SNES Reviews
SNES Sanctuary
Obscure SFC Hub
Planet SEGA Saturn
Magazine MADNESS
Retro Fire

Written: 2.18.07
Acquired: 3.2.06
Status: Cart only
Price: $5.67

Pub: IREMSept '93

There were many games back in the day that I saw for rent which I wanted to play so badly. But of course we could only rent one game and my older brother always won out. This was one of those copious games. Indeed, it's one of countless platformers on Nintendo's 16-bit wonder. It flew under the radar then, and to this day the story is no different. The question is: does it deserve to stay unnoticed, or no?


I remember seeing it on the rental shelves probably a hundred times, practically begging "RENT ME!" Alas, as readers of Power Moves know, my brother usually had a specific game for me to target. So never having got around to rent it, I was always curious about this IREM platformer. My gut said it was most likely a competent enjoyable sucker, but it wasn't until 2006, some odd thirteen years later, that I finally discovered whether my gut feeling was right on, or way off

I'm happy to say, my gut failed me not...


The 1st level is very simple and
eases you in. Right away you
notice that the graphics aren't
spectacular, but pretty solid and
atypical of the time. That baddie
looks a lot like Sparkster from
Rocket Knight Adventures, eh?

Rocky starts off bald, but by grabbing different icons, he grows a new do, each one with their own strengths and weaknesses. The hit system is identical to Ghouls 'N Ghosts. In addition
to maiming baddies with your hair, there's always the good ole fashion bop on the head

The first one gives Rocky a simple short attack

You can hang on ledges with the Spike, and flip to reach higher ground

It's also got this fancy little technique

  Unoriginal, but
loads of fun nevertheless

                                              Rocky loves this

Told 'cha

These send Rocky packin'

                               Well, it's a balanced diet...

The rodent can pick up great speed, which is critical in places such


The plot thickens...

: Hey! Why the dirt on our good name, sir? What wrongs have we EVER done? I dare you to show me JUST ONE! Bet you can't!

[You want this, or shall I?  -Ed.]

IREM CEO: *sweating* Ah ha ha ha.... Smithers, quickly, TO THE BASEMENT!

[At last, sir! -Smithers]

See the trouble you've caused now?

[*snickers* -Ed.]

Back to Rocky Rodent, then...

Level 2 is a speed run on the
highway. In the far distance
lurks the boss whom you must
catch before the sun sets

Sounds easy enough, right?

                            Well, at least until you factor
                            in the many hazards looking
                            to stop you all in the name
                            of pest control

A pair of tantalizing treats
await the crafty and skilled

                                         You're up against it!
                                         BETTER FLOOR IT!

Oooh, tricky, this is.
Show that Chuck E.
reject what's
what and who's who!

Maybe even trickier is this flame-flicking truck!  Patience is key, but time's running out!

Watch yo back Rocky! Very
peculiar, wouldn't you say?

                            Ah, we catch the boss swine
                            in time. He's pretty easy with
                            the Spike-do... but don't get
                            too cocky now...

... For this could happen

Before we get to level 3, more bizarre cutscenes and dialogue take place. Man, someone over at Nintendo really fell asleep at the controls...


            kids, NEVER
            accept rides
            from strangers


[Oh yeah?  Well get a ticket
and stand in line -Ed.]


From jumping in the city to
running on the highway to
rummaging in the apartment
complex we go. No, it's not
original, but it beats having
another ice or fire world, eh?

The MOHAWK is sick, observe its wonderful powers

Acts like a boomerang, and has superb range

And like the Spike, it allows you the luxury to hang and leap

[I know... *evil laughter* -Ed.]

Never fear, for such acts
of very immature mishaps
does no harm to Rocky.
However, it DOES make
for some neat sight gags

                                             Another cool trait
                                             of the mohawk:

It comes back to you too. Ace, 'init?

While the Mohawk serves many useful purposes and is quite fun to fling around, always bear it in mind that whenever you heave your mohawk (damn, did I really just say that), you leave yourself vulnerable to being just one hit away from an untimely demise

These "blockers" do exactly that.
The only way to open these doors
is to find an alternate route and
give these ole chums the boot

These guys give Rocky a healthy boost

Signposts act as
restart points

                                     Falling chandeliers are
                                     one to watch out for

Eventually you drop
down this long tube

                                      The blocks give way...
                                      sending you to...


Don't linger around!

                                It's a match made
                                in Heaven

                                                                  Ahh, love at first drool it just warms the heart

This is really cool, but what's a
seesaw doing in the middle of
an apartment builiding? Then
again, with spirits lurking about,
why ask why?

                              It sends the ole Rockster
                              flying like a, er, flying thing

An awe-inspiring
moment this is

Next you'll come across one of the strangest 1-UP icons ever. In fact, it's all quite disturbing. Take a glander and judge for yourself...

Sick and very, very cool all at the same time. Lovely

                                     Back inside, things are
                                     heating up... and boy,
                                     I'm not kidding. Check
                                     out the shower scene
                                     below... good grief!


You see?  Unbelievable

When you pass a stage,
you get this rundown

The next level (also in the "Ghost Apartment") requires cunning skillful gamesmanship of the highest caliber

It's easy to mis-time the jumps here. Talk about having the carpet pulled out from under you (quite literally)

The boss of this level is quite difficult...

... And he does not take kindly to intruders!

He's a tough cookie!
Good luck, Rocky!

                                           This game has one of
                                           the better Game Over
                                           screens I've seen in a
                                           while... good stuff


Rocky Rodent is much more difficult than your regular platformer. In fact, it was rated #6 in EGM's Top 10 Most Difficult Games in a piece they ran back in the mid-90's. So you'll need
all the help you can get. Here's a handy infinite continues code for your troubles...

  • As Rocky begins running across the screen, press Y, A, R, A, B, A

You have to be fast [to last! Sorry -Ed.] because Rocky is a speed demon, the little devil


Rocky Rodent fared well with the US critics. They agreed that it was a very solid, surprising semi-hit, and they couldn't wait to play a 16-meg sequel in 1994. Of course, this is Rocky's
one and only showing... [*sniff* -Ed.]

Super Play, on the other hand, was not impressed

  • EGM: 7, 7, 8, 8
  • GameFan: 79, 82, 85, 86
  • Super Play: 50%


Rocky Rodent simply got lost in the crowd of the many me-too platformers that overflowed the Super Nintendo. It is very very playable, and the different hair-do's add some level of strategy and depth to the game. Soundwise, it's pretty solid indeed. Rocky controls well and looks good to boot

As I mentioned in Ganbare Daiku no Gensan, also by IREM, Rocky Rodent reminds me a bit of that. There are several other hair-do's in addition to the spike and mohawk. They include a ponytail which acts as a swinging device and an egg that sends forth a savage bird to peck the enemies (!), just to name two. Even though it's by and large fairly standard platforming 101 stuff, the dressing is ever-so-slightly different enough to make the game feel like a bit of a unique effort by the fine folks at IREM

Speaking of unique, it should also be noted that the game, interestingly enough, has a bit of a 1940's look to it (check out those vehicles and buildings!) In addition, it admirably refrains from regurgitating the same ole fire and icy worlds, and somehow manages to come off smelling like
a bit of a breath of fresh air, despite things being rather true-and-tried

I guess, though, that that's the sign of a good game, no?

It's by no means an all-time classic, but it's good enough to warrant a play through. If you're in the mood for a simple and fun yet challenging platformer, this should suffice. Rocky Rodent has much more to offer than the average middle-of-the-road me-too hop 'n bop. As such, it makes for a worthy addition to any Super Nintendo library

Graphics: 7.5
Sound: 8
Gameplay: 7.5
Longevity: 6

Overall: 7.5

Bronze Award