UPDATED AND RATING CHANGED DUE TO NEW ISSUES POPPING UP. PLEASE SEE BELOW.
The plot is as simple as a 3D Mario game: Rocko's girfirend has been captured by orcs. You're Rocko. Go get her! At first, I wasn't going to recommend the game, but as I continued playing, I realized I had been judging it on what it appeared to be, as opposed to what it actually is. There's a lot more here than meets the eye.
- Resolution goes up to 1920x1080x32 and it looks terrific! Vibrant colors, and old school, bare-bones polygonal graphics.
- Character designs are fun and well done for the era. There is some humor present, as witnessed by how the Black Knights die (Python fans. take note).
- Controls are fairly responsive.
- Cut scenes can be skipped with [ESC].
- Ran without any tweaking on my Win 7 Home Premium 64-bit PC.
- Enemies may drop potions or coins upon defeat, so there is a *tiny* element of collectibility in the game.
- Standard graphical issues for the period: Some items don't animate properly, walls clip, et al. Several times during different fights, the enemy suddenly became prone on the ground, swinging away at dirt, as if swimming.
- You can pretty much avoid every enemy (unless they trigger a gate opening or other scripted event).
- Non-lethal environmental objects are not destructible (barrels, for example).
- If you want to fight, expect to miss three to four times for every blow you land. You will use the same technique for every single enemy (including Boss fights): swing, move, swing again.
- Checkpoints instead of saves. Normally, I wouldn't mind this, but the multiple insta-deaths (see below) make this frustrating. You must get through an entire level to save. (NOTE: Upon reflection, I'm kind of enjoying the challenge this presents. YMMV.)
- No game pad support of any kind, in a game that feels like it's tailor-made for it.
- Every environmental obstacle means insta-death. Water? Can't swim. Enemy backed you into a log with branches (or you grazed against it)? Instant impalement.
- Enemy AI is non-existent. They face away from you; they lose you on a straight path, they may or may not attack you.
The *Potentially* Broken: There are reports online of the game completely crashing to the desktop just before the final Boss battle. I'll update this review when I get to that point. (EDIT: Confirmed, although my game is crashing on Level Three.)
The Bottom Line: Initially, Rocko's Quest seemed to be part Crash Bandicoot, part Turok. Instead, it's its own thing: a simple, but interesting take on the genre. There are nice touches: Rocko can grab torches from walls to light his way, or throw them ahead of him into dark areas. Weapons can be collected and switched between at any time (although initially grabbing them involves a tricky bit of squatting in precisely the right place, as does activating switches). I can't say it's the most fun I've had with the genre, but I can say I'm enjoying the challenge and thoughtful obstacle-course gameplay enough to keep playing.
At $0.75 US today, I definitely recommend the game. Over $4, and I'd be hesitant about suggesting it.
UPDATE: I'm now on the third level, and two new issues have come up, leading me to change my rating to "Not Recommended." First, a new graphical problem has occurred: the animated effects simply aren't appearing, which means some objectives aren't showing up (for example, a glowing area I was supposed to step on near the end of Level Two wasn't there, although stepping on that area did still work as intended). Also, the effects my character generates (dust clouds, clashing with shields, teleporting) are now freezing and stay in the game permanently. While this doesn't seem to affect gameplay (in fact, it's kept me from getting turned around a few times), I do wonder if those effects that remain are causing the game to hit some kind of object limit, as I've had it crash to the desktop a few times now, leaving me to start over at the beginning of the third level...and I'm not sure I'll ever be able to finish. Because of this, I cannot recommend the game at any price.