|System: X360, PS3||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: A.C.R.O.N.Y.M.||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Capcom||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: March 5, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Jonathan Marx
Rocketmen: Axis of Evil is a kooky, top-down, RPG shooter for the Xbox LIVE Arcade and PlayStation Network. The game's use of dual analog sticks to move, strafe, and shoot is a tried and true scheme reminiscent of classic arcades such as Robotron: 2084 and Smash TV. The inane plot that slowly unfolds will have you button-mashing your way through the comic-like storyboards, but the simple pleasure of filling over-sized, green Martians with searing hot lasers is surprisingly satisfying. However, like most arcade games, there really is only a few hours of fun to be had before your shiny new purchase becomes tarnished by repetition.
rocketmenhas mastered the feel of arcade titles of old. The storyline pits gamers against hordes of aliens via a rebel alliance, but never really establishes the root of why you're fighting. The developers have opted to abandon a more involved story in order to focus on the frantic action. As a result, the shallow plot and sheer amount of creatures that must be destroyed along the way is most readily compared to Gauntlet. This makes gameplay fast and furious but also quite monotonous.
If you were hoping for more than just a straightforward arcade shoot-'em-up, then rocketmenis not what you're looking for. The levels are simple, mostly linear, designs that don't hold much mystery. You'll be able to blaze a trail to glory in no time. If you die, you'll just respawn with only a slight deduction of experience points that becomes more prohibitive the more you die. As such, this is probably a great game for a ten year-old who wants to blow things up and actually beat a game. On the other hand, for adults it's pretty mind-numbing stuff that will have you yawning quickly. Furthermore, anyone who plays this title will immediately notice the frustrating camera that forcefully pushes your character out of the reach of valuable side objectives, weapons lockers, and health circles. I can only assume the development team wanted players to concentrate on the fast-paced action, but inevitably gamers want to be able to loot every nook and cranny. The game won't let you do that, and it's unfortunate.
rocketmendoes do several things quite well, however. In fact, I expect that they should serve to help make the game a retail success. One of those nuggets of goodness is the large array of weaponry. The varied weapons are efficient and satisfying to use. It's fun to blast your way through a throng of enemies with methodical efficiency. Players will find a ton of interesting primary and secondary weapons throughout the levels including lasers, shotguns, razors (ricocheting circular saw blades), turrets, and grenades, but they will only be able to stock up on the secondary arms. This isn't so bad except for the fact that the cool weapons don't last nearly long enough. Enemies will constantly drop primaries, but they stop functioning within several seconds after picking them up. There is no ammunition totals to worry about, but the speed with which the higher quality weapons fade gets annoying until you've been able to sufficiently modify your weapons skills.