Monday, September 24, 2012

Retroulette #31: Rocket Ranger

It's been too long. I almost forgot how great it was to blindly jump into a game that statistically will be the worst goddamn thing I ever played.

So here we have Rocket Ranger, for the NES. That name tells us absolutely nothing. 90% of games in the 80s contained at least one of those words, and I'm pretty sure at least 20 games used both.

The game opens up with a cluttered-ass copyright screen.

Freaking everybody wanted to take credit for this game. It must be rad as hell.

Next the Rocket Ranger logo appears, and the man himself-

-lazily crawls his way across the screen. He's so goddamn slow. Flink could trudge his way across the frame faster than this piece of turd. And this asshole has a freaking rocket strapped to his back. Without it, he'd suffocate under a thick layer of moss.

And look at this dude.

This guy is the Rocket Ranger? This guy!?

This guy?

Whatever man.

The game goes with the ol' wisdom of "tell, don't show".

The future! I don't remember an alien invasion in that year, but I was pretty young. That would explain how Hold On by Wilson Phillips became the biggest hit of 1990.

Generally, moons don't just "appear" anywhere. That's no moon.

Why just Europe, aliens? There's a perfectly good Canada no one's using.

And what's up with the name "Leutonia"? I would expect aliens to name it Xzxglack or something. It looks like they just took Lithuania and changed some letters. I tell ya, these aliens are lazy as shit. They take Europe and decide "Eh, good enough. Call it Leutonia and let's get back to listening to Wilson Phillips".

I'll let you in on a little secret guys. Jets can already do everything this Rocket Ranger can do. Way better even. This rocket suit couldn't beat a glacier in a race.

And anyway, why not give the suit to someone who's trained to fight? This guy is a scientist. The only thing he's qualified to fight is budget cuts.

This is goddamn 1990. We should have the military technology to shoot freaking balloons out of the sky. They came at night though. We all know Washington D.C. just shuts down security at night so the city can get its beauty sleep, right?

OK, so now I'm sufficiently briefed on the situation. Commander Krag's ass is mine. I'm going to shoot him right outta the s--

What the hell is this shit!?  I should already be flying. Out of curiosity I check the War Room.

The lost, badass Brady Bunch kid puts me in charge of all these CIA agents. I still don't get why. What the hell did I do? I strapped a rocket onto a Hello Kitty backpack and the government said "Cancel the war. This guy's got it."

 What the hell. Seriously. What kind of game is this? This is some crazy ass Risk screen where I order people to go places and change how alert they are or something. I have no goddamn idea what purpose any of this serves.

I back out and go to Fuel Depot. This is where I gas up the ol' jetpack. Jane and Otto can wait, surely.

Alright, I'm done with this stupid crap, I want to get to some action. It's time to Take Off. Selecting that option takes you to...the same damn map as the War Room. Except this time I can actually do stuff. Well, I can't stop the zeppelin for some reason. So I have to go somewhere else. Selecting one of the icons on the map brings up a screen telling me how much fuel it's going to take. I decide to take a nice trip to Brazil, which will use 32 of my precious Lunariums.

Two months? The Barnstorffs are surely dead by now. And now I'm a dumbass to boot. I guess my scientisting days are over.

It is also at this time that I wonder if maybe I had placed a Choose Your Own Adventure book in my NES' cartridge slot by accident.

Now West Africa, that place sounds promising. After using 27 of my fuels, I discover-Oh shit something is actually happening!

Heheheheh. Fort Dix.

So now I'm fighting this dude. As a scientist who hasn't been bombarded with gamma radiation, I'm appropriately shitty at it. Pressing the A button just makes my legs wiggle, and pressing the B button kind of throws my hand forward. He kicks my ass for awhile. THEN I discover that pressing up and punch at the same time unleashes a powerful uppercut, and it this guy is shocked every time I do it (which is all the time).

That stunning display of pugilistic flair is awarded with a piece of rocket part. The game tells me I sneak it back to fort Dix (hehehe). If I can get all the rocket parts, I can build a rocket to get past the force field.

What better place to start looking than Algeria?

Everywhere else. I spend another two months looking for nothing, and lose another 30 IQ points. I'm at Carlos Mencia level now.

OK. I really need to find something now. Fuel is getting low. MIDDLE EAST must have something, right? They love rockets.

OH MAN I AM SO SCREWED. I've got no fuel and I'm dumber than a bag of snakes. I've got one last chance here. Algeria is the only place close enough that I can fly to with my fuel.

Yes! I'm going to steal the hell out of their Lunarium.

This is an actual flying mission. CRAZY I know.

It's like Space Harrier, but garbage.

"Come to beautiful Algeria. We have skies as red as the blood of your enemies, and sand as black as their hearts."

 My bullets shoot down at an angle, and the enemies shoot theirs up at an angle too. The NES is not suuuuper great with the faux 3D effect, so my depth perception is all fucked up. These guys shoot me out of the sky pretty easily.

Damn. Well, I'll just try again.

Double damn.

Screw it. You guys can keep Europe.

"Hey. We can't breath up here! We don't have any space suits!"

"Speak up babe, sound doesn't travel through space."


  1. Have you ever tried the SNES version of Godzilla? I love Godzilla, but oh my god. I booted that shit up and it presents you with a fucking MESS. I pushed buttons and nothing happened. I think I eventually figured out how to move around, but everything I did got no response. I finally figured out I had to FIGHT Godzilla and gave up. You can't win against him anyway, why make a game where the objective is to lose?

    1. FIGHT Godzilla? That sounds like the most badass game ever made!