The lights are on
The game is awesome - lets' get that out of the bag right now. Very few games have successfully translated the charm and color of the old 16-bit, uber polished, platformers into 3D, but Climax has done it. This game pops. And it plays incredibly well - none of that mushiness that early 2.5D games had. This is like Street Fighter IV - tight; in that it plays just as well as any of the 2D games that have preceeded it. And all the game mechanics are incredibly smart, taking something from all three of the old Rocket Knight games and combining them into one intuitive scheme. Finally, the level designs are brilliant. Things get really hectic and quickly start putting all Sparkster's abilities to the test in ever more ingenious ways.
It's a shame then that there aren't many of these excellent levels to go around. This is the shortest, sweetest downloadable game I've played since Lost Winds 2. It seems that anything that eschews the Metroid-vania style level design ends up serving up a short title, but whatever.
Is it worth the incredibly quality? The luscious visuals? The fantastic fun? I'd have to say yes, but I'm biased because I LOVE this type of game. At $15, it IS asking a lot. I mean, that's Shadow Complex money. Then again, this title is incredibly comparable to the excellent Klonoa remake on Wii, and that shipped as a RETAIL game for 30 dollars! And then again, unlike say Sonic 4, which by nature implies that there would be additional content down the road (because of Sonic's "Episode 1" subtitle), I'm pretty sure this is it for Sparkster. There's no more levels coming down the pike. Hmmmm...
Try the demo, and enjoy the hell out of it. If you like it, pick it up - it's only like...3 value meals worth of money(?). Not a lot to ask for when what you're getting is PURE, COLORFUL, STYLIZED FUN. A rarity in this day and age of oh-so-many interchangeable military shooters. However, if you wanna wait until a price drop, feel free. This would get a higher score from me if it were only 10 bucks, that's for sure.
Now, Konami, how 'bout dropping Rocket Knight Adventures (Genesis), Sparkster (SNES) or Sparkster (Genesis...different game) on the Wii's Virtual Console sometime this year, huh? HUH?
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