Rocket Knight Adventures: Re-Sparked Review – Speedy Sega Smash-Up

Rocket Knight Adventures: Re-Sparked Review

The Rocket Knight games totally missed me when I was a child. So I approached this collection with an open mind and a blank slate. To my surprise, they’re pretty good! If you can push past the old-school difficulty and the frantic rocket controls, you might really enjoy yourself with the Rocket Knight Adventures: Re-Sparked collection. You’ll probably have to lean on that rewind feature pretty hard, though.

As always, my PC game reviews are being done on a Stealth 16 Studio A13V laptop. Although in truth, you could play these games on a toaster with a touchscreen and be just fine. Even the recommended specs are pretty generous.

Old-School Tough

I know it’s in poor taste to whine about the difficulty, but it feels necessary here. These are decidedly old-school games, and they’re not shy about killing you repeatedly. Which is fine! It’s assumed that you’ll be playing each stage until you’ve memorized it before moving on. That blessed rewind function helps you circumvent this. Between that and the ability to save pretty much anywhere, you can definitely finish this collection with a little patience. Okay, so it’s more like a lot of patience. But any old-school game fan has that in reserve, right?

Rocket Knight Adventures: Re-Sparked Review

Each game in the Rocket Knight collection looks excellent in its own way. The pixel art is bright, bold, and properly crisp. The enemies look like cartoon characters in motion, and the levels are well-designed. I’m not as sold on the music, but I’ve never liked Sega’s soundscapes that much. There are some exceptions, of course. A boss fight here and there with a catchy theme. But most of the music is pretty forgettable. The mechanics are a different story.

Fly Me To The Moon

The ‘rocket’ in Rocket Knight is a brilliant bit of game design. You can blast through most enemies, rise above any obstacle, and sail over hazards. It’s only during boss fights that you have to slow down. Even then, half the bosses are just as weak to rocket strikes as everything else. The only serious roadblock is controlling yourself as you careen through the games.

To be fair, it’s not impossible or anything. You’re just likely to miss, hit the wrong directional input, or smash into a hazard at first. And it takes quite a while before you get the hang of it. Again, the rewind function is a literal lifesaver here. I was frustrated with the hair-trigger controls, but it’s the price you pay for such high-speed gameplay. On the other hand, if you can master the rocket system, you can pull off some incredible platforming feats. You just need more of that old-school patience.

Rocket Knight Adventures: Re-Sparked Review

I refer to the games as a single unit throughout this review for a reason. The three titles are pretty interchangeable. You see some shifts in visual style, but the music and the controls are all more or less the same. It’s convenient in that you can swap between games easily. But there is a slight lack of variety in this collection. Your mileage depends heavily on your fondness for the franchise in general. The image gallery and the music player also require a tangible nostalgic connection to the games. Although it is cool to see what the old ads and box art looked like back in the day.

For fans of the franchise, this is an easy sale. You’ve got three games to play and tons of art to sift through. New players might be more cautious. The core gameplay is well-crafted for sure. And you can’t go wrong with that high-quality sprite work. But these are still punishing offerings from a bygone era. You’ll need a lot of patience and perseverance if you want to get through this collection. The rewind function is a serious advantage, but even that system requires some practice and fine-tuning to use. Retro gaming fans new and old will appreciate the Rocket Knight Adventures collection, though maybe you’ll wanna wait for a sale.

***A Steam Key was provided by the publisher***

The Good

  • Museum-style extras
  • Save anywhere
  • Rewind included

The Bad

  • Crazy hard
  • Rewind feels janky
  • Slippery controls at times