4/23/2012

RokkoChan

Hey out there gamers and game-ettes. I hope I classed up some of you tasteless hacks with my last MegaMan review. Much like Kevin Costner is type-cast as a bland, boring, slow line reading actor, I'm type cast as the token MegaMan guy, and you know what that means!


No! It's time for a MegaMan review, only this time, it's a MegaMan clone! And a damn good one! But no imitation can ever be as good as the original right? Well lets find out with this Rule 63 variant of our favorite blue bomber and jump right in with RokkoChan.


RokkoChan (Flash)
Developed & published by: King Soukutu
Released in: 2011


MegaMan is a game that defined a genre, if not invented it's own, The run
 to the right and shoot crap genre. MegaMan's pacing is well executed, the controls are tight, and the game itself as a whole is well crafted in every aspect. The premise is simple, and the formula works. It works so well in fact that even after the success of the X series and subsequent spin-off series connected to the original, and the sequels for the SNES and Playstation; MegaMan 7 and 8 respectively, they even went back and continued making MegaMan games in the 8-bit format because Capcom loves to sell you a game you've already played. All Capcom jabs aside, MegaMan is just a game you can play and play and play and it will always be fun. That's probably why every Classic series game is the same game on the same engine with just a few tweaks here and there, retaining the same core gameplay.

This brings us to RokkoChan. Like many successful classic games, such as Mario and Sonic, MegaMan is prone to a few clones here and there.

No, he isn't having lots of anonymous sex with other game engines and devkits, he's just so awesome, that people wanna take their own crack at a MegaMan game. Women want him, and Men want to be him. At least figuratively. And the reason is as I stated above: The formula works. You don't have to be a genius game developer to know that if your game is similar MegaMan, it automatically has some internet street-cred. You run, you jump, and you shoot, and that's about all the game needs before you start droppin in enemies and pitfalls and start putting people to the test.

RokkoChan is a MegaMan clone almost in a literal sense. The story is pretty simple. A scientist creates a robot named RokkoChan, and conveniently at the time of her activation, another, more evil scientist comes on TV and threatens the world with his powerful robots.



RokkoChan, knowing that she has powerful abilities of her own, volunteers to head out and defeat the evil doctor and his six evil creations.

Aside from being female, this almost mirrors the origin story of MegaMan exactly.

Rock was a simple household robot and lab assistant to Dr. Light, whose robots were stolen and reprogrammed for evil. Rock volunteers to be upgraded into a Super Fighting Robot (admit it, you love saying that) and heads out to defeat his six stolen brothers and Dr. Wily to bring the world to everlasting peace.


Moving right along, let's start with first impressions. RokkoChan is a great game visually. All the graphics look true to the 8-bit generation they pay homage to, while also being extremely well crafted and animated. It makes me wonder why this same kind of animation couldnt be done on an NES back in the day, but if I had to guess, it had something to do with cartridge space. Luckily, this isnt a problem with the infinite power of the internet.
If you've played a MegaMan game before, you know exactly what to expect from RokkoChan. You hit start, go to a stage select screen, and there's even that awesome “she looks at who you're highlighting” thingy that I know you all loved to mess with and spaz on your controllers to make MegaMan freak out.


Before I go any further, I want to stress I have not beaten RokkoChan. This game is hard. Not impossible, but certainly difficult and requires a bit of skill (of which I have plenty, I swear!). Not to mention I had fallen victim to a terrible trend in today's gaming. After playing for a whole day and making a lot of progress on the game, I had closed the window for the night, expecting to return right where I picked up, seeing as this is a flash based game and most games nowadays have an auto-save feature. Not so in RokkoChan. Yes. That's right. This game is so legit, they forgo the auto-save and boot your ass back to 1987 and make you use a password. At the very least, you can screencap your passwords as I have below and save them instead of writing them out in little grids on notebook paper. GOD I can only imagine how frustrating that must have been. It's like MegaMan games are supposed to be frustratingly hard in EVERY aspect...

Dont get your hopes up, I only beat one boss and he's the wuss of the group in every MegaMan game

The controls in RokkoChan are pretty much EXACTLY like in classic MegaMan, the only difference in controls being that RokkoChan has a dash ability, just like in MegaMan X. This however is the only carry-over from the X series I know of in the game. According to Dr. Butler, the game also includes Ride Armors, but I have not come across those in any of the progress I have made in all 6 stages. The gameplay is crisp, smooth, refreshing, and low in carbs. It plays just like the MegaMan you grew up with (unless it was Battle Network, in which case, buy an NES) and the only differences in movement I can find, besides dashing, is that because the game is based in flash, RokkoChan has a much tighter hit box. For instance, in a classic MegaMan game, everything is run on “tiles” as a basis. MegaMan is one tile big. He can only jump on a tile if his tile completely clears the tile he's jumping on or against. In RokkoChan however, I've noticed a few tiny occasions where if you jump as a corner of a tile, you may sometimes push into or onto the corner of it, which in some cases has either saved or killed me. Honestly this happens so rarely it doesn't really effect gameplay, but for a MegaMan nut like me, I did notice it, and it's a subtle reminder that you are indeed playing a flash game, something you can easily forget while playing RokkoChan. (You know...aside from all the banner ads in your browser window selling you Asian hair care products...)

But onto the meat of things. RokkoChan's 6 bosses include, HockeyMan, ForestMan, RollingMan, LightningMan, VolcanoMan, and JetMan. Each one of these bosses is well designed and memorable and I'll cover each in length as we go on.


Starting off with HockeyMan, you'll find his stage has many of the paradigms of a MegaMan ice stage, specifically the endless amount of sliding you will be doing. However, Rokko's dash feature helps alleviate some of the tension in this because it instantly turns you around on the spot. Then again, jumping does too, but you'll quickly become attached to the dash more than anything.


And with the dash comes another nifty feature you will also become addicted to.

Right about here you would expect those fucking annoying invisible D'WOOOOOP blocks to appear. I know right about in this section is where they pop up in IceMan's stage. However, Rokko seems to have an advantage over Rock here. She can DASH JUMP RIGHT OVER THAT SHIT.

Thats right! It may take some getting used to if you've never played a X series game before, but Rokko can easily leap across certain gaps her male counterpart would often times have a hard time getting across. No more tip toe'ing to the edge and balancing on one pixel. Rokko can just dash jump right across! But that doesnt always mean it's the best thing to do. The game surprisingly provides a lot of areas where slow and steady are the preferred method of progressing, but who am I kidding? It feels so fucking good to just leap across those anoying gaps like it aint' no thang....


Another staple of RokkoChan are mini-bosses! The mini-bosses are well made, cleverly programmed, and are just a blast to fight. They aren't frustratingly hard like some of Vanilla MegaMan's mini-bosses were, and I feel they offer a nice break to the action for a small test of skill (usually involving timed jumps and shooting...wait...thats like the whole game...).

Did I mention, each one is very detailed? The amount of work put into these sprites is really impressive and it's hard to believe this is a fan game sometimes.


And what MegaMan game would be complete without jumping through boss doors? I dont want to play the game that disallows that....


Not quite as good, but also acceptable

Finally! Onto the boss! HockeyMan is pretty sweet, eh? He's got an ice-floor'd boss room, so you'll be doing a lot of slipping and sliding all over the place, while he glides effortlessly on his ice skates. His attacks are pretty standard fare. He creates an ice shield around his body and charges at you. When he hits the wall, the shield breaks and fires off ice shards in 8 directions. If he DOESNT create an ice shield and charges at you, he bounces off the wall and slides. This brings me to an interesting point. Being that this is a flash game, there are certain things it can do that an NES game cant. On an NES, physics had to be simulated. In flash, they can be programmed. As such, when he hits that wall and bounces off, he moves smoothly across the floor and bounces properly off the wall. That is, he isnt moving based on a pre-set pattern. How far he bounces is entirely determined by the physics. This brings me to his next attack, where he smacks hockey pucks at you. They too move just like real pucks and are effected by physics.

This is both a blessing and a curse. Well not really, but it's awesome to look at, but then it reminds you once again you aren't playing an NES game. My point being, if it weren't for these innovative little flash-only features, I would be totally sold I am playing a long lost MegaMan sequel....But on with the game!



Having covered most of the game's features in the first stage, the remaining stages will focus mostly on stage specific features.



JetMan is pretty cool and has a fun stage, though you'll quickly become tired of all the ups and downs in difficulty, and no that wasn't a flight pun. The stage itself is interesting and has plenty of neat set pieces such as fans that blow you in different directions on air currents, but some of the enemies can be pretty annoying.

One in particular is a little shit with a propeller for legs who flies up and down to match whatever your altitude is on screen. If you're on the floor, he will sit on the floor and shoot, and if you jump, his legs spin and he follows you. This wouldn't be a problem if maybe his shots didn't move so quickly across the screen, or if maybe he didn't take so many hits to go down. You come across several of these in the stage, but the main focus is platforming.


(If you see where those fans are blowing, and whats around, you know this next part is gunna suck.)



Ahhh fuck. This is one of those stages you grow to hate. It's fun, but mostly frustrating. This stage has plenty of conveyor belts, and lots of traps to keep you on your toes.

One of the more annoying sections of the stage has you jumping through electrical walls as seen in MegaMan 3. Unfortunately, there's not much ground to navigate on to find some good footing to jump through it. It's a tad difficult to get the timing down, but maybe that's just me.

So once you get through that, they toss another set of conveyor belts at you, which seems fine at first until they start dropping BOXES on your head. The boxes can be destroyed and it's pretty standard fare, but one clever thing I noted is that the boxes can actually stack on one another. As the boxes go down the conveyor belts, they drop to lower belts and now and then have other boxes land on them. On an NES they may have just clipped through one another. This poses a bit of a challenge because now the suckers are way too high for you to jump over so you gotta blast your way through, all while balancing on these moving, not very long, conveyor belts.



As if this stage didn't have enough gimmicks, it even comes with a blackout section, 
a'la Spark Mandrill from MegaMan X1.


In this area, the screen goes black, except for you, and is only lit up by light bulbs on the ground which turn on when a certain enemy charges up and sends balls of lightning across the floor and over them. Otherwise, the path and pitfalls ahead are totally hidden. Proceed with caution! If you kill them prematurely, its *sunglasses*, Lights out for you...

GOD am I still doing this stage? It may as well be a Wily Fortress! While it is one of the more frustrating stages, it does have a lot of neat gimmicks to offer. One of which of course is the spinny-platform stepper of death, with an up and down spike trap for seasoning.

Yeeaaahh...you know exactly what this is...


Now, if you can believe it, I actually got to the boss door, and I was literally about to go in, until I discovered the Ice Shield I was using to protect myself from the enemies coming at me from the sides of the screen, can be shot off of you. I accidentally did this, lost the shield, and bumped into one of the fuckers and fell to my death....




Pics or it didn't happen



Next is VolcanoMan. I don't know why, but this sounds like it could be a bitchin pro-wrestler name.


AHHH MOTHER FUCKING DAMMIT HELL FUCK!!

FUCK!! I THOUGHT I WAS DONE WITH THESE!! I GOT THE DASH, I GOT THE JUMPING, WHY DO I MOTHER FUCKING- GRRRRUUUUUURRGGGHHHHG!!!

Okay, so I got passed the invisible blocks, and I'm greeted with lots and lots of fire. Makes sense considering this is a volcano themed stage. In this section, your patience is tested with lots of flames that shoot from these pipes.

Honestly they weren't all that hard and the damage they do isnt terrible. Apparently, there is a merciful God in 20xx. However he smites your ass because on the very next screen you do everyone's “favorite” kind of stage. A “Chase” stage, where one side of the screen constantly moves in one direction, and you have to escape it or face insta-pewpew. Luckily, Rokko is not only fast on her feet, but ladders too as you can pretty easily climb away from the lava. It's not advised to go TOO fast though because lurking on the next area to be scrolled, like a 4chan troll, is more of those fire headed biker-jouster guys like in the above screenshot, and not a whole lot of footing to catch yourself. Fall down and you're basically screwed since you don't have any robot dogs to launch springs from your backs to save you.



Up next is ForestMan. Since I just beat VolcanoMan (the second of the two bosses I beat, first being HockeyMan), I figured this guy was next in line to go. But if there's anything Captain Planet has taught us, it's that mother nature will whoop your ass and make you listen to a Ted Turner sponsored moral about recycling.

This stage also features a mini-boss though it's admittedly a little strange and definitely garnered a laugh from me with it's Team Rocket-esque charm.


Even Rokko has an implied facepalm here

This is apparently a two-headed dragon in the middle of a water-area at the start of the stage which lasts until about the middle. I find it impressive that they could work in such a different kind of setting into the game. For a short while I actually forgot this stage was forest based. The under water segment was well crafted enough to feel like a totally new stage, but the forest feel kicks right back in once you proceed to...


AWWWWW YEEAAAHHH

Fuck yes. Vine swinging. This was actually really cool. I reached a part of the stage with a gap that even Rokko's mighty dash jump couldn't reach, but then I saw a vine dangling. With a bit of common sense, I grabbed it like it was a ladder and wham! I started swinging! Simple left and right buttons control the swing, and you can build up moment enough to swing yourself and jump off the vine, keeping a tiny bit of your momentum as well. A little odd feeling for a MegaMan game where you could always control your trajectory mid-jump, but it isn't an unwelcome sensation as you start swinging from vine to vine to complete the stage like GutsMan of the Jungle.



Remember when I said all the bosses were well made? Well RollingMan is the derp of the bunch. He's got an odd design, but it all makes sense when you finally fight him. Unfortunately I dont have a screencap of it since that was on my first playthrough and I didnt save my password.


What I do have though is trippy level flipping!

One of the cool features of RollingMan's stage is the awesome level flipping platforms that turn the whole stage around (or is it merely you that turns?) and forces you to tackle areas you've just traversed from a whole new point of view, literally. It isn't as confusing as it seems, but man let me tell you. Some of the enemies in this stage can go die in a pixelated fire. Claw thingies that grab your ass, UFOs that shoot Magnet Missile-esque lasers at you. Shit gets bananas.

BONUS: By the way, if you've looked at these screenshots and seen the controls, I'm sure you can figure out what does what. I mean the game tells you anyways and there's even a language chooser. However, one button they dont tell you about is the escape key which is explained only in Japanese. Now, I don't speak Japanese, but I'll save you the trouble of finding out the hard way. Shift if pause, and it most definitely isnt the Escape key. That my friends, is the SELF DESTRUCT BUTTON. In one fine play through I tried to pause the game to look over my screencaps, and I tapped escape, and instantly pew-pew'd all over my screen. I suppose it's handy to have a kill-button, but wouldn't it be easier to just make that the “I give up, take me to the stage select screen” button?

I swear my finger slipped and I hit the kill button right when I was about to make that jump.

Over all, RokkoChan is an expertly crafted, well animated game with faithful MegaMan gameplay and a few twists of it's own. Did I happen to mention the soundtrack? Oh yeah. This game has a bangin' soundtrack. It fits right in with tunes like MetalMan, FlashMan, SparkMan, SnakeMan, and reminds me a lot of the tracks from MegaMan 9 and 10 specifically. This game really is the long lost sequel to MegaMan you never heard of. As a die hard MegaMan fan who heavily scrutinizes fan additions and stupid fan fics and other crappy third party MegaMan content, I give this game my stamp of approval. It makes me think that maybe MegaMan isnt the only Super Fighting Robot out there trying to save the world. He's just the one that set the trend for the rest to follow.

(See? It's fun saying Super Fighting Robot isnt it? Go on and sing it. You know you want to...)


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