Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Rock and Roll Space Monkey

I know that the concept behind Big Mean Flash Gamer since its inception in October 2007 has been to review the worst games that I can find online. However, every now and again a game comes along that just begs to be reviewed, regardless of whether it sucks or not. Such is the case of Rock and Roll Space Monkey.

Let's stop for a second while we take in the sheer awesomeness that is the title. A name like ROCK AND ROLL SPACE MONKEY requires capital letters, don't you think? As I sat and waited for it to load, I knew I was going to love this game completely, simply because it's called ROCK AND ROLL SPACE MONKEY.

Then the theme song plays, and it's the greatest theme song in the history of all mankind. I mean, look at how cool that monkey is. Just look at him! I'm not joking. There is no joke coming. He ranks right up there with Mr Fancy Pants in the list of top ten super sweet gaming protagonists.

Though the content of the actual game shouldn't even matter at this point, I'll mention it, anyway, since this is technically a game review. At first I was kind of disappointed, because I expected a side scrolling platform game. What I got instead was a small playing area that would sporadically fill up with enemies. Each level was broken up into three rounds of battle, and the goal was to win two so that I could progress to the next level. I could kill the aliens by firing lasers from my guitar. I also had several star grenades.

Have I mentioned how awesome so much of this game is?

Eventually a much bigger monster comes along and I have to kill him, which is remarkably easy. If I was looking for fault in this game, it would probably be that the first few levels are a total breeze. Indeed, if you stand right next to the boss and just keep firing lasers at him, you can pick up the win fairly quickly. And since most of the monsters don't do much damage to your health bar, you can take quite a few hits and keep on truckin'. It's not until the last level that you face a really serious opponent, and since the previous three bosses were all pushovers, this comes as quite of a shock.

Another mark against the game is the repetitiveness of levels. Each one follows the same pattern: run around for ninety seconds, kill little monsters and catch power-ups, face a bigger monster, repeat. Nor am I a fan of any level design that includes giant orange lumps of rock obscuring my view. I think if this was any other game, I'd be (metaphorically) tearing it a new arsehole, but then I remember that this game is called ROCK AND ROLL FUCKING SPACE MONKEY and that somehow makes it all OK.

I tend to give Crazy Girl, the developer of Rock and Roll Space Monkey, a lot of stick due to the small problem of her games all being shit, but I think she's actually onto a winner here. The music is ace and the characters are pretty inventive. Not only is there the titular silver simian, but all sorts of weird creatures, such as alien Frenchmen, walking balls of hair, and these bug-eyed lizard cat people, the leader of which tried to kill me through the power of excessive licking. Maybe its goal was not to hurt Rock and Roll Space Monkey, but to make him decidedly uncomfortable. And if that was the case it backfired, because that cat lizard got its ass handed to it, thanks to the pure rock and roll fury of the Monkey!

As I mentioned above, the difficulty curve is remarkably steep once we get to the final level. Prior to this, none of the enemies posed much of a threat. But these floating clown heads are harder to kill than fucking Daleks. Which I suppose is only fair, as clowns are the most frightening of all God's cursed creations, and if a race of alien beings has evolved into bodyless clowns with green tongues that whip you into submission, then they must be right hard bastards.

I certainly felt annoyed when I got all the way to the final level, only to get crushed by a giant clown head. But I suppose those are the breaks. Normally I'd be filling this paragraph with a curse-filled rant, but like I may have mentioned, this game is called ROCK AND ROLL SPACE MONKEY! That's fucking brilliant!

OK, OK, I'm done. My advise is to play Rock and Roll Space Monkey at least once, so you can hear the kickass theme song and give the game a go. The concept is ridiculous and the gameplay is flawed, but the plot is certainly original, and that's got to amount for something.

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