Remember back in 2010, when a little game called Rocket Knight
came out on the XBLA/PSN? Of course you don't, because it only sold 10 copies. I hate you people. In all seriousness, though, the game wasn't very good. But for those of us who grew up in the 16-bit era, we desperately wanted it to be good. Why? Because we were waiting for years for the Rocket Knight named Sparkster to make his triumphant return to gaming. While Sparkster did appear in an alright sequel for the Genesis and a pretty cool spinoff for the SNES, it was his original debut on the Sega Genesis that was his bestest adventure; a Rocket Knight adventure, if you will. Let me take you on a little journey, and show you all how awesome of a platformer this game really is (and yes, I love it so much that I own a copy with the box and instruction booklet. SUCH A NERD!).
First of all, look at that bitchin' box art! Sparkster looks like a bad-ass opossum (I looked that word up), and he's fucking flying with goggles and shit! It makes you just wanna say, "Take me in your strong arms and fly me on an epic adventure, you sexy armadillo!" Clearly, my younger self was sexually confused, as well as lacking in animal terminology. One look at the back, and you can already tell this is gonna be a fun, varied adventure! AND WHAT AN ADVENTURE IT IS! You start off and get an opening cinematic with Sparkster on a rock, facing the sky when a shadowy pig emperor materializes and laughs at you (though since this is the Genesis, the laugh sounds more like a series of confused farts). Then you start playing, and already the kingdom is under attack, with a giant robot spider destroying the castle in the background that you just KNOW is gonna be the first level boss. You attack with your sword, and it shoots these cool circles out to destroy your enemies, who are mostly pig knights, who may or may not be operating heavy machinery. You then realize that there is a gauge you can charge with your attack button, which powers up your rocket pack. Release it when fully charged to get an awesome in-place spin attack, or choose a direction to go flying, sword-first, for a short period of time! My personal fave is sending Sparkster straight up, because the look on his face and the way he flails his arms on the way down is just priceless. Sparkster is also cool and looks at you with a thumbs-up if you leave him idle, unlike Mr. Impatient Fuck Face Sonic. Halfway through the first level, you get to experience a side-scrolling shooter, with Sparkster flying to the right, shooting his energy sword beams. There are a few of these, and they help make Rocket Knight Adventures
a unique, varied platformer. They remind me of Gradius
, and there are some cool little homages to that shoot-em-up (which isn't surprising, since this is a Konami game).
The levels in Rocket Knight Adventures
are quite varied and challenging. The game is always throwing you something new; one stage you are climbing on vines with your tail, going between the foreground and background on a waterfall; the next, you are jumping between platforms that are hidden behind crystals, and your only sense of direction is provided by your reflection against a rising pool of red water that will kill you instantly when touched. Every level is fresh, too; you go from castles, to caves, to airships, EVEN TO OUTER SPACE. The bosses; dear God, the bosses in this game! Every single one is challenging and unique; from mechanical fish that eat the various platforms you are standing on at a rapid pace, requiring split second timing on your jumps to survive; to weird, gyrating pig robots that shoot giant lasers at you, and your only chance to do damage is when said laser is about to fry your cute little animal face off. The music is incredible, too, as if you had any doubt. It really sucks you into the experience, and you feel like you are a part of a grand adventure. You believe you can save the day, even though the odds are stacked highly against you.
Everyone that loves platformers, do yourself a favor and hunt this game down. It is one of the tightest, funnest adventure games of any generation. The good folks that designed this game later formed Treasure, who made the awesome Gunstar Heroes
, so you know I ain't just shitting out of my mouth when I say this game is amazing. Make sure to play on any difficulty other than Children; otherwise, you'll miss out on the true ending! I leave you with this: ROCK 'EM, SOCK 'EM ROBOTS!