REVIEW: Rolo to the Rescue (1992, Genesis)

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When it comes to video game publishers with shady reputations, Electronic Arts (or EA for short) tends to lean rather deep into this category. Although the scorn for them has more or less died down, it still cannot be denied that some of their recent business practices have ranged from being at best questionable to at worst downright shady. Today, however, we’ll be taking a look at one of the titles released far before those days, Rolo to the Rescue.

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Developed by Vectordean (who were most known for the James Pond series) and published and licensed by Sega for the Genesis in 1992, the game’s story revolves around a young elephant named Rolo who embarks on a journey with his fellow critters to free his mother from a circus. With that out of the way, how does this game fare years after its’ release? Let’s find out, shall we?

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THE LOOKS

As I’ve stated earlier, Vectordean were the people responsible for the creation of the James Pond games (which interestingly enough is one of the few animal mascot platformers to pre-date the advent of Sonic). And if you really look close enough, you can see that the visual style of those games had somewhat of an influence, especially in the character sprites. The visuals go for an overall “cutesy” aesthetic, which does ultimately end up working in its’ favor. Rolo himself is pretty adorable, the use of colors is pleasing, and there’s even a good amount of variety between the levels. It might not be one of the best-looking Genesis games, but it’s certainly up there.

THE SOUND

In a similar vein to the graphics, the music aims for a generally light-hearted tone to appeal to a younger audience, and to be honest, it really works in it’s favor. The level themes, while not spectacular, are quite pleasant to listen to, and even a bit catchy. Granted, it’s not up there with other Genesis titles or even other 16-bit platformers, but for what it is, it’s decent enough.

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THE GAMEPLAY

From an initial standpoint, the gameplay doesn’t exactly offer much. However, what might seem like a generic, run-of-the-mill platformer is actually one that is surprisingly fun. Starting off with the controls, although they might feel a bit wonky at first, it doesn’t take long to master them. Next, the level design as a whole is fairly intriguing. It’s essentially built around the abilities of Rolo and the other playable animals, in which you have to jump and search your way to find secrets as well as the trapped critters whom you must rescue in order to receive the good ending. Speaking of which, the animals themselves help to spice up the gameplay quite nicely, with each of them having their own unique and fun ability which can enable them to get to places Rolo can’t. Overall, while this isn’t anything truly remarkable, it’s most certainly a nice little diversion.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Rolo to the Rescue may not be one of the best Genesis games out there, but for what it is, it’s a rather charming 2D platformer. While I can’t say that everyone will enjoy this game, I can think of two categories of people who most certainly would: children, and people who are simply looking for a game that doesn’t break new ground but is still fun to play nonetheless.

THE RETR0PIA RANKING

B-

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7 Comments

  1. No way! I didn’t even know such a game existed! It reminds me of the game GameFreak put out recently about an army elephant. I would assume that an elephant is a very difficult animal to make a platforming hero. Maybe because you’re using a heavy 4-legged animal. Seems like this game is okay at best though. Nice review! And don’t worry about feeling like you need to rush to get an article out! Write at a pace that works for you at this time! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. The music isn’t half bad and it’s quite a bit catchy! I may foresee an earworm in my future. That heavy beat beneath the lighter tone might drive it home, and the notes and phrases aren’t awful either. I used to be much better at talking about music when I was in choir/musicals and studied it, but yeah, it’s not terrible at all.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ll have to look into these James Pond games. I’m happy Sega is releasing a comparable system to Nintendo’s mini (even though I know these games are too obscure to be on it). It gives people like me who were more into Nintendo a chance to see more of that…though I did have a Dreamcast, which allowed me to play Grandia II. It’s such a shame that system didn’t get the play it deserved.

        Liked by 1 person

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