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Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends, The Review

Developer: Radical Entertainment Publisher: THQ
Release Date: 1992 Also On: Game Boy, SNES

Heavenly, just, my heavenly angels of the upper tiers of heaven, this can’t, is it, no, can’t, ahhhhh!!!!! I tell you what, when you see a game like this it makes you wonder how some companies survived at all. THQ was a legend in the 8-Bit era, a company known for only one thing, suck. For the NES, virtually every title they released except for one, which this isn’t, is actually an enjoyable game, in fact my favorite NES game of all time. But aside from that hint of genius, they never made anything good, spending their time making terrible games based on obscure cartoon series and even Wayne’s World. Yeah, imagine that one, it’s exactly as you think it. Whenever I heard they released a Rocky and Bullwinkle game, I expected the worst, and that’s exactly what I got.

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Graphically, there are a few things that are actually decent here. The attempt was made to mimic the animation style of the TV series, and I feel that overall they have actually managed to capture this, but not throughout. The first level, for example, looks like the cartoon, but some of the later ones don’t even make any sense by themselves, let alone in relation to the series. Overall, dreadful. Due to poor programming and the fact that the show’s style was somewhat infantile, it makes the game appear as though it was drawn up on Microsoft paint in about two minutes. Terrible detail, terrible animation, choppy movements, you name it it’s here. They did a fair job animating some of the characters/enemies based on the show, but overall it doesn’t hold. There isn’t much else to say, it looks terrible.

As for the sound, The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends features, of course, the theme from the show. It pretty much runs through most of the game, which is fine I suppose, it actually isn’t annoying, but what makes it sad is that anything else sounds so beyond pathetic the English language lacks a word to describe it. On some of the ‘boss’ segments for example, you have this high-pitched twittling tune that gets jumbled due to these bombs that hit the ground, sounding similar to an old cassette tape that had a magnet run over it or was left in the heat. And sound effects? Wow. Talk about dead. Most of them are flat thumps, bops and bomb explosions. I believe that’s it, three sounds total in fact. At times when they could have added sounds for effect they didn’t, they hardly used any effects at all, making the game sound as bad as it looks. The bare minimum, my friends.

But where The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends really fails is the gameplay. I could take the somewhat shaky graphics and generally lame sound, that sometimes can be overlooked depending on how the game plays. Well, don’t expect much. This is one of the most basic platformers I’ve ever played, so basic in fact that it defies sense considering when it was released. So, the story is Bullwinkle has to get from Frostbite Falls to home to get his inheritance and the typical characters try to stop him, well, two of them at least, there is hardly any integration of the character involvement in the series. In short, what you’ll find here is one of the most terrifying platformers I’ve ever seen, there is almost no entertainment here at all and some of the most ludicrous programming I’ve ever seen. It feels as though it was put together in a day. There is no way they weren’t rushed when this was put together, if they had more than a week to do it I would be even more shocked.

Buttons have their typical functions, nothing special. What’s awful here is that, first off, you only have one real attack, and it doesn’t do much of anything. You can throw bombs to stop Boris or whoever, but oftentimes the enemy you just killed appears right after and starts attacking you again. Since bombs are limited, you’re better off wasting a few bars of life and jumping over them or just flying over everything with Rocky. Though this takes life, it ends up costing you less in the long run were you to actually attempt playing it by attacking. A number of levels require you to find a key to get through, which is typically placed in a location that the horrible controls make it more difficult to collect it. At times, you’ll swear you landed on a platform but apparently found a hidden hole, at other times, especially when you’re coming out of flight with Rocky and need to make a tricky landing, you’ll be hard pressed to pull it off, he’ll fall off of such platforms 90% of the time.

In addition, there are no bosses, no reasons to attack anyone and numerous features that just don’t relate to anything. In your mansion you’ll get into this cavern section where you first get swooped at by what appear to be a cross between clothing irons and birds, and at the end you see a small treasure chest with ghosts coming out of it. What do you do? Logic would tell you to attack the ghosts or jump towards it, but you can’t do that because one hit from them kills you and they’re immune to bombs. So what’s the answer? Apparently, see, even though it’s a foot away, you need to fly with Rocky way to the top of the screen and then land on top of it, apparently he is immune to the ghosts only when he lands on top of them while in flight. Or how about the enemies that literally appear out of nowhere and run into you constantly, taking off a ton of life until you realize it because you’ve played the same level a million times due to dying and are just moving around like an automaton. I can’t tell you how many times I was nabbed with this one. And what’s with the bombs? They’re everywhere, even where they shouldn’t be. In most levels they keep falling out of the sky for some reason, and some of them explode in a poof of air with the word ‘Goof’ in it, which makes the controls, and music, all screwed up for a few moments. What is this? Why am I doing this? What does any of this have to do with the cartoon? Thinking about it, there are only about six actual references to the cartoon, that’s it, everything else is totally irrelevant. There is so much I could comment on, like the stage arrangement and enemy placement, but it would become a dissertation, so I better stop at this.

There is no creativity whatsoever in The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends. The license could have made for a fairly good game and actually I believe it is a good game on the Game Boy and SNES, though a totally different title. I’m not sure what happened here, they had to have been rushed, because in essence this is simply an incomplete piece of programming with almost no direction and logic to it. It’s really hard to describe unless you’ve braved playing through it, suffice to say they wasted what opportunity they may have had. It almost feels like I’m playing a game in its early stages of development.

Ha, I will never, do you hear me, never play this god awful game ever again. I could hardly stand it in the first place. I must admit, I sort of enjoyed it for a little while until I got to roughly the third level when Rocky has to fly and land on these impossible little stands that he always falls off of because he has no landing abilities apparently, and after this it just gets worse. This is one of the few games that, even cheating, I completely gave up playing because it was so awful. I couldn’t stop swearing and throwing things by the final level, it’s just terrible, you’ll never play it more than once. Length? Hardly, that’s another thing, this game would only take about ten minutes to get through if it weren’t for the poor programming and arrangement. Most stages have at least five levels, but one suddenly has only one and it makes no sense, throwing off the flow. This whole game just feels wrong.

The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends is one of the best examples of terrible games for the NES, and one of the worst by THQ. It may in fact be the worst as far as I remember, but I won’t until I play the other ones. There’s nothing here at all worth checking out, no graphics, no sound, no gameplay, no logic, nothing, just stay away, there’s nothing else to stay, don’t play it.

Graphics: 4
Sound: 5
Gameplay: 2.5
Creativity: 2
Replay Value/Game Length: 1.5
Final: 3.2
Written by Stan Review Guide