A fondly remembered hero of the 16-bit days, Sparkster make’s his return this week on PSN/XBLA.
Sonic and Mario have had countless sequals, but old Sparkster only had two titles to his credit.
Can he prove that quality is better than quantity in 2010?
The demo itself is of a decent length, and features 2 stages covering classic Rocket Knight platforming and shoot em up gameplay. In a time where very good 2D action platformers are difficult to find on anything without a plumber on the box, RK feels very fresh and his tradmark jet pack allows the plucky possum a wide range of abilites beyond a humble double jump. Sparkster can melee, shoot fireballs, perform a little hover to carry his further and even blast himself in the air and bounce from walls in the process. The rocket jump abilities could make for some devious platforming in later levels to tax even the most hardened of MW2 player, but i doubt anyone from that world will even give RK a second look.
The game features two mode of play, Arcade and Free Play. The former being the Story mode and the later offering players the chance to compete on online leaderboards against friend’s best scores and level completion times. This could make for something very special, as RK has a Multiplier system to it scoring. If you collect gems and/or kill enemies in quick succession your multiplier rises. Looking for combos and links through the levels will REALLY get those leaderboards buzzing, and give RK plenty of reply value for high score junkies.
RK desperately needs this to happen, as what strikes you first about RK is the 2002 era PS2 graphics. While graphics are not the be all and end all of a good platform game (Mega Man 10, please stand up), I expected better from a £10 title. Shadow Complex showed that you can have excellent visuals on a clasic 2D game style, Rocket Knight looks like it showed up 6 years late to the party and sadly struggles to compete with last gen titles, such as Ratchet And Clank.
Still, the Trial version is well worth a play through, this once over saturated genre is now almost non-existant and if nothing else RK manages to be a pleasant trip down memory lane. Sparkster is a fun character to control and though he lost a little charm in looks department in the move from 2D to 3D his skill set continues to impress in 2010.
Rocket Knight is available now for PSN/XBLA and costs £9.99 /1200points.