Rocket Knight Preview

May the Spark be with you. Always.

Fifteen years. It's been over fifteen years since Sparkster blasted onto the scene and saved the kingdom of Zebulos, saved the princess, and started the “happily ever after” that was desperately needed. Since then, Sparkster had grown disillusioned with the government and his work, and eventually left his post as the top Rocket Knight – the shining example of fighting for good – and settled in the outskirts, content with his work and started a family of his own.

[image1]But recently, wolves have started to make their way into the kingdom, and something even more odd has come to light... Axel Gear, his nemesis and rival, is the new Rocket Knight? Something is going on, and he intends to get to the bottom of it. Only Sparkster can save his kingdom once again. (He was just playing possum.)

Rocket Knight is the new entry in the series long since overdue, and Konami is bringing it to the PSN and XBLA for download this May. For anyone who might not remember the gem that was Rocket Knight Adventures for the Sega Genesis, the gameplay was a combination of traditional side-scrolling elements and a big ol' rocket strapped to Sparkster's back. That rocket can be used to propel him to spots on the map that he otherwise couldn't reach by simply jumping; it even give him the ability to bounce around the walls like a pinball.

[image2]Fighting is regulated to two buttons, one a short-range sword strike and the other a shooting attack that, while not having a much reach, does go far enough to knock enemies off walls or deflect an incoming baddy on the come. The sword strike has an additional feature: It can knock back oncoming attacks like dynamite packs, sending them flying back to the jerk that tried to blow you up.

The rocket pack here is true to the original, even with the ability to blast in the eight traditional joystick directions. Here, unlike in RKA, it can also be used to break through some walls and barriers, giving the player more areas and possibilities to explore instead of sticking to a straight “point A to point B” approach. It even gets the starring role in some of the levels, designed more like horizontal shooting stages than standard platforming. With ten levels plus boss stages, shooter level, and multiple other stages types we still know nothing about, there should be plenty to explore.

Be sure to look out for this one on the PSN and XBLA in May. It's so close, you can smell the fumes!