Rocket Knights the original Megadrive version was 52 shades of awesome and a joy to play an behold. They then followed that with the joyous and sometimes hard Sparkster. Konami have managed to produce a new version for the Ps3/Xbox which is downloaded from the respective shops only. Is it a fitting sequel to the series? Not really. Is it a pretty cool sidescrolling platformer? YesThe adventure starts off well enough, Sparkster(the hero) has retired and is living with his family when the country is invaded and attacked. He dons his rocket pack and off he flies to the rescue of the world.
It is a direct sequel to the series, fitting in nicely with the timeline. While he was out on the adventure that was the game Sparkster, the pigs from the Pigstar made an alliance with the possum populace. When Sparkster got back, he was no longer needed, although he didn't trust those pigs.
Lo and Behold, they pull a dodgy and here we are. I must say I was surprised to see this continue the story, especially after seeing all those years having passed by. I thought they would reboot the first one, which seems to be a popular theme of DLC games lately. So whats it like then?
What I liked about the first two games was the boss placement. They were all over the place. Level 2 of RK had a boss right at the start of the level, and then one near the end. They were almost as common as normal enemies and it kept you on your toes made a nice change from the load of other platformers around at the time. This one however has a disappointing lack of bosses and they are squarely at the end of the level. I must say I was surprised as I felt this was a key aspect of the original.
The platforming with the jetpack is still there, and now Sparkster has a little burst mode that he can use to control the direction of his jumps a bit better and regain control after a rocket boost. The rocket pack automatically recharges its boost gauge, so no holding attack to charge, which was a pain in the first game and you can boost often and quickly until the gauge drops to empty, it will the charge up again. Unlike the second game (Sparkster) you can only boost once without having to land. Sparkster allowed you to keep your feet off the ground which was not necessary, buy fun nonetheless. This way adds more challenge I must say though.
This one, Sparkster also has a projectile attack from his sword that uses boost power as well. It is weaker than his sword attack, but is handy in areas. The general platforming is pretty good in this game, with wide sections to cover and lots of things to hang from when needed. The jetpack is naturally an essential item and key to this game therefore the levels are based around this concept and this is where the game comes together nicely. The platforming is a lot of fun! There are the flying levels as well.
The music is nice and orchestral and some tunes are updates of the original ditties. Unfortunately, they seem to lack the punch the first had. I remember the first level had some pumping trumpet-esque music to go along with and it really got you in the mood. Here the tune is the same, but it lacks the emotive power. Same could be said for the boss music. Original had some racing techno beats going on that mounted the tension nicely. Here we have some good music, but it just lacks a bit of 'oomph' that made the original so memorable.
One of the end of level bosses.
Overall we have here a fun game, but it is a little short wit only 10 levels. It doesn't quite have the same feeling of 'awesome' that the original had, but it is a solid platformer. There is a big difference between normal skill levels and hard, and there are also time attack challenges. As well as the option to play as Axle (Sparkster's rival) once the game is finished (I think, I haven't finished yet). If you like 2-D platformers, buy it if its cheap for some decent fun.
Thanks to Gamespot for the screenshots