Rollergames Review by: endingsbeat em up on skates with dreaded plaforming
I rented a ton of NES/SNES games as a kid. I once saw this game, about Roller Derby, something I know little about -and thought, well its by Komani's Ultra division, makers of TMNT, it can't be that bad. And its not, the fighting is done fairly, you get invincibility frames when youre hit and the enemies don't gang up on you. It also has jumping over barrels and leaping off ramps, which gives you a reason to have on skates. But its got one large flaw that prevents it from being a great game. Months later, when the store was purging old inventory, it turns out I was one of the few people ever to rent this game. Why did no one play this, I wondered? It doesn't share Jekyll and Hyde's level of steep learning curve and bland game play.
I'd say the problem is its about Roller Derby, which is racing in a circle, with some theatrical fighting. This game is not a race, nor has any sports aspects. Instead, you are some kind of vigilante hero that fights bad roller teams. Now this story in itself is OK, even a bit fun. There is a place for weird with the NES, heck they have a game about a giant decapitated samurai head fighting zombies like a shooter. But the platforming in this game can really drain the fun.
Ultra does do a couple things that are very nice, such as outlining your fighter so you pop right out of the screen and are easy to see. Some hazards, like the barrels, are also brightly colored and do not blend in. The sprites are a decent size, and some feature some pattern to them, like the camo pants wearing mini-bosses on the first stage. You also get cut scenes at the beginning of the game and introducing each new team level you're going into. They are done well, the people look very good, although Ultra's colored everyone either a dusky red or a odd pink skin tone. The stage backgrounds are large, and take up a lot of the screen.
Konami doesn't disappoint. This is OK, more of the 8bit rocking guitar tunes you might expect in say, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Its not memorable or even great, but its decent.
This game is OK, but its not doing anything new and some of the challenges are just not fun. You die and have to start the whole level over, which wouldn't be so much a problem but each stage is pretty long. I died a few times, didn't really care to continue.
This game is totally nineties. You are one member of the 3 good roller derby teams, The T-Birds, the Hot Flash or the Rockers, and you face off against teams like Maniacs and Bad Attitude. You have on roller skates 24/7 and have some simple attacks, a punch, a grabbing hit/throw ala Double Dragon, and a jump kick. All the 3 heroes play exactly the same, it just depends on if you want to watch the hefty T Bird guy fight or the pink-haired and female Hot Flash. The Rocker player has the same color palette as Simon Belmont and thats kind of fun, like hes been thrown in the wrong game. You single-handedly will fight your way through evil guys and gals on roller skates. Not kidding. They roll right up to you and start punching. You also have to fight mini-bosses and the team leaders themselves, which is nice since you see them in the stage opening taunts.
So you know the plot, and it sticks to keeping with the theme throughout, roller gangs at war, even if you are the only one on your team fighting. There are two types of stages. The most common is a 3/4 view beat em up where you can move and attack in all 8 directions. Each team represents a world that seems nearly everyone is on roller skates, even as you fight your way through a city or even a jungle. The other two stages are on the road between the evils gangs, where the screen scrolls automatically for you and require a lot of jumping, and a vehicle boss. I had to knock this down some as this is a game about TEAMS, and you have no backup! This game cries out for 2 player, or even items that allow your team to help.
Its hard, but for the wrong reasons. This game tries to be a brawler but because everyone is on skates, and there is no raceway, they had to feature something about fast motion in the game. It decides to do this by including jumps and ramps over bottomless pits in the game. This was a pretty bad idea, honestly. On skates your character can go quite fast, and the screen doesn't move fast enough to show you, say a moving platform you need to land on until its too late. A lot of it requires practice, practice, practice. Even when its not a giant leap of faith, there are other instant death pits. Guys who throw grenades and make potholes that will kill you instantly. The road sometimes turns into a narrow curved path that can kill you if you fall off it. You're forced to go at new sections slowly until you know what you're facing, and even then, the controls are a little slippy due to the wheels. Once you know what to look for, the stages aren't that bad, but the large amount of instant death for no reason seems padding the difficulty.
This is a small game that slipped by a lot of people. Maybe it was due to the name sounding more like a sporting event but its a brawler, maybe it was due to all the cheap deaths. Rollergames is decent, and if anyone has ever wanted to play a game as a roller skating hero. This is probably your only chance.