perjantai 13. toukokuuta 2011

REVIEW - The Rocketeer (1991)

GENRE(S): Action
RELEASED: December 1991
PUBLISHER(S): Disney Software (PC), IGS (SNES)

The Rocketeer was created by comic book artist Dave Stevens in 1982 as a tribute to 30's and 40's matinee superheroes. In 1991, Joe Johnston directed a movie based on this obscure cult hero to be distributed by Walt Disney Pictures. The movie was perhaps released to mixed reviews, but since it was such a visually impressive action movie, and one by Disney, it spawned its very own video game, which left no room for debate. The Rocketeer is one of the worst games I've ever played.

Set the controls for the heart of the sun

In the late 30's, a jetpack secretly developed by industrialist Howard Hughes is stolen by a mob led by Eddie Valentine. The thieves get caught by the FBI on an airfield frequented by stunt pilot Cliff Secord and his mechanic Peevy Peabody. Cliff uses the jetpack and a helmet designed by Peevy to become The Rocketeer, a national hero who gets unwanted attention from both the mob and the Nazis due to his deeds.

I hate the movie, to be honest.

But not as much as I hate the game.

As clumsy as it gets.
The game is ugly and messy. It's a good thing those bullets are flying at you in the arcade shooting sequences, 'cause otherwise you wouldn't even know your enemies are there! To say they disappear into the background would be an understatement, they're ONE with the background. The music's horrible, the sound effects are straight from the 8-bit era; from your very first glance at the game, you just know how it's going to be. Or maybe not. Nothing can prepare you for this.

The Rocketeer is an action game which is divided into four different sorts of sequences. So is it a diverse game, then? Oh, absolutely! I've never seen so many variables of shit in one single game! First up is a flying race you simply cannot win, not if your opponents get ahead of you once. The controls are awful, and the camera angle simply does not work. Think about an Indy Car game, viewed from the absolute side, and you'll get the picture. Once you get the jetpack to replace your plane, the races get much easier, but none the more interesting to play.

That Hindenburg's going down.
Next, we have an arcade-style shooter which I kind of covered already. You'll be dead in no time. You cannot make out the enemies from that fucking mess, and it seems like every single bullet you eat deals a quarter of a health bar worth of damage to you, no matter how fast and accurate you are. From time to time, you need to use the jetpack to pick up some power-ups from the ceiling, which makes controlling the crosshair even more awkward than it already is, and you need to keep shooting all the time. The side-scrolling shoot 'em up levels are pretty much the only mildly entertaining bits in the whole game. The best part comes last: a beat 'em up! I'm not sure what your ultimate goal is in the final stage of the game; I guess you're supposed to beat up a certain amount of dudes to reach Jenny, your girl and the Nazi bastard who's holding her hostage (nice censorship on the swastikas, by the way... lol). Too bad your movement is at 1 SPM (Step Per Minute) and your only method of offense is a punch with such a short range you wouldn't be able to punch yourself in the nose.

"We can't put swastikas in a Nintendo game, but
you know what would look cool? A double
lightning, you know, like: SS?"
If the first race and most of this game's levels are impossible to beat because the game is simply impossible to control, how do I know all of this and how did I get those screenshots? Well, let me tell you. There's a very simple cheat code for a level select to enter in the title screen: L, R, L, R, down. I think the levels in the game weren't made to be beaten, I think they were made to be seen. I did beat two of them, though, and I certainly didn't feel too good about it. There's no sense of reward in eating shit off a silver platter. Then again, there's no sense of reward in this whole game.

When I first saw the movie, I was disappointed. I thought it would be more of a serious, action-packed superhero film instead of the boring Disney drama it rather is. When I saw it for a second time as a more mature viewer, I downright hated it. I would gladly watch it for a third, and fourth, and fifth time, hell, I'd buy the DVD rather than ever destroying my senses by even thinking about this game's existence again. IGS didn't publish a whole lot of console games after The Rocketeer, by the way. I wonder why.

SOUND : 3.0


GameRankings: 52.50%

Another, wholly different game based on the movie was developed for the NES by Bandai and released prior to the 16-bit game in May 1991.

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