Game Over Online ~ Rocky

GameOver Game Reviews - Rocky (c) Ubi Soft, Reviewed by - Fwiffo

Game & Publisher Rocky (c) Ubi Soft
System Requirements Game Boy Advance
Overall Rating 50%
Date Published Thursday, December 19th, 2002 at 03:43 PM


Divider Left By: Fwiffo Divider Right

A recent article I read in Business 2.0 stated that the gaming business is now second only to Hollywood movies in terms of market size. Is that revenue? Profit? Audience? Regardless, that's quite a step from the humble days of coin-op arcades and kids hording over the Game Boy. Now that game and film have to be promoted in tandem by publishers, developers are not waiting for around for the next big movie. Rather, they must have struck on the novel idea to promote games based on older movies that were box office hits.

Rocky is one such hit. It's really an American trademark that single handedly lifted Sylvester Stallone to stardom. In contrast, there's nothing particularly glamorous about this game on the Game Boy Advance. Let's start with what's available. Rocky features quick bouts and exhibition modes in a variety of locales with a number of generic boxers of varying skills. The developers have also thrown in the movie boxers (there were many Rocky antagonists of course) to spice up the lot and they too have attributes. Even Rocky has attributes too. He's not Mohammed Ali, after all, and there is a 'campaign' or career mode that lets you train Rocky into the formidable boxer that he becomes on the silver screen. After winning fights, you can put Rocky in a gym and complete mini-game like tasks to advance his attributes.

All this would really matter if Rocky needed the training in the first place. As it stands, Rocky is fairly capable of taking down all of his opponents namely because the enemy AI runs at the same level for everyone. Without even mastering any of the combos, you're able to easily take down to take down all of his opponents. A few simple ducks and a persistent punch won't win you any glamorous knockouts but it will wear the opponent down to the ground after a few rounds. (Multiply that number for a few more rounds for the more difficult opponents.) This simply doesn't bode well for the career mode.

The fights are hampered even more by the loose controls. It's tough to execute combos and at first, I thought it was due to my poor eye-hand coordination skills but a robot android would have problems pulling consistent combos with Rocky in the current setup.

However, even that doesn't constitute as the most irritating thing. The real infamia about Rocky is its presentation. Admittedly, you don't expect much when it comes to a Game Boy Advance version of a game that was simultaneously released on its three bigger console cousins. But someone must have made the design decision to make this a side-scrolling boxing title. How does it work? One fighter stands on one side and the other fighter stands on the other side. You move left and right until, well, you just keep moving. There's no way to pin your opponent into a corner or lead him anywhere in the ring. You're just two guys going toe to toe, permanently fixed at a few feet apart. The boxing mechanics aren't terribly developed but it at least has a few combos and skills that do matter (they just don't matter so much for your opponents). But this layout really hampers the game's believability. You can only duck two ways: towards the screen or away from the screen. And that's about as tactical as this game can get. In light of Rocky for the big three consoles and titles like Knockout Kings, it's disheartening to see the art of boxing reduced to such a trivial exercise.

A classic 2D conventional view would have worked much better here. I understand the developers were probably aiming to get away from creating stock games and rehashes for the Game Boy Advance. My editor slyly let slip that he thinks the Game Boy Advance is a glorified SNES emulator. That may be true and creativity is nice but Rocky's approach is a gamble that falls flat and, moreover, it isn't helped by the weak fighting component, poor AI and irrelevant character progression.

Rocky, however, has found fame again. A recent DVD release of the movies and even a running gag commercial with Best Buy has made the franchise and its inimitable soundtrack a la mode this holiday season. Love Train from The Gap also comes to mind but we'll leave that one alone. No amount of popularity or nostalgia, however, will convince me to recommend this title to anyone but the most diehard Rocky collector fan. Because even for that collector fan, this game will eventually meet its ultimate destiny: sitting on a shelf collecting dust.

 

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Rating
50%
 

 

 
 

 

 

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