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Average Rating: 4.7 (7 people have rated this item.)
RAM Requirement: 768k RAM
Control: Joystick or Keyboard
Release Status: Abandonware
Developers: Ed Magnin
System 6 Compatible: No
Hard Drive Installable: No
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Rocket Ranger was already available for the Amiga, Atari ST, PC, Commodore 64 when it made its way to the IIGS.
I really enjoy Cinemaware games. Rocket Ranger is no exception and also happens to be my favourite.
Like other Cinemaware products (Cinemaware later going bust, maybe cause they never ported "It Came From the Desert" to the IIGS? I don't think so!) this game is rich in storyline. In an alternate universe, the Nazis are winning World War II hands down and as the game progresses, you discover why. Equally puzzling are the aids you have at your disposal: a rocket pack and radium pistol which mysteriously materialised right in front of you. Play with keyboard or joystick, but for the purpose of emulation, the keypad and open apple or option as fire button will do just fine.
Lunarium powers your rocket pack and it's mined on the moon. A rare commodity indeed and on Earth it can only be found in ports hidden by the Nazis. Once you've found a loading port and taken out its defenses, you'll be able to fill your pack with loads of lunarium to help you on your way. You'll also need to find and capture Nazi rocket parts, build a rocket and go see for yourself what's happening on the moon. Not only that, but you must also try to slow down Nazi conquest worldwide and therefore allow yourself the time to gather everything you need (500 units of lunarium + all rocket parts) to reach the moon. This involves either saving Dr Barnstorm and his beautiful daughter (the Nazis wanting his scientific genius and god knows what with his daughter!) or shooting down the planes of the Luftwaffe in an attempt to destroy key military targets. Rocket Ranger perfectly mixes elements of mastering resources, arcade action, a time limit and a little luck.
Fortunately your knowledge of current world events is updated in the war room. You control 5 spies whom you can place in any country, their job to infiltrate first and report back as to whether the country has anything of significance. Your spies can also group together resistance fighters to help aid in defying Nazi conquest. You can set your spies to work fast or slow - working fast means they are more likely to be discovered by the Nazis and be terminated, working slowly means they are more likely to remain secret but their reports will take time. I recommend that you allow your spies to infiltrate slowly, and then move them quickly onto another country until you have found the two lunarium bases. With the bases found you should rally resistance in that country so the lunarium will be sent straight to you for use in your rocket pack or rocket ship). Your next priority should be securing rocket parts. Then, depending on which of your spies haven't been discovered and terminated, they should form resistance groups to help slow the pace of the goose step. Nazi progress can be seen on the war room map.
The copy protection, ingeniously grafted into the game, is how you travel to the different countries. You must enter in a precise amount of lunarium into your rocket pack, depending on where you are and where you want to go. Within the archive is a spreadsheet you will require to enter correct amounts of lunarium to travel from country to country.
In my opinion, computer games don't get much better than this. Every time you play Rocket Ranger, each of the key locations (lunarium bases, rocket parts, Nazi depots, etc.) change, your spies start in different countries and other random changes are apparent which allow for the game to be played over and over and still remain fresh. Such game design is not common in games of today. Throughout, the game is humorous and includes intriguing narration between scenes as well as beautifully hand drawn 16 colour graphics. The sound in Rocket Ranger has a wonderful style all its own, recreating the feel of b-grade '50s sci-fi movies. The excellent music score, trivia fans, was penned by none other than the last editor of the Apple II magazine "A+", Bob Lindstrom. And before anyone gets picky, I mean "A+" before it was incorporated into InCider.
Rocket Ranger is one of the gaming jewels found in the crown of 16-bit computing.