Angry Video Game Nerd Wiki

The Rocketeer (NES & SNES) - Angry Video Game Nerd (AVGN)

Kyle Justin: (singing) He's the Angry... Video Game... Nerd!

The Nerd: You ever have to take a shit so bad, it twisted your ankle? I suppose I should explain that. It's when you're holdin' in for so long, the shit's pressing against your sacrum and to counteract it, you push your hips out, turning your leg in this awkward position! It feels like getting fisted in the ass, except you're getting fisted out the ass, and it's a fist full of shit, but there's no fist. That's what this game reminds me of! So, to HELL with it! WATCH IT GO!

(The Nerd smashes the Rocketeer NES cartridge with the hammer.)

The Nerd: Oh... damn. The review didn't even begin, and I already broke the game. Oops. I guess I can't play it then! What a genius idea. I should've been doin' that all along. Well, we have some extra time now. I dunno, what do you wanna talk about? How 'bout my shirt? That sounds real interesting, doesn't it? I started wearing it in 2020. That seemed like a good time for a fresh shirt for a new decade and new generation, like how they always updated the Star Trek uniforms. But some say I should go back to the old shirt. Okay, no problem.

(The Nerd is seen doing the top button on his old shirt.)

The Nerd: Alright. Here we go. It's missing some buttons here. It's a little baggy, uh, it's got some blood stains and shit stains on it, so it is old. And you know what? I'm also wearing my old underwear right now too. I'm just playin' around. But, I do agree, this old shirt is very comfy, and, when you wear somethin' for a long time, it becomes part of you. Y'know what? I'm also gonna try my old glasses.

(He switches his current glasses for an old pair.)

The Nerd: Yeah, here we go. (squints) I can't see shit.

(The Nerd notices that the Rocketeer cartridge is whole again.)

The Nerd: Huh? Wha...?

(He switches out his old glasses for his current pair, and he notices a leprechaun.)

The Nerd: Ahhh! It's that magic leprechaun that always put my games back together. Well, guess I'm not gettin' outta this one.

The Rocketeer (NES)[]

The Nerd: The Rocketeer for NES was based on the 1991 film about the biggest jetpacking flyer since Boba Fett. It was based on a 1982 comic, which was a throwback to 1930s comics, and film serials. As a kid, I loved the movie, and as an adult, I now appreciate how it celebrates old time heroes and golden age Hollywood. It's a little bit like Indiana Jones and a little bit like the Michael Keaton Batman. Y'know, the one where Batman wears a new suit. But I think they should've wore the old Adam West suit. I'm just kiddin'.

The Nerd: The Rocketeer's true identity is stunt pilot, goofy but endearing Cliff Secord, who, after a thwarted attempt by mobsters, stumbles upon a prototype jetpack created by Howard Hughes. Wait a minute. What's this odd-looking contraption? Hmmm. This right here, is... a pink jetpack. So he uses it for heroic deeds, but must keep it out of the hands of the Nazis, who wanna use it as a weapon. The film ambitiously tried to be the next big superhero franchise, but fell short like Socket the Duck after Sonic the Hedgehog. But that didn't stop it from landing on the NES.

(The scene switches to Cliff Secord from the Rocketeer movie, who is holding the NES game.)

Cliff Secord: He has gotta be kidding.

The Nerd: The only thing faithful to the movie are the colorful and appealing cutscenes. But once you get into the gameplay, it's a clusterfuck of infuriating mazes and backgrounds that look like throw-up. There's something about the overall look. The graphics and the text, especially during the cutscenes, that in some way, reminds me of another game I've reviewed: Dick Tracy, which had good intentions, but was butchered by poor decisions. And not at all coincidentally, both these games were published by Bandai. Well, they also published that other one, but let's not get into that.

The Nerd: It's a basic self-explanatory game, made up of six side-scrolling stages, where you walk around dodging bullets and punching people in the dick in awkward crouching positions. You collect weapons, and ammo is maxed at 99, which you can cycle through and use whenever necessary. So, nothing terribly unusual, until you get to these long jumps. If you miss the platform, you fall back to the area you were just at, so you have to retread your path over and over 'til ya get it right. Get OVER there! FUCK! Get over there! (grunts) MMMMGH! Ahhhhh! They give you just barely enough distance for it to even be possible! Who likes having to be at the tippy toe edge? Why do so many games force ya to do that? Don't you just wanna...?

(The Nerd gets up, goes into the game and throws the Rocketeer over the large gap.) Get OVER THERE!

The Nerd: It also really bugs me that all throughout the game, there's tons of open doors, but you can't go inside any of them. At least they're consistent, so you learn pretty quickly not to try goin' in them. But it just begs the question: why do they have to be there? And what's supposed to be on the other side? A bathroom? A closet? People bangin' in an alley? And they REALLY ran out of ideas for enemies. Miniature tanks? Really now. Are they remote controlled toys? Did they run astray from a Godzilla movie set? What are the standards here?

The Nerd: The enemies are throwing more advanced tech at me than the actual jetpack. Like this shit. It's like a dildo had a baby with a Transformer. And guess what else? Really. Take a wild guess. Bats. Bats! It's easy to get numb to it, but stop and actually think about it. Somebody, somewhere in the world, thought, "Hey, you know what the Rocketeer game needs? Bats". I'm startin' to think Top Gun actually had bats and I missed it. The funny part, is when you punch the bats, they explode in what seems like a splash of blood! Long before the Mortal Kombat censorship, the Rocketeer was fuckin' shit up. No, this game does not need bats. I'll tell ya what it needs: the rocket jetpack.

Lothar: Where is it?

Cliff: Where's what?

Lothar: (Slamming Cliff into the ceiling) The rocket!

The Nerd: Ya do get the rocket, but in order to use it, ya have to collect gas. Oh look, there it is, there's the gas! There's the gas... Ahhh, dead! Game over? ONE life?! NO CONTINUES?! Oh, you get a code? Unlimited continues? Okay - my bad, I got a little too bent outta shape there. So there I am, almost about to get the rocket. Yeah! Yea... FUUUUUCK! Well, I flew for a couple seconds. So finally, I start flying! But the thing is, ya have to keep that gas meter from running out. So ya only wanna use the rocket sparingly. So, while the rocket was included, it's not as prominent as you'd hope.

The Nerd: One of the biggest failures of any game, is when it's not fun to fight the enemies. To punch them, you have to get close (naturally), but if you get TOO close, the punch goes through them! (Appears in the game punching at the henchman) Daaarr! Punch 'im! Punch 'im! Urrrr! Urrrr! (Back to the game) And it's REAL fair that the enemies can shoot through the walls, but you can't. Classic. Do they have some kinda special ghost bullets or somethin'? Ohhhhhh, that's just... PISS! Then there's these little red spaceship things. Ya have to go near them to trigger them, but they shoot shit, so ya have to get away... and then they RESPAWN! Oh, come on! What it boils down to is that this is a game, where trying not to get hit is too frustrating. So a more tolerable strategy, is to just run through and hope you don't get hit too much. (Deep, funky voice) Better hope you don't get BEAT UP too much!

Fedora Man (from Rocky): Let's hope that if I get beat up to naggin' all.

The Nerd: And rely on the confidence that a heart will show up. Is that a fun mindset? No. Take a good game for example, like Contra. Doing a flying somersault through a bunch of bullets and successfully avoiding them, feels rewarding and satisfying. But not here!

(The Rocketeer falls off and dies in the game, which is usually used as a Game Over screen.)

The Nerd: The boss fights are uninspired and flat-out absurd. At the end of level five, you actually fight Griffith Observatory. Wow. What next, do ya fight Bronson Cave? The final boss is Sinclair, the main villain, played by James Bond Timothy Dalton, who honestly carried the whole movie. But he looks just like one of the generic enemies, and he's stupidly easy. Then ya get this half-ass ending, with just one screen. It says "I love you, Cliff!", and that's it. In the movie, the climactic fight takes place on top of the Nazi blimp, and it's between Cliff and the henchman, whose look was actually based on actor Rondo Hatton, who appeared in Universal's Sherlock Holmes and Monster series. How does this not seem like a stage for a video game?

The Nerd: In short, The Rocketeer might be better than lots of the games I reviewed on the NES, but that's actually a sad thing to say. All these years, I'm comin' to realize, the NES has less games like Contra and more like The Rocketeer, and when you wanna add up all the really bad ones, it's a pretty shitty library! Y'know what? I can't believe I'm sayin' this, but... the NES SUCKED!

The Rocketeer (SNES)[]

The Nerd: On that note, let's move on over to the Super Nintendo. Yeah, The Rocketeer in 16-bit. This one has to be better. I mean, how could it not, really? I'm not joking here. A more advanced console, learn from their mistakes, this one HAS to be better, right? Right?

(The Nerd is greeted by a plane-racing minigame with severely broken mechanics. He gets shocked some more, as the in-game graphics continued to fly the plane. then as it lands by losing the race, the Game Over screen appears, stating: I'm afraid you're grounded for today kid.)

The Nerd: (Cringes and shakes his controller in frustration) WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?! IT'S WORSE THAN THE NES VERSION! It might even be WORSE than Wizard of Oz, or Hong Kong 97! THIS MIGHT BE THE WORST FUCKING SUPER NINTENDO GAME I EVER PLAYED! It JUST STARTED, and I can't even figure out what to DO! This seems like a deliberate attempt to waste the player's time as much as possible. And not just waste your time, but to straight up insult you. You expected to get the Rocketeer, jetpack flying, hand-to-hand combat, gun play, action and adventure, but no! Instead, you're immediately forced to go in an endless circle like a dog chasing a turd stuck to its anus! I'm holding down the speed button, but I keep losing the race and bumping into the fucking towers!

The Nerd: Of course, there's something I'm doing wrong, and need to figure it out. The fact you go in a circle pisses me off to no end. They couldn't even design a horizontal side-scrolling stage? Why even include this in the game? As the first LEVEL?! And I know, this was a scene in the movie, but this is one instance where they followed the movie a little too much. Imagine if you were playing an Indiana Jones game, and right when you start it up, you're in the classroom teaching. That would've been great. So what is it you actually have to do here? How do you catch up with the other planes? Well, honestly, I don't really know. But what eventually worked for me, was instead of looking at the main screen, I'd look at that little screen at the bottom. Never mind the speed meter, that thing that looks like the transporter lever from Star Trek, specifically the original series. Y'know, the one where Captain Kirk wore the old uniform, not before they changed it. Heh, I'm just fuckin' around.

The Nerd: Anyway, that tiny screen is what you should be looking at. That's how you avoid the towers, and by sticking close to them, you can keep yourself closer to the inner circle, and outrun the other flyers. I think you could also use L or R to steer; I really don't know, and I don't care. So, what kinda back-ass way is this to program a game? Imagine if you were playing Doom, but ya have to stare at a tiny box. While the main screen was just, I don't know, a picture of a demon on a toilet or somethin'. Even when you kinda know what you're doing, it's not fun. It's just an endurance test.

(The screen then changes to Cliff winning the race, stating: And the winner is Cliff Secord.)

The Nerd: Oh, thank GOD, I won the race! Alright, let's see what's next.

(The Nerd sees the next level is just another plane-racing level)

The Nerd: Nooooo! NOOOOO WAAAAY! You have to do it all over again? This is Superman 64 degree of bullshit! How hard was it to make a game, where you're just the Rocketeer flyin' around? I wanna be the Rocketeer! Not Cliff in a plane! I wanna be the ROCKETEER! (The next level has the Rocketeer racing planes) The game... just mocked me. (Cracks up) So, now I'm the Rocketeer, goin' in a circle with FUCKIN' PLANES! It-it-it's like as if the game actually said to me, "You wanna be the Rocketeer? Well - now you're the Rocketeer, ASSHOLE!"

The Nerd: It's pretty much the same thing, just a sprite swap. But, between these races, you're abruptly thrown into... a shooter game! Whoooooa! What the hell? It's weird because it's not a POV, you're behind the Rocketeer, yet you're controlling his aim. It's one of those type of games where ya just move the crosshair around to take out the enemies...

(The Nerd grows tense as he plays on.)

The Nerd: ...for what seems like eternity. You can fly, but where to? The ceiling? The third level, or, should I say the third level that looks different... is a side-scrolling shooter. Finally! This is the bare minimum of what we'd expect from a Rocketeer game, and that's the sad part. This is the best it has to offer. You can blow up your health! Which really sucks, so you can't be too trigger happy. But if you let these guys get behind you, you're screwed, because you can't shoot to the left. That's pretty common, but the part that's not fair, is they sometimes sneak along the bottom of the screen, so you can't help but get in front of them. Even when you have a straight shot, you can hardly hit them without getting hit yourself, because they shoot in these downward angles, so you get stuck in these impossible geometric patterns. They just keep coming. It's too fast. They just gang up on you! And when ya die, it's Game Over! No continues!

The Nerd: (wide shot with the Nerd starting to scream and throws his controller into the ground.) FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK!

(The second Game Over screen appears in which the Rocketeer falls off by accident, then the score results, and then finally back to the Rocketeer SNES title screen.)

The Nerd: I feel bad, for anyone who played this. Imagine the kids who got this from Toys R' Us thinkin', "Yay! The Rocketeer!", only to get this poor, lousy, steaming pile of garbage! Let's take care of these games the right way. I got two Rolling Rocks, which I turned into the Rocket-Beer. Let's strap these fuckers on and send 'em off. Now, let's LITERALLY watch it go!

(The Nerd removes the bottle tops and the fizz sends the cartridges crashing through the ceiling, into the sky and then crashing and exploding right behind the Hollywoodland sign, destroying the letters spelling out ‘LAND’.)

The Nerd: Yeeeeah! Now... one last thing about the shirt. I understand, nobody actually wants me to literally go back to the old shirt. I just need a new one that everyone can unanimously approve of. So starting now, I'll be wearing a new shirt. (A mystic force turns the Nerd's shirt into a shiny, silver, space-styled one) Well, this is it. This is the new shirt. I hope you like it. (snickers)