Hands-on: Rocketman: Axis of Evil

One of the few original titles being published by Capcom and slated for release on Xbox Live Arcade and the PlayStation Network, Rocketman: Axis of Evil can be quickly summed up as Smash TV with a dash of Geometry Wars and some classics thrown in for good measure.

Does that make it good or bad already? Well, no, not really. In fact, the game actually shows the kind of “fun potential” this new era of downloadable console games can offer. 

More after the jump. 

When first confronted with the idea of Rocketman, you could easily pass it off as just another wannabe. Well that’s good and fine, but what if it works? What if it takes all those elements you love, and then throws in other classic game styles that you’ve missed?

To me, that’s what Rocketman does so well. Of course, it’s hard to say now if the game will fully flesh out in the way Capcom says it will — they suggested a somewhat robust RPG-like experience — but all in all, it was a fun title to pick up and play, especially with a buddy or two or three.

There’s nothing quite like just plowing through different levels and enemies with someone else. I love that brag factor about my score being better or having the ability to steal someone else’s much-needed health pack. 

With a top down, shoot-em-up approach, Rocketman is fast paced, hectic and varied enough, even with the demo, to warrant some solid play time. In fact, if it were not for the feeling we were being rushed out by the end of the Capcom event where we played the game, then I may have stayed a little longer with Rocketman. Even with the glorious Puzzle Fighter right next to me, for whatever reason I stayed glued to this little title. 

In motion, the game felt and looked like an updated Smash TV — sans the half-naked blonde chicks and cocky announcer. And, as a fan of the ol‘ Smash, there was nothing wrong with that.

With the addition of multiple weapon choices and special weapons (of which you swapped through with the left trigger), the game felt like it could hold some life in it. 

The only real issue I had with Rocketman was its camera control. It felt disconnected at times. Meaning, when in fact you can go back to an area you passed, the game sometimes didn’t let you at odd and random times. This became a particular issue when playing with someone else.

For instance, if you missed a power-up you needed to pick up, sometimes it wasn’t so simple to just go back and get it. Unless you have a complete mind meld with your partner or partners, trying to go back and collect items could prove mighty futile.

I suppose the real question, when you come down to it though, is if this game is really worth 800 Microsoft points or the comparable amount it will also be for the PSN? While there may have been others that played that day that said no, for me and what I like (and what was promised to be included), then I can safely say yes — especially with how skimpy Boom Boom Rocket feels at the same price.

If the game is ultimately put together in one nice package, it’s certainly worth an honest look when it’s finally released. 


Robert Summa