplay that made the originals outstanding but adds even more to it with awesome new boss battles and complex level designs that will keep you looking for those last few gems for hours.
The gameplay keeps things fresh with various levels having platforming and some other levels that play like a side scrolling space shooter game and even more levels that have various circumstantial obstacles to them. For example, Sparkster's rocket pack is what makes him able to perform the way he does. This particular level is an ice level that freezes your rocket pack making you have to conserve it's energy until you come across a heat source like a torch which will allow it to charge up again.
Speaking of which, charging is not done with holding down any button as with the other games. Instead Sparkster now has a meter that charges gradually as you play but can run out of juice if used too much. That wouldn't bother me too much if everything didn't require juice, and I mean everything! The only thing that doesn't suck up rocket fuel is when you swing your sword. Even then, the sword doesn't shoot a projectile anymore when you swing it; instead, you have to perform a specific maneuver in order to shoot a projectile which, of course, takes up juice.
The rocket meter is not necessarily a bad thing, especially once you get used to it. In fact it actually kind of adds to the challenge forcing you to be wise with your rocket bursts. Try playing this thing on Hard mode and be prepared to enjoy the frustration and the random yelling at the screen that we used to do as kids.
You are still able to bounce off walls when you rocket burst towards them but only diagonally. You used to be able to bounce off walls when blasting straight towards them but not anymore. Kind of a bummer. The whole game is just dripping with "oldschool". Sparkster will even do an idle animation when standing still for a while.
I remember being a kid and having to fight Sparkster's nemesis, Axell Gear (who, by the way, is also in this sucker) and thinking "this would be awesome if one player could be Sparkster and another player could be Axell Gear and we could fight eachother." Alas, such is still not the case with this version of Rocket Knightbut don't let that stop you from trying this out. It's still an enjoyable, and delightfully retro, title that is well worth the $15 you will spend on it. Rocket Knight is out now on the PlayStation Network for PS3, Xbox LIVE for Xbox 360 and Steam for PC.
By the way, when you get to the end of this game, be prepared for a boss battle that will piss you off to no end!