Some games have the best intentions, but something gets lost upon execution. Rocket Jockey is one of those games. It sounds like a real cool idea: ride cycles which look like they came out of a Star Wars movie and ride around an arena slamming other cyclists. They even got renowned surf guitarist Dick Dale to provide music and dug up a well-known announcer to count down the start of each match. Unfortunately, they forgot to design the controls well.
First of all, the cycle has a bigger turning radius than a Mac truck, which makes it very frustrating to get close to anything. You have to turn in these big circles. Pylons are provided which you can sling your cable around for a sharp turn, but it's not the same. Anyone who's ridden a motorcycle knows that they're pretty maneuverable. That's the way these things should have been, but they're not.
For some reason, braking only increases the temperature in your engine but doesn't decrease your speed very much (of course, there's no speedometer of any kind, so maybe your speed decreases 5 MPH or something). And you can go up and down a little bit, but that's it. There should have been a greater range of up-and-down motion as well.
Another big problem is that when you get knocked off your cycle, it's very hard to control your player as he runs back to his bike. For some reason, the perspective shifts in addition to your guy as you move the joystick, making it more difficult than it needs to be.
The graphics are okay. They're nothing to write home about. The sound effects, though, aren't so hot. The cycle should have a deep, throaty growl, but instead it emits more of a whine. The sound a player makes when he gets whacked with a cable is pretty good, though. And the crowd goes "Ooh" every time someone gets hit, but that's about it. Nothing along the lines of bloodthirsty screaming from them.
There is a variety of characters to choose from when you start, but none of them are really different in any way. And you select from four types of cycles, but none of them have advantages or disadvantages over any of the others. You can enhance your cycle as you move throug the levels, but good luck actually winning a competition unless you're playing against a human opponent.
This one might entice you with its fancy graphics and promise of exciting game play. Ignore it.
Graphics: Nice. Not a lot of detail, but overall they're pretty good.
Sound: Mixed bag. One one hand you have Dick Dale's guitar work. On the other hand, your cycle sounds like a vacuum cleaner.
Enjoyment: The cycle's lack of maneuverability is very frustrating.
Replay Value: You probably won't want to play it more than a couple times before growing bored with it.
One of the most original futuristic sport games ever made, Rocket Jockey is undoubtedly the best game Rocket Science produced in their short career as game developer. Unfortunately, its very steep hardware requirements (at the time) and Segasoft's failure to deliver the promised LAN patch by the game's release date seriously hurt the game's sales and helps make it -- until today, that is -- an undiscovered gem.
The game's concept is very unique, and instantly appealing: as the title implies, you ride rockets (yes, real rockets) and face off against other rocket jockeys in three different (and all entertaining) types of competition. As CGW review points out: 'there's Rocket Race, an obstacle course emphasizing piloting skills; Rocket War, a gladiatorial free-for-all; and Rocket Ball, a demented soccer game where jockeys use their cables to hurl various balls into goals. Tight time limits and point spreads ensure that gameplay never drops below an appropriate level of mayhem.
Along with dizzying speed and gleeful brutality, this game sports some devious arena design, with one new twist or obstacle in each successive arena. For example, just when you've gotten the hang of flinging tires and wrecking balls in Rocket Ball, Proximity Park asks you to score goals with cycle-blasting proximity bombs. And one Rocket War arena makes getting, and bashing, your opponents particularly daunting by carving up the playing area in quarters with only narrow passageways between them.
If there's a knock against the gameplay in Rocket Jockey, it's that some of the arenas can be very unforgiving. Failure to score within the first 30 seconds of some Rocket Ball stadiums can doom you to failure, while some Rocket Race courses demand nothing less than cycle-piloting perfection.
There is something else about Rocket Jockey: It has the coolest music in a game ever (which is unfortunately ripped out in this download version), featuring the fat-stringed sound of surf guitar legend Dick Dale (he's the Pulp Fiction guy). The psychotic toreador riffs and manic drums complement the action perfectly.?
A unique premise, addictive gameplay, and great graphics combined makes Rocket Jockey a true old game.
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