Tuesday, June 21, 2016

1PanelReview The Rocketeer (NES)

Cliff Secord was just an happy-go-lucky reckless daredevil airplane pilot, until the day he found rocket pack in the back of his plane...

Don't miss out my previous pulp heroes-related reviews!
What it is: The Rocketeer (NES)

Which is: A sidescroller action run & gun game
Created by: Ironwind Software/Realtime Associates/Bandai America
Year: May 1991
Available on: NES

One of my all-time favorite comic books. The Rocketeer was a timeless classic created by artist Dave Stevens, which was adapted into a 1991 Disney movie of the same name. Of course a few tie-in materials were produced such as this video game. The NES game was developed by Ironwind Software, and published by Bandai that same year.

The story the game follows more of less that of the film, which was a fairly faithful exact take on the comic book. The game uses still images for cutscenes which contain most of the plot, scenes and key characters of the film. It takes place in 1938, as young pilot Cliff Secord and his mechanic Peevy find this experimental rocket pack in their plane. Of course, nazis are after that same jet pack and they finally go after Betty/Jenny (depending on your source material, the comics or the film). It's now up to Cliff, disguised as The Rocketeer, to stop them!

What's Good about it: The Rocketeer is your pretty standard sidescroller action game which was common at the time.
While it might not have a great or innovative gameplay, it's still pretty simple and fun.
The game appears like your standard run and gun. Only you start without any guns just yet.
The Rocketeer has the ability to fly... although it does take some time to finally be able to actually fly mid-way through the 1st stage where you will finally find the first jet fuel power-up and ammo. Once equipped with fuel you can finally fly, but only in short bursts. Which is actually pretty fun.
Weapons depend on your ammo level, all actions take a certain amount of ammo. Punching requires no ammo and it's your basic attack, the pistol takes only 1 ammo, the tommygun 2, 5 ammo for grenades and finally the bazooka taking up to 20 ammo. All of this is available right from the start.
This is a pretty short game despite feature several stages taken from key scenes from The Rocketeer from the airfield to Cliff's home, the town, the streets of "Hollywoodland", all sorts of buildings on the way to the ballroom and finally the secret nazi blimp! Your enemies are your run of the mill thugs, mostly. There's boss fights at the end of each stage.
The game allows access codes for progression.
It really captures what The Rocketeer comics and movie was all about. It's fun. Colorful. Action-packed. And feature all the major beats from the story.
Finally the music is fun and pretty catchy, giving this game a really nice memorable 8-bit soundtrack.

What's Bad about it: The Rocketeer is a really standard shooter/platformer. Somehow you would expect something with more emphasis on flying from The Rocketeer!
Graphics are ok, but they're not the best. It's colorful, sure, but the scales are all wonky and there's some weird perspectives going on. It doesn't sound like a big issue, but the stage inside Cliff's house is pretty off-putting for such a realistic world.
And you barely get to fly, fuel runs out so quickly!
And strangely there's a ton of enemies with rocket packs of their own, which kinda ruins the whole premise of The Rocketeer!

Overall: The Rocketeer for the NES is a simple yet  fun retro title.

With lovely visuals, you can clearly recognize and make the characters and the story.

It's not the best, but it's as nice as a Rocketeer game done right could get!

Visually it's not that great on first look, but I still found it pretty fun and simple enough. Worth a Try if anything!

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