BUY IT ON XBOX LIVE FOR: 800 Microsoft Points ($10)
PLATFORM: Xbox Live Arcade    
ESRB RATING: E
DEVELOPER: A.C.R.O.N.Y.M. Games
PUBLISHER: Capcom


THE PITCH



Smash TV in space, without the fun!



Rocketmen
was originally a tabletop strategy game by WizKids, so what better way
to adapt it into a videogame than to make it a top-down shooter with Geometry Wars controls?
 



You’re a guy or gal who’s trying to beat some evil Martians (who speak
like Russians for some reason) from destroying the known universe, or
some such. I can’t really tell you the whole plot because I ended up
zoning out during most of the long cutscenes, which are told in graphic novel format. But the gist of it is- you shoot a whole lot
of things dead.



THE PLAY
 

The game’s pretty simple. You’re given a pistol to dispatch those damn red Martians, but you can get
pick up better weapons all over the place. The system for them is really stupid, though. See, you
don’t get a certain amount of ammo for each weapon, you get a certain
amount of time. So you have to be sure than there’s lots of enemies
around you in order for it to be worth the pickup, and there’s so many
times when the waves of enemies will be nowhere to be found, allowing
your weapon to time-out and leave you with your tiny pistol. The pistol
you start off with is wonderfully inadequate, no matter how much you
upgrade it, so you’re constantly fighting to find new guns. Of course,
once you get one you’ll inevitably have to get rid of it soon, and so
on and so forth.



Oh, and did I mention that lots of times the
camera will automatically scroll to the next location? Whether you’re
ready to or not, whether you’ve picked up all your spoils of war or
not, you’re pushed along to the next place. Also, for as boring and
bland as each of the levels are, you spend an awful lot of time
backtracking through them. Nothing like a camera that rushes you around
to places you’ve already been before. No sir.


I’m yawning just looking at these.

 
As for the
controls, they’re normal for any Arcade shooter. Move with the left stick,
shoot with the right. You’re also given secondary weapons, everything
from missles to mines… they’re activated with the triggers. The A
button is used to interact with consoles and open doors, and get used
to mashing it, because you won’t stop doing it. Every console you click
on gives you some sort of pickup, but to actually get it you’ll have to
hit the A button a whole bunch of times. While you’re doing this the
enemies won’t stop shooting at you, and of course you can’t shoot back
since you can’t use the right analog stick. When you finally kill everything in the level, there that camera goes again. It’s frustrating
to try and pick up anything because of it, and leaves you without as much of the stuff you’ll need to upgrade your weapons and armor.

They did include a handy “Loot
Vacuum” on the B button that brings in the cash, guns and health, but
it does you no good whatsoever, since you have to mash it as well. Yes,
you can’t just hit it once and let it do its thing. Every time you push the button the
objects around you move a fraction of an inch closer to you, and you have to slam
it a whole bunch of times to get things moving at a reasonable clip in
your direction. This all while you’ve stopped shooting, of course, which is impossible
in the later levels where there’s dozens of enemies advancing on your
at once.
 


It’s a shame because with a few tweaks this could have been a
really fun game. The game does pick up considerably later on, with lots of enemies for
you to blast apart, but it’s too little too late and only after some incredibly boring levels. The sense of humor during the cutscenes is
pretty decent, at least, and the controls work fine for what they are. But there’s nothing here that could make me recommend it over
any other Live Arcade shooter.



THE PRESENTATION



It
seems wrong to bitch at the graphics for an XBLA game, and while the
characters might be better looking than they appear, everything’s so
tiny you can’t even see it. It completely nullifies the point of
creating your own character (there’s a limited character creation
screen at the beginning of the game) because every tiny figure on the
screen looks the same.


Try even pointing out the main character here, or what’s going on.



The music sounds like it was ripped out
of a 50s B-movie (a bad one) and made into a 30 second midi file that
loops on repeat. Completely overdramatic and boring. It also sounds
like the only track in the entire game, and if it turns out that it’s
not, well, that can’t be a good sign that I wasn’t able to tell the
difference…

 

THE REPLAY



The
game is comprised of 10 levels, and a bunch of them are fairly long.
Unfortunately, all this means is that I wasted far more of my time than
I would’ve if I weren’t reviewing it. (I probably wouldn’t have made it
past the first level). But check my Gamertag below and feel my pain,
because I did… I did….



There’s
a 4 player co-op multiplayer mode that allows you to play all the
levels of the game. That may sound fun till you realize what a dismal
game this is, and that your friends probably have better things to do
with their time.

 

THE VERDICT



Capcom, what happened here? There’s a ton of great games from these guys on the way (seriousl, a ton), and so much stuff already out there worth spending your cash on. This is not one of them.


4.0 out of 10