DescriptionIn the 1940s, the Nazis built a base on the moon and plan to use a mysterious substance called Lunarium to reduce people's intelligence. However, in the 21st Century time travel has been mastered, as have jet-propulsion backpacks, plus some cataclysmic weaponry and advanced code-breaking equipment. Thus, you are sent back in time to change the result of the war using this technology to find their five rocket factories and destroy the moon base.
The game fits the Cinemaware template closely, with a string of action sequences linked by cinematic animation sequences to set the scene. There's also a strategic element, as you move your spies around to gain information and avoid detection, and decide how much Lunarium to use at each stage of the game. Action sequences include hand-to-hand combat with a Nazi guard, and flying through the air shooting either hordes of enemy planes or the Zeppelin itself.
Part of the Following Groups
- Cinemaware-style games
- Gameplay feature: Jetpack
- Games made into comics
- Games with code-wheel copy protection
- Historical conflict: World War II
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Amiga versionThe original Amiga version of the game has the most pictures, sound effects, digitized voices and animations of any version of the game. Various pictures, animations, etc. that were in the Amiga original didn't make it into ports to other platforms.
Comic spin offBetween 1991 and 1992 Malibu released five issues of a comic series in the game universe, also named Rocket Ranger. The series was planned to have six issues, but the last one was never released. (Sources: Amiga Power #7, 1991/11, Grand Comic Database)
Copy protectionRocket Ranger is one of the few games that got code-wheel copy-protection right: You simply cannot play the game without the code wheel, and there is no way to "crack" the game because the code wheel is an integral part of gameplay.
DOS versionAccording to programmer Peter Oliphant, the DOS VGA version has an extra game which is not present in the Amiga lead version. This came about because there was no design document and so he just had to work from the things the programmer of the Amiga version had already finished. At some point, he got ahead and had to wait until more of the Amiga version materialized - and so he developed an extra mini game in that spare time.
NES versionThe NES version of the game omits all references to Nazis and World War 1 and changes the storyline to suit a science fiction plot: The year is 1990 and an alien moon appears. The aliens descend to earth and establish the country of Greater Leutonia (which happens to be where Germany is) as the first step on subjugating the world. Only the Rocket Rangers can stop them and eventually obtain the technology to build a rocket ship and destroy their moon. There also exists a Amiga version with the same changes.
NazisThe sci-fi plot for Rocket Ranger is centered around a base on the moon that the Nazis built. Oddly enough, there are some crackpot people, among them a man named Vladimir Terziski, that claim that the Nazis really did build a base on the moon during World War II.
ReferenceOne of the Game Over messages sees you remember your Grandmother telling you that "if God meant for us to fly, he would have given us wings". This was the famous quote of Rev. Milton Wright in 1903, 3 months before his famous sons Orville and Wilbur made the first flight. Before long, planes were in mass use - for more on this, check out Wings.
SequelThe end credits mention Rocket Ranger 2, which has yet to materialize as of 2012.
- Amiga Power
- May 1991 (issue #00) - #73 in the "All Time Top 100 Amiga Games"
- Commodore Format
- June 1991 (Issue 9) - listed in the A to Z of Classic Games article (Great)
- Computer and Video Games
- Issue 06/1989 - Winner Golden Joystick Award 1989 for Best 16-Bit Graphics (reader's vote)
- Computer Gaming World
- November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) – #45 in the “150 Best Games of All Time” list
- November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) – #4 Best Way To Die In Computer Gaming (see “Game Over” trivia in the References section)