Rocket Knight Adventures Review: An underrated MegaDrive classic

Rocket Knight Adventures: Underrated Mega Drive Classic

Last Updated on December 17, 2023

Konami’s Rocket Knight Adventures is a 2D platformer on the Mega Drive/Genesis and was released in August 1993. You play as Sparkster, who has several games to his name, but most agree his first outing is the best.

This opossum packs a punch

Rocket Knight Adventures Review: An underrated MegaDrive classic
Image: GamingRetro

First, I want to discuss Sparkster because his design screams Mascot Character, but is simply not as recognisable as Sonic the Hedgehog. I think he’s meant to be an opossum, but his outfit is detailed; he’s emotive and has a unique skill set. Sparkster looks the part, as does the rest of the game. Backgrounds are elaborate with creative environments, and the soundtrack is full of bangers. 

Sparkster’s movement is fluid and responsive, although he does slide a little, which makes precision platforming challenging. Our hero has a generic sword attack, but the star of the show is his rocket boost, which sends him flying in any direction after a short charge. I love this ability as it can be used to get around quicker or as an attack. Some boss battles rely on mastering this ability, and I’ll get into those in a moment.

One of Rocket Knight Adventures‘ many strengths is level design. Every area is entirely different and throws new challenges at the player. There are even flying stages that lean into the ‘Rocket’ part of the title. Every stage is full of tons of polish and attention to detail.

Rocket Knight Adventures Review: An underrated MegaDrive classic
Image: GamingRetro

Little things like this chicken I rudely awoke as I smashed through its house on a runaway train sell me on the world, and subtle flairs like this show up all over the place.

Accompanying the impressive stages are the Boss battles. These fights are just as varied as the levels and often rely on Sparkster’s rocket boost to land well-placed attacks. Most bosses took me a few tries, as the battles are more sophisticated than simply ‘hit it until it dies.’ Light mechanics in the fights do a great job of spicing up the gameplay.

Rocket Knight Adventures sting in the tail

Rocket Knight Adventures Review: An underrated MegaDrive classic
Image: GamingRetro

I could sing Rocket Knight Adventures‘ praise for the entire review, but I should address the difficulty, although not for the reasons you may expect. I welcome tough bosses and fiendish jumping puzzles, but Rocket Knight Adventures is stingy with lives and credits. This shortage is an issue because many obstacles kill you in a single hit. 

From as early as stage 3, you’re introduced to hazards that will wreck you, regardless of how many hearts you have. You’ll die to these simply because you don’t know what to do the first time. Rocket Knight Adventures is good enough that it warrants multiple playthroughs where you get a little further each go, but it would be a smoother experience with more continues. 

I must stress this is a minor nitpick. Games were pretty hard in the ’90s, and that difficulty is worth stomaching to beat one of the best games I’ve played on the system.

Rocket Knight Adventures: This is a stellar platformer from start to finish, with wonderfully creative environments and a superb soundtrack. While unforgiving, there's never a dull moment, and the title is a 'must play' for any fans of 2D platformers. Anthony

von 10

About the author

Anthony is a freelance writer and has worked in the industry for four years. He's furiously competitive and is always looking for the next big multiplayer hit. Anthony is a passionate PS1 collector and firmly believes in playing his retro games rather than letting them collect dust on a shelf. He also loves speedrunning and always looks forward to the next GDQ and ESA events.

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