Retail Price: £1.99
Language: Machine code
Author: Dean Carter, the smiling assassin
Rockman is an under-evolved little Troglodyte whose main motivation in life is food. Rock-man knows what he likes and his favourite food is Mushrooms in huge quantities. The mushrooms proliferate throughout the network of caves that Rock-man lives in - a pretty idyllic lifestyle, all things considered, except for the smiling faces. Though of a jolly grimace these vaguely intelligent spritettes spell death for Trog if they touch him. After all, smiling faces have to eat too, and they don't like mushrooms so Troglidytes have to do as munchies for the faces.
Though he lives in the stone age, Rockman does possess some form of primitive technology. He has a hammer. Bashing any of the rocks with his mallet causes it to instantly crumble or fall to the floor, depending on what was beneath it. If Troglidyte eats all the Mushrooms on one screen then he's instantly transported onto the next screen where another feast of mushrooms is laid before him, which he just has to eat.
Rockman's on-screen antics are represented as a side on 2D view. With spritely vigour he can run along, and drop off, the ledges of rocks that make up the majority of the maze. Also making a part of the caves interior are the vertical red zoom tubes which allow him to scamper up and down between levels. The mushrooms are large red fungi, and it's hard to see how Rockman fits them inside his mouth still, he gobbles them up as he runs over them.
Also part of the scenery are the totally inert marble ledges. They don't do a lot and there's not a lot you can do to them. These are usually placed around as barriers or ledges. Another component of the caves are the inanimate skulls, sitting innocently until Rockman is foolish enough to hop onto one, whereupon it's a case of instant dismissal.
The blocks of rock in the cave crumble beneath a mighty blow from a prehistoric hammer, unless the space below is empty, in which case the rock falls harmlessly to the next layer. The hammer works by pressing fire and if a block of rock is sitting in the direction Rockman is facing, he'll give a mighty swing and bring the hammer down. If a smiling face is below a rock when it falls to the floor, Rock-man gets his revenge - it's splatted to oblivion. Two smiling faces wander the caverns and if one is killed, another materialises to take its place. The faces roam semi randomly but they do have a slight tendency to follow Rockman, a factor that can be used to Rockman's advantage on the later screens when they have to be lured in the direction you want.
Though some people like to take time over their lunch, Rock-man doesn't, and actually needs to consume all the mushrooms present on a screen within a time limit. If he's a good boy and eats them all up, bonus points are awarded according to how much time is left.
Upon starting a game you are asked for a password, or to press space. If you've previously completed five screens then a password will be known to you and it's possible to start from where you left off. Fives lives are given for Rockman to stuff himself silly, one being lost for every ill encounter with a cave nasty. Not eating lunch in the time given also incurs a nasty loss of life. Ho hum, just like Crash Towers at dinner time.
Control keys: definable
Joystick: Kempston, Cursor or Interface 2
Keyboard play: fast and pleasingly responsive
Use of colour: no attribute clash, though colour choice a bit garish
Graphics: blocky, and pleasantly animated though a mite bit flickery
Sound: pleasant tune with some good game effects
Skill levels: 1
Rockman is yet another budget program from Mastertronic that impressed the hell out of me. Though lacking amazing graphics and state of the art programming, Rockman is very playable indeed. There are enough screens to hold interest for a fair amount of time and the codeword system means there's no need to play the same old screens again and again. Rockman himself moves at an adequate pace and is very responsive indeed. Some of the bigger firms should really take a good hard look at some of Mastertronic's latest product as it really puts some of the latest megagames to shame.
This one seems to be very similar to a ruck of games we had in around issue 9, Hyper-action etc, and Rockman is about the average for that type of game - although it is a little out of date now. Graphically, this offers nothing new: the characters flicker too much and the colour is garish. I quite enjoyed playing this one for a while but found I got bored with it very quickly.
What a jolly little game! Lots of cute colourful graphics, that do flicker, but look good all the same. For 1.99, what we have is a nice platform game, that brings the old lateral thinking skills into play again. Some parts are rather amateurishly programmed, but all the same it's entertaining, and once you've bought all the really good progs you might be tempted to have a look at this; it's in no way shockingly good, but after all you can't expect perfection every time for 1.99.
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