Wednesday, January 28, 2015

"Rocket Knight Adventures", Genesis, 1993.

Indeed, folks, after I made the stink about hitting 40K viewers it looks like I threw in the towel with this blog. That's not entirely the case (and even if it was, it continues chugging along just fine without me, now at 41K views and climbing) -- what has actually happened is that I've spun off the extras to a new blog, Pixel Pompeii, leaving this one for posts of its extremely sporadic core constituency: those hallowed old video game ads scanned from comic books. I don't do them very often these days, but then again, PP isn't seeing that much activity either -- they're just busy times out there in the real world!

But I do still have a pile of great ads to share, and when I remember and have the spare moments needed to do so, I'll continue eking them out here. Today's ad features a great mascot who slipped between the cracks, deserving a much bigger slice of greatness than he ultimately achieved. And no, it's not roadkill -- it's a fake-out lead-in, making for one of relatively few 3-page ads. Single-pagers are a dime a dozen, double-page spreads quite common. This strays from the path.


WHEN CONFRONTED WITH DANGER OPOSSUMS WILL OFTEN PLAY DEAD...
THIS ONE GOES BALLISTIC.

It's Sparkster(tm) the Rocket Knight, the most amazing opossum ever to rocket to stardom! He's the star of Rocket Knight Adventures(tm) for Sega(tm) Genesis(tm). And he's got pumped up personality, warp speed and quick wits.

Blast off into 7 epic stages of adventure and go hog wild against the hugest, strangest pig creatures imaginable. They're after the mysterious Key to the Seal once handed down by the brave founder of Zebulous. In the wrong hands it will unleash total destruction. Through every stage Sparkster moves, flies and rides in new directions to escape opossum punishment. Will he hang tough? You bet, 'cause his talented tail can get a grip on all kinds of hairy situations.

You're the thrust-miester[sic] controlling our hero's jet pack and his assault sword. And you better kick some pork butt because Sparkster's animal magnetism attracts mechanized pig mutants like the Giant Pigbot and the Drill of a Lifetime. You'll go gonzo over spectacular new graphic techniques like the mirrored lava pools, the rotating gravity room, and Axle Gear's massive laser blaster.

That's only some of what awaits Sparkster the Rocket Knight. So rustle up some courage and launch into the most animalistic action this side of Zebulous.

So maybe 1993 didn't need any more extreme animal mascots in platform games, but if one deserved a shot at 3D, it was Sparkster, not Bubsy. (He eventually got his chance in 2010, but the trail seemingly runs cold there.)

Could they moderate the extreme-ness a little bit, maybe? "Pumped up personality" is actually the opposite of a selling point. "Will he hang tough?" You're not increasing your street cred by paraphrasing the New Kids on the Block, here. "Go gonzo"? I figure more Muppet Show and less Hunter S. Thompson. Mostly, the rest of the copy weaves in references to the fact that he fights porcine enemies: hog wild, kick some pork butt... then there is a current of unintended innuendo: thrust-meister, drill of a lifetime, "Axel Gear's massive laser blaster", and animalistic action. Also a little highlight re: "spectacular new graphic techniques" which are always better seen than read about.

The ad artwork, at least, is appealing (and the fake-out possum is an adorably nasty critter!), and the game is solid. Konami shouldn't forget they have Sparkster in their IP vault, ageing like a fine wine.

Two closing notes here, folks -- my next retro game party has its date set for April 11, so mark it on your calendar. And don't forget I'm still experimenting with game giveaways here -- it's been over a month so far and no one has yet claimed my first offering, a Steam code for the Dreamcast Collection. This could be your chance, just signal to me that you want it and we can work out the brass tacks! Cheers and play on!