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On briefly seeing the game for the first time at the PCW show last year, I remember not being too impressed. This is probably the opinion that most people form, as at first glance it doesn't look that special. Once you accept the fact that you have to use keys to play and you actually get into it, one finds that the game is in fact very tough, but very good. The gravitational and inertial effects are excellent as is the fast, smooth scrolling routine used. Some of the sprites haven't been amazingly well defined and animated, and the choice of colour is occasionally odd. This doesn't detract from the quality of the game though, which is a superb mixture of various gameplay elements. There's a sprinkle of shoot em up here, some platform game there, a bit of arcade / adventure . . . and it all works great! If you like games with unusual feel or plenty of possible exploration or a host of other things, then you could choose a lot worse than
Rocket Roger.
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Welcome to Game of the Week! Each week there will be a new featured game on this page. The game may be good, average or diabolically bad, it really doesn't matter! Just look at the pics, read the text and enjoy the nostalgia! :-) Game of the Week! is open to contributions so if you would like to contribute a game article for this page you're more than welcome to! Every article we receive will be considered!
Rocket Roger
1984 Alligata Software
Programmed by Steve Evans
 
Most text of the present article comes from the review published in the sixth issue of the British C64 magazine ZZAP!64 (October 1985).
 

ROCKET ROGER
Alligata, 7.95 cass, joystick or keys


Rocket Roger first slipped out onto the streets around a year ago now (the last PCW show I seem to recall) and was met with an apparent lack of enthusiasm from both press and public. This is probably attributable to the control being through keys only, and the lack of joystick compatibility was immediately off-putting to most. Unfortunate circumstances, for this is one game that was definitely overlooked and underrated.

Earlier this year, Alligata decided to re-release the program in a slightly revamped form, in that they gave it a joystick option. All well and good, were it not for the fact that this is one game that can only be played effectively with keys. Once again, unfortunately, response was poor. So we at ZZAP!, being the fair minded crew that we are, decided it was high time that this 'consumer discarded product' saw the light of the day once again, hence this review and the half price offer that you can find in a few pages time.

Cue low lights and twinkly backdrop. Cue tense background music. Cue deep, meaningful voice over. Cue review . . .

In a distant galaxy, far, far, far away there orbits a dark, mystery planet, many light years from Earth and even further from the local chippy. So far away is this planet, that Rocket Roger (so nicknamed because of the powerful jetpack he wears upon his back) has run out of fuel on his return journey from the outer reaches of the kzxxqzyjjkwrxk (don't ask me what it means, I only made the name up) system. Not only does he realise what a fool he's been in not sufficiently fuelling his rocket, he's also discovered that he forgot to collect his stamps.

This unknown planet on which our hero has become stranded is conveniently plentiful in otherwise rare power crystals. There are also a few active volcanoes, an underground complex and network of caverns, and more than a fair share of aliens. If Roger, equipped with his slim-line jetpack and powerful laser, can successfully collect enough crystals, ninety nine in all, he can use them to recharge his spaceship and get back home.

These vital minerals are scattered around the planet's thirty zones, each consisting of around six screens on average. Obviously, because the size of the playing area is so large, the whole thing can't be shown on screen at once. So it's for this reason there is a small window of about half a screen high, and a screen wide, that scrolls in all directions.

In each zone there is a small white line of moving dots called a transporter pad. If you walk over one and register your position, you will be returned to the last pad touched when you die. Pads aren't the only things that frequent the zones, as there are two different types of alien: Patrol Aliens, who move in predictable patterns and cannot be killed, and Hostile Aliens, who have intelligent movement and should be shot on sight as they are dangerous. If Roger stays in the same zone for too long (about 26 seconds), then the Zone Chaser appears, a bit like the Baiters do in Defender when you take too long over a wave, homing in for the kill unless dealt with proficiently.

Your jetpack has a limited quantity of fuel, 5000 units initially, and it can be topped up with one of the number of fuel cans found below the planet. Above ground there is nothing more than rocky peaks, red hot lava, asteroid storms and saucer attacks. Below ground, however, there is a large complex consisting of many platforms, elevators, laser beams, nasty aliens, trap doors, and so on. It's a bit like the choice between the devil and the deep blue sea.

 
   


Presentation 70%
Good, loadable instructions and tips on the game, but a few options.
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This very difficult game is one that will prove popular with those actually willing to persevere with it. The control itself is quite simple -- there's just heaps of inertia which, if you're inexperienced, sends your man whizzing all over the shop. The game is also totally unsympathetic and will try to kill you at each and every turn, but if you like a challenge, then this makes you want to play it more. The game is pretty hard, but I find it challenging and enjoyable to play. (By the way, how many refugees from
Stargate can you spot in the caverns?)
.

   

Graphics 76%
Smooth, fast-scrolling window and good sprites and backgrounds.

Sound 38%
Some good FX but few of them.

Hookability 80%
Inertial affects are difficult to get used to but the exploration bug bites.

Lastability 86%
Very hard game but fun to play -- especially with the map.

Value For Money 81%
At around 8, not overpriced then or now.

Overall 82%
A great blend of different games.
.
.

 

 

Htmlized by Dimitris Kiminas (13 Apr 2003)

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