“Our story opens today at the WordPress-based retro gaming blog retr0pia, where its’ creator, retr0pia75, is about to review yet another game based off of one of his favorite TV shows, Rocky & Bullwinkle.”
Greetings again, my fellow retr0pians. As you could guess by the title, I have found out that there is somehow another Rocky & Bullwinkle game. And if my last encounter with the moose & squirrel is anything to go by, I shouldn’t be expecting ANYTHING good out of it…
“What retr0pia75 was solemnly referring to was none other than the 1992 Nintendo Entertainment System game developed by Radical Entertainment and published by THQ. Not only was it as visually appalling, but the controls were clunky, the level design felt thrown together, the music was total garbage, and it was overall just an extremely unpleasant game to play. However, the game’s horrendous reception didn’t seem to faze THQ whatsoever, seeing as how they went on to publish what we have on our hands today.”
Can this game offer ANY sort of improvement over its’ predecessor, or is it just proof that the works of Jay Ward just aren’t cut out for the world of gaming? Let’s find out, shall we?
THE LOOKS – Well, I’ll definitely give the graphics this – they’re a heck of a lot better than the ones from last time, that’s for sure. For starters, the character sprites actually have an actual sense of design to them – a major stark contrast to the messy blobs in the NES game. The backgrounds have also undergone a major improvement, no longer looking like the stuff that a five year old could do in programs like MS Paint or Kid Pix, actually do a good job in resembling and representing the cartoon well enough. Sure, there are some problems, like the choppy movements of the sprites, and the fact that when it all boils down they’re really not anything mind-blowing, but this is still definitely one of THQ’s better-looking licensed games.
THE SOUND – While the graphics have taken a major step forward in quality, I just can’t say the same about the music. While I’d definitely take it over the rejected ice cream truck music from the NES game, it still can’t change the fact that it is simply annoying. Not only are the melodies unmemorable and just extremely lazy, but they are also just completely repetitive. It doesn’t help either that some of them are also quite short, which makes the endless looping of them all the more irritating. The equally annoying sound effects do not help matters in the least. Like I said, it’s better than the music in the NES game – though it really isn’t much of an endorsement.
Bullwinkle, dodging a huge boulder.
THE GAMEPLAY – Apparently, the devlelopers of this game, Absolute Entertainment, have also worked on a number of other games, one of them being the infamous Home Improvement game (I dread the day when I review THAT), and it definetely shows. First off, even if they’re not as insanely loose as they were before, the controls are still bad. They still have that “clunky” feeling to them, making it hard to manuever throughout the levels. Speaking of the levels, not only are they poorly designed, but they CONSTANTLY throw enemy after enemy and obstacle after obstacle at you, to the point where you might as well stop and wonder why you’re even bothering anymore! On the plus side, they do try to give you more of an advantage by giving you some attacks such as throwing oranges and acorns or headbutting, but because the collision detection is so horribly-implemented, it becomes more of a disadvantage. It might be a bit more bearable than last time, but that’s not to say that the stuff we have here is good.
THE BOTTOM LINE – It’s clear that some properties aren’t meant to translate over to every single form of entertainment, and Rocky & Bullwinkle is one of those properties. While the graphics do look nicely done, the music is grating, the level design is awful, the controls reek, and it’s just not very fun to play. But then again, poor quality is the norm for most licensed games.
“Tune in for the next exciting post on retr0pia!”