Rocket Knight – Review (PS3)

Rocket Knight – Review (PS3)

Konami is back working their magic once again in their newest title, Rocket Knight. Taking place some years after the  Rocket Knight Adventure games (from back in the earlier 1990’s on Sega Genesis) Sparkster is back to protect his home and  defeat the swine army. The big swine have rallied up their forces and made other allies to seek revenge against you. Just when that wasn’t enough, Sparkster also has to deal with his arch-nemesis Axel Gear.

Sparkster wakes to yelling and screaming. He dons his rocket pack and takes flight to find the cause. As he stumbles upon a lonely person in trouble, he realizes that trouble is far worse than he realized. That’s right, the pigs have returned for blood. Once you have discovered this, it’s not long until you run into your nemesis, the fallen rocket knight Axel Gear

Rocket Knight is part side-scroller and part shooter. This unique style works wonderfully and is seamlessly integrated into the experience. The game is split up into side-scrolling elements in one chapter and then flying on your rocket pack shooting enemies as if you were playing a shooter such as Raiden. Being a fan of shooters, I loved how this was done. It was a really nice way to break up the action long enough to keep things feeling fresh until you returned to the platform side of the game.

Throughout your journey, you will run across an assortment of gems that, when collected, will add to your score. You can also collect extra lives and rocket pack re-fillers.
Doing well and ending each stage with a good score will result in earning extra continues that will help you progress through the later levels. You can get bonuses from defeating the stages within a certain time frame, which will help your overall score.

The game plays great. Things start off a bit slow, but don’t let that fool you. You will be on the edge of your seat the entire time you are playing, not wanting to waste any of your continues until you have finally made it to the boss encounter.

There will be many bosses and other creatures you will encounter during your journey (some are bigger and badder than the last). You will find gangs of wolves among other nasties (I will leave it up to you to discover them all).  You will battle in lush forests to snow covered mountains.

What I enjoyed the most about Rocket Knight was how you were left guessing about the way a stage is completed. I got stuck a few times, but that is just one of the many challenging aspects of RK.  Another great thing is, Rocket Knight is very forgiving when it comes to dealing with death and continuing. You will find falling to your death isn’t really as bad as it sounds. Instead of losing a life and starting over, you will only get penalized by losing some health.

Checkpoints are available throughout each level, and they will allow you to continue from the previous one you unlocked.

Rocket Knight’s graphics are phenomenal. The backgrounds and sprites are 3D but the perspective is 2D. Konami has truly captured the finesse of the classic, but made it modern. The graphics still have that  hand drawn look to them, but they don’t look plain either. The colors are very sharp and vibrant, but not cartoonish at all. It has its own look and feel unlike any other side-scrollers on the market today.

There were a few things about RK that could have been improved. There was no way of knowing what characters were saying to each other. They either grunted, groaned, mumbled, or used body language to express their thoughts or the scenario at hand. It would have been nice if subtitles were added explaining what was actually being said, especially for people not familiar with the series. It left you with unanswered questions like, ‘What just happened?’ and ‘What’s going on?’.

Plus, there are no cut scenes at all. While they are not needed, it felt like something was missing between chapters. Just my two cents. What is available does work, though. To RK’s credit, short descriptions between loading screens fill you in on the missing info that a cut scene would have added. Like I stated above; the system Konami has in place does work, and it works well. I just wanted a little bit more.

Rocket Knight will give you hours of enjoyment depending on how good you are with the genre.  Plus, you will have plenty of replay value with all the different difficulty settings. If you are one of those people that needs to grab every trophy you can get, you will have a blast (no pun intended) trying to collect the ones in RK.

If you love side-scrollers/shooters – or if you were a fan of the 16-bit version – then this new release of Rocket Knight was made for you.  Rocket Knight is available on the Playstation Network for $14.99.

The asking price of $14.99 is well worth it to relive a classic that we all played so many years ago. RK was well worth the wait just to play it again, reborn on a newer console.
James ‘DaRipp3r’ Pittaro

Platform: Playstation 3 (Also available for Xbox 360 & Steam for PC)
Developer / Publisher: Konami

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