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atari yars
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Developed by
Written by  :  Alex L (1101)
Written on  :  Feb 27, 2018
Rating  :  3.4 Stars3.4 Stars3.4 Stars3.4 Stars3.4 Stars
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Rock Hard Knight

The Good

The graphics in this game are great. It has a steampunk feel with lots of robot baddies as well as a medieval "knights in armour" theme. It also reminds me a bit of Saturday Morning Cartoon from the early 90s. The animation is incredibly fluid and there was only slowdown on a few stages where there was a lot of enemies on screen at once. It also runs at a consistent 60fps for the US release. The music and sound effects are also pretty good, but not in the same league as say the Sonic the Hedgehog or Dynamite Headdy games.

The Bad

Don't let the cutesy graphics fool you, this game is incredibly hard. You have a limited number of lives and continues. Extra lives can be found or achieved by getting so many points in the high score. With many one touch kill moments (lava, mechanical knights that chase you, falls) it's easy to lose a lot of lives quickly. The bosses are also very hard, often requiring 10 hits or more and having patterns that make them difficult to hit. In the end I managed to complete this on easy and normal, the easy mode is more akin to many games hard mode.

The jetpack (used for charge attacks and reaching high areas) isn't as well implemented as it should be. It's energy gauge is too slow to refill and I found it quite clumsy, often sending me in the wrong direction. This is one of the games main USPs and I think it might be better without it.

The Bottom Line

A difficult game. It would probably take the average gamer 4-6 hours to complete, if accounting for restarts. A speed run by someone who has completed the game will probably take just under 2 hours.

This game is indeed a classic and arguably a hidden gem (I remember it being quite popular at the time). It is very difficult and frustrating. I couldn't bring myself to hate this game despite the eye-watering difficulty. The graphics and cartoon style are unique - a marsupial in a knight's armour fighting pigs in tanks, what's to hate?

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