You guys playing Star Fox Zero right now? Well, I’m afraid that you’re missing out on an underrated gem! The Rocky films were all a blast back in the day. They still have the best montage scenes in a live action film and it is not even close. The movies just knew how to get you excited for a fight and the soundtrack was superb. So, when I found out that they made a Rocky game for the Gamecube, I knew that I had to go pick it up. If handled right, this could be a winner. The gameplay is actually a lot of fun and the story mode actually adapts all of the films, which is really impressive. It is not a perfect title by any means, but it is definitely worth the purchase.
If you aren’t familiar with the movies, it is about a guy named Rocky. He goes from being a local underdog to the world champ. He avenges his best friend who was destroyed by a Russian boxer and then he also wins in a street fight. Your job in the game is to crush all challengers. There are 20 levels total so roughly 4 per film. Each film gets one Big fight, which gets its own cutscene and everything. That was always pretty fun and actually in a humorous way at times with the voice acting. Giving a cutscene to some of the other fights would have helped to break the monotony that the rest of the story had. After all, let’s face it, it isn’t all that exciting to fight yet another random challenger after a while.
I will give the game some props for fully embracing the repetition though. Each fight plays out in exactly the same way. First we get to hear each fighter’s theme. Then they are introduced and the fight begins. Afterwards, you get to relisten to the victor’s theme one more time. It is very entertaining. You can also beat most of the levels while only using two attacks, but don’t let your guard down. The difficulty will randomly jump up at some points before heading back down. I ended up losing 2-3 fights, but then I would proceed to teach my opponent a lesson.
The gameplay is what you would expect from a classic boxing game. You have an array of punches and moves that you can use here. High, Low, and Medium blows. You can faint and move around to dodge. I never figured out how to block, but I’m sure that there is a button for it. There must be right? Once you take out the opponent’s health bar, they have 10 seconds to try and get back up. Usually the CPU will get up twice in a set at the most. Maybe a third time if the fighter is tough. If you knock an opponent down three times in a single round, then it is an auto win for you. Getting up on your own is a lot tougher though, so good luck trying to rise 3 times.
As hinted at earlier, you will hear a lot of victory themes and various popular songs throughout the game. It gives the title a certain amount of hype. In the actual matches you are unlikely to notice the music. Thus, I’d say that the soundtrack is good, but not great. Graphically, it is a similar story. This certainly cannot be called great, nor can it be called bad. The game did a fine job of recreating the characters from the films. Each attack was designed well and I didn’t really notice any attack cloning here. Of course, the attacks are all very similar as it is. Character wise there are definitely some clones, but they make sense. Having a version of Rocky for each film was certainly genius and paves the way for crossover fights that we could only dream of back in the day. I think the graphics definitely could have been a little brighter, but I still give them a passing grade.
The campaign is fairly short so you may be wondering what replay value is available. Well, there is essentially nothing extra in the campaign so multiplayer is your only option. If you find someone who enjoys the game as well, then you will have quite a lot of replay value here. On your own you may have fun with it for a few hours, but ultimately it won’t last. I suggest buying this game for a good price. Of course, quality does defy quantity right? Not every title can pull a Super Smash Bros and accomplish both.
Overall, Rocky is a fun game. It is best to think of this one as your average popcorn fun rental. It is the kind of game I could picture someone renting for the weekend to play for a little while. That probably isn’t an option anymore though, so you gotta buy it or forget the title. Faced with those options, I’d recommend grabbing this title. It is a good game even if it won’t last you all that long. It is definitely a special treat for Rocky fans with how accurate the whole thing is. The final boss even feels a little special since it is a real battle as opposed to an official boxing match. Train your skills and then go on to become the world champ in this title. Embrace the experience because we may never get another Rocky game ever again. A truly somber thought.