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Review: Rocket Knight

Posted by on May 27th, 2010 | 6 Comments | Tags: , , ,

Developer: Climax Studios
Publisher: Konami
Release Date: May 18th, 2010
Availability:
Price: $14.99 | £9.99 | €12.99 | ¥1000
Demo: Yes
Players: 1
Rating: E10+

What I liked:

  • Leaderboards
  • Nice Visuals
  • Varied Gameplay

What I disliked:

  • Brevity
  • Dullness

Rocket Knight, an update to a storied series. Fans have been waiting with bated breath for this to drop for some time now. Is this the Knight that fans deserve?

Starting off, Sparkster is tending to his yard when suddenly; Wolf Kingdom airships begin to attack! Sparkster dons his rocket armor and the adventure begins. Not a bad way to start things off. So I began the introductory level and quickly learned how to control my hero. Seemed simple enough, so let’s talk gameplay. There are three types of levels you’ll encounter, platforming, flying, and bosses. The platforming levels are the meat of the game, some employing different gimmicks and different moves. My favorite was one of the later levels in which Sparkster’s rocket pack would seize up due to the cold and you had to warm it back up to get it to recharge. Flying levels are a dry foray.  You can boost around and charge up your shot, but I found myself quite bored with these. I was hoping some type of power-up would show up, but alas, it never came. Boss Battles were probably my favorite gametype because it took some problem solving to defeat… however brief they were.

The graphics for this one are bright and vibrant with a real cartoony feel… it works. Unlike the game’s predecessors, the screen is a lot more zoomed out in this title… this works too.  This makes for more planned out uses of the rocket pack. The music is suitable, but doesn’t come anywhere close to the tracks from old games. Rocket Knight employs one way of storytelling that I can’t stand. Don’t get me wrong, a silent protagonist isn’t always a bad thing, but when you use the gimmick of “Oh look, the pigs are snorting and the opossums are…possying” to show that characters are talking it detracts from the experience. I see it as a cop-out… we didn’t want to add words, but we still need to tell a story. I know, let’s make the wolf howl, it’ll be adorable. Fucking aye.

Rocket Knight clocks in about an hour and a half to get through. I’ve been perusing some boards and there seems to be two arguments going back and forth about this. Some say its way too short and shouldn’t be carrying a $15 price tag. The others say that the game is meant to be replayed and you should focus on making speed-runs. The game also has a hard mode that allows you to unlock new skins (Spoiler… just put in the Konami code on the push start screen if you wanna play with the other skins).  Taking both arguments into account, the proponents of speed-runs/score-runs have a good point. The game has quite a robust leaderboard system, allowing you to compare times/scores with your friends and the world.  (Last I checked I was in 600th place for level 1, and was way ahead of Chris K.). If that kind of gamestyle is your cup of tea, by all means, grab this one. My biggest problem is that I just found the majority of the experience to be dull. I’m not sure what was lacking exactly, but I didn’t enjoy this game as much as I thought I would. I kept waiting for the game to pick up, and it didn’t. This qualm keeps me from going back to this robust leaderboard system… I just don’t want to pick it up again.

This title has its own niche where people will appreciate it, but I fear that your reviewer isn’t welcome there. Despite my distaste for a few things, I’m giving this the 3. It’s a well put-together machine, and looks pretty too… I just didn’t find it fun. This might be the knight that fans needed, but I don’t think it is the hero that they deserved.