Adventures of Rocaman

Enjoy a classic platform game! Through 8 worlds of the prehistoric, battle against dinosaurs and take on dangerous roads with our friend Rocaman.

Adventures of Rocaman is dated, even by dated's standards. Syndrome Games' ten level platformer provides a trial which lets people play through the game's first three stages but then interrupts with a purchase nag screen. If it were not for this screen, the game would then be fully beatable within the eight minute trial limit. That may be a slight exaggeration, but with each stage taking roughly one minute to play through, it's not far off. The short length coupled with its archaic feel leave Rocaman with much to be desired, a mildly playable prehistoric platformer which makes for a forgettable entry on Xbox Live Indie Games.

Rocaman just looks weird. He lacks the cute charm of Bonk or the savage buffoonery of a Joe & Mac, looking more like an bucktoothed, lazy eyed attorney on his way to a lame costume party. His jittery run cycle looks okay but is accompanied by a most annoying sound effect, and his attack move looks more as if Rocaman's returning serve in ping pong than clubbing any of the Jurassic creatures which populate the game. There are too few enemy types in Adventures of Rocaman -- a tortoise, a pterodactyl, a panther, and the boss lizardman comprise the full extent of the game's bestiary. The enemies are terribly animated; the panther runs in slow motion -- sometimes so slow that it just slides along the ground -- before burping out its spiky fireball while the tortoise's legs shuffle to-and-fro with no believable movement whatsoever. The levels are colorful and feature enough variety, but there's little difference from one stage to the next as far as level design, and even the style is mostly similar throughout those early levels. Rocaman's adventure begins with Amiga style graphics over a bathroom tile sky for some unfathomable reason, clouds looking more like glued on clipart and creating a poor sense of depth. Worse is when the clouds are seen in stage 5 which looks to take place in an ice cave but still has those clouds in the background.The sad thing is that since the level design is so uninspired from one stage to the next, it really doesn't matter that Rocaman appears to be in an ice cave, desert, or wherever else the game sends him, because the tired selection of enemies and challenges all feel the same.

The soundtrack adds to the repetitive feel of the game, repeating the game's main theme in six of the ten stages, and that's with the soundtrack containing just three songs total. It's also unfortunate that the most prevalent song is also the game's worse, some whistling attempt at a tribal tune which falls flat and quickly annoys the player. The moodier song used in the fifth, eighth, and ninth stages is much better as is the final boss theme. Players won't have much time to enjoy the latter track, however, since the boss goes down after four shots from a powered-up Rocaman. The caveman can find apples stashed away throughout the game which will turn him Super Saiyan, giving our unfrozen caveman lawyer a yellow wig and a meek Hadouken for those times when jumping on top of enemies has lost its thrill. The apple power-up also lets the caveman take a second hit before dying, though that's not much of an issue in a game as easy as Adventures of Rocaman. I racked up a ton of extra lives via the coins and heart 1-ups on each level and not once cashed in on my stash in two full playthroughs. A poorly worded congratulations screen is a poor reward for helping Rocaman free his people from the dinosaurs -- a premise not once hinted at prior or during the game -- and then its back to the title screen.

I probably should have left Adventures of Rocaman at the title screen, but I love platformers and just couldn't justify ignoring this one at just 80 points. It's far from a terrible game as Rocaman remains a playable adventure, but it's simply uninspired, over far too quickly, and just not that fun. With fantastic platformers available such as Apple Jack and Ninja360, titles which are leagues ahead of Adventures of Rocaman and at the same price to boot, there's little reason to get this game except to feed one's platform game fix and only after having exhausted the better, much better options out there.

★★☆☆☆
February 16, 2011
February 12, 2011 | 80 points
Developer | Video | Download

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