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Review by: Jim Brumbaugh
Published: March 27, 1997
The day seems quiet and calm – that is, except for the rumbling noise. Only a few wispy, white clouds appear in the sky on this clear, summer’s day. Suddenly, a woman’s scream of laughter pierces your eardrums. “Is that a rocket between your legs, or are you just happy to see me?”, she says as the metal cable wraps itself securely around your neck. Your body is wrenched from its perch atop your Rocket Cycle as it is dragged along the ground like a rag doll, to the cheers of the fans in the stands. After a few seconds of torture, the cable is released allowing your body to crash into a nearby retaining wall. The woman, also a jockey, speeds away with a burst of flame blasting out of the tailpipe of her cycle. After a few moments of disorientation you try to stand, and notice one of your legs is broken. You have been dragged on your face a good one hundred feet from your cycle, and as you begin to hobble back to it, you see the woman round one of the pylons at the other end of the stadium as she makes another run at you. The question is, can you make it back to your cycle in time, or do you have another date with the wall?
Rocket Jockey is a game in which the player is given three distinct play options; he can take out his aggression on other jockeys, run a race through pylons while trying to make other jockeys crash, or play a souped-up version of rocket soccer. His vehicle of choice is one of the Rocket Cycles of various designs provided at the start of the game, and his persona is that of one of the eight riders supplied as choices in the Rider’s Lounge. After making these selections, and after choosing a contest mode and a circuit, it’s off to the races!
If Rocket War is selected, the player is pitted against another jockey (or jockeys) in a contest of physical destruction. The object is to maim the other jockeys until only one is left standing; hopefully, the one left standing will be the player. This must be accomplished within a certain time frame in order to progress to the next level of the racing circuit. The arena is filled with tall pylons, and since the cycle is equipped with steel cables on either side, the pylons are quite handy to use as turning devices. By launching a cable at the right time, the cycle can spin around the pylon and be launched off in a different direction. Of course, the cables can also be fired off toward another jockey, in an effort to dismount and maim him. Several jockeys can also be seen standing in the middle of the arena, and can be used as target practice. Bombs will occasionally be available, and these can also be cabled and flung toward an opponent.
In Rocket Race, the object is to run a slalom-type course by flying through a series of flashing gates in order, and within the time frame allotted. Again, other jockeys will try to block the player’s path to racing glory by trying to make him crash or by attempting to rip him from his cycle.
The final selection, Rocket Ball, puts the player in a soccer-style arena. Here, the goal is to score goals with the “balls” that are provided. Unfortunately, there are all types of balls that can be found lying around; regular, bouncing balls; exploding balls; and balls which will damage an opponent upon contact. A certain number of goals must be scored within the time frame provided, in order to advance to the next circuit.
There are times in which the player can pick up “specials” on the field of play. Different types of cables can be found, as well as special hooks which will give the cables a certain ability, such as a warhead tip. There are also occasions in which a Painter will apply a coat of special chemicals to the cycle and the jockey, which also bestow special abilities. Some coats will repel an opponent’s cables, others can boost the power of the rocket, and still others can help to hide the player’s cycle from the radar of his opponent.
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