|Title: Pocky & Rocky
Synopsis: Here's a game that is cutesy and oozing with japanese reference but somehow was a lot of fun to play!
I remember me and an old friend of mine playing it all the time because it was strangely addicting and challenging. It was basically a simple shoot-em' up type game with an overhead view like Ikari Warriors or the early Zelda games. You got your close-range, long-range weapons and bombs, which were super attacks that were damn useful when you get swarmed by hundreds of baddies or a boss.
The story is a mage named Black Mantle, a no-goodie bastard adorned in purple turning the Nopino Goblins in the land evil and it's up to the duo mentioned in the title to stop them. First off is Pocky, a shrine maiden. She throws cards and beats back all the horrible baddies with a stick and her bomb involves a 4-direction blast that kills pretty much anything and knocks a good chunk off the health of a boss. Funny thing about her is how the instruction manual tried to play her off as a boy yet I could tell from first glance she was well, a she. It could be an instruction manual mishap but I'm willing to bet nintendo has an "Ew, girls!" vibe from time to time.
Then there's Rocky, a monster unaffected by Black Mantle's plague. He is a Tanooki minus the giant floppy testicles who throws leaves and shakes his ass at opponents, and can also turn to stone. His bomb hits everything on-screen but it's weaker.
As for the game, there's only six levels but they are all very long and challenging. One bitch-hard part I remember was this passage in the third level that is incredibly hard to pass and ridiculously long. It also closes after so long and I've only crossed it ONCE. I'd recommend playing with two players since you can also slide and slam into each other, making you into this crazed human bumper car of doom. There's all sorts of stuff you can find along the way like balls to change your shots and even this dog you can ride to run over the enemies (basically invincibility and transportation all at once).
The enemies themselves range from undead to japanese myth-themed creatures. I don't really see the myth or story behind the first boss being a giant monster with an acorn head that can spit a machine-gun volley of acorns at you!
The graphics are typical for a 16-bit game but are also pretty nice and wonky. The sound feels like something out of a cheesy fairy-tale and is mostly bland. The story is also put in cut-scenes which are generally cheesy and simple. Controls are pretty smooth and responsive and the gameplay itelf is pretty frantic. It's a simple little game that offers challenge. I dunno what drove me to try this game out but damn was it fun times. An awesome little obscurity that I'd recommend.
Best Cheats: Stage select - At the select player screen, hold down the X and Y buttons while pressing A,A,A,A,B,B,B,B,A,B,A,B,A,B,A,B,START
Game Play: 9
Overall Rating: 8
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