Rascal

a game by Traveller's Tales, and Psygnosis
Genre: Adventure/RPG
Platforms: Playstation, PSX
Editor Rating: 7.5/10, based on 4 reviews, 6 reviews are shown
User Rating: 9.0/10 - 2 votes
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In March, Psyqnosis will be bringing out a new 3-D game unlike anything you've seen before. This impressive-looking title will contain a bagful of technical tricks, giving it a hi-res look in low-res, at 60 fps.

The game concept also looks impressive at this early stage. The game has you following the adventures of Rascal, an original Jim Henson Creature Workshop-created character. Rascal must rescue his kidnapped father, an inventor, by travelling through six worlds in three different time zones. Each of the worlds has a traditional theme, like Aztec, Wild West, Pirate Boat and Castle. But what sets this 3-D platform game apart from the rest are the different time periods. Each world has a past, present and future, giving the game a unique approach to traditional themes (for example, the Wild West may have cowboys in the past, but it turns into a movie set for the present).

Download Rascal

Playstation Download

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

PSX Download

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Game Reviews

Psygnosis' most secret title so far is RASCAL, another free-roaming, realtime 3-D platform adventure in the Mario mold. The skeptics said that Mario couldn't be done on the PlayStation, but Travellers Tales, the team responsible for classic Sega titles like Sonic Blast, Toy Story and then 32-Bitters like Mickey Mania, have done it. You play the "Rascal" of the title, a kid whose father invents a time machine.

The game takes place over the three time periods of the past present and future and seven themed worlds including a medieval castle, Atlantis, a pirate ship, the Wild West prehistoric and the tunnels of time. Each of these areas is different in each time period. You play the game from behind your in-game character rather like a game featuring a certain Italian plumber whose name we forget!

Getting rid of enemies is simple-you're armed with a 'time gun' which will zap enemies into the tunnels of time at the end of the game. Pick-ups include time ammo for your gun, but by far the most important are the six pieces of a time puzzle. Collecting these allows entrance to the next time zone.

Graphically. Rascal is out of this world. Unbelievably, the game runs at 60 frames person second and loading times have been eliminated. This is the sleeper game to watch and try out.

Overview

Psygnosis, the publisher that is best known for titles with top-notch graphics and intense gameplay, has taken a step in a completely different direction with Rascal. With the help of developers Traveler's Tales and Jim Henson's Creature Shop, they are hoping to bring this same excitement and graphical excellence to the 3D platform genre.

Rascal is a kid on a mission to save his father and the planet. It seems that Pops developed the plans for a time-traveling machine. The evil Chronon decided that if he had the ability to travel through time, he would have the ultimate power over the world. You are Rascal, armed with your father's latest invention (a bubble gun), and you are on a mission to save your father at whatever cost. Do you have what it takes? My guess is no, because your patience will not last that long.

Gameplay

Rascal is best described as a 3D action/platform game. The theme is based more on exploration; you do not collect coins, fruit or gems, but you will hop from platform to platform and smash enemies by jumping on top of them. The game is mostly broken up into different rooms that are either unlocked or opened by colored keys found throughout the game. All in all, it sounds like a fun game, but not terribly original, and it really could have been.

Before I go any further, I would like to apologize to the developers of Gex 2 and, to a lesser extent, Croc. In my reviews of both of these games, I complained about the camera angles and the lack of control or good angles available. After playing Rascal, I take it all back. I wish this game had been released before Gex 2 so I could see just how much better the camera angles are. If you have not figured it out yet, the camera angles just plain suck in this game. You are supposed to be able to change the angles with the L2 and R2 buttons, but they only worked on rare occasions. If you were too close to a wall, these buttons would do nothing.

So why am I complaining about the camera angles so much? This is supposed to be a platform game. The idea behind a good platform game is tight control and fun gameplay. These usually go hand in hand. Well, this game could have had good gameplay, but the camera angles made it nearly impossible to control Rascal. I can't tell you how many times I found myself standing in hot lava just from trying to turn the character around, or the times that I fell off ledges or into the water because the camera did not follow the character. It was nearly impossible to know which direction your character would move if you hit the d-pad forward.

Psygnosis has really geared this game toward the younger audience. Rascal, the character, is a kid that looks to be about 10 years old. He walks around with his baseball hat on backwards and his shades on. I think he is a great character and kids will identify with him. This is another reason why I think the camera work is weak. If I had problems with it, do you think an 8-year-old will be able to play it? I guarantee that your kids will never make it through the first or second level without many deaths and frustration. Actually, this game was more than frustrating; it actually made me flat out mad at times.

Another thing I did not like about the game, which is also a downside for the younger audience, is the lack of saving or continues during a level. You pretty much have to make it from the beginning to end of the level before you can save. If you die, you will come back in the same room, which is good--but sometimes things happen so fast that you are dead again before you know what happened. For example, the very first level boss is a dragon on a platform in the middle of a pool of lava. There are platforms along the outer rim of the room, which are meant to be jumped on to avoid the dragon's attacks and to give you a shot at killing the beast. I entered the room with all 3 lives after playing through the level for about 45 minutes. All I needed to do was beat the stupid dragon and get out of there. Well, thanks to our friend Mr. Crappy Camera Angles, I kept falling in the lava and dying. I had to jump over to a platform, stop, think for a second, and carefully nudge the d-pad to line Rascal up for the next jump. By this time, the dragon lit my ass up with his fire breath. If you tried to go with any speed at all, you were in the lava and it was game over.

This game had the potential to be really fun, and a great game for the younger gamers as well as the platform fans. I really liked the different levels and the variation between them. The sad part is that most people will never make it far enough to see the higher levels because of the frustration. At no point in the game did I ever feel comfortable. I knew that it was only a matter of time before I would have to make a split-second decision or a precise jump, and that I would be unable to execute it.

As I said, the level design was really neat and the enemies were also really cool. They ranged from a rat to a rabid dog to a deranged blacksmith, and that was just the first couple of levels. Each of these personalities was humorous, and you almost hated to have to kill them. I think this is also one of the reasons I was so disappointed with the game. I really liked the idea, and thought it would be really fun for kids to see all the different characters. It is just a shame that it won't happen.

Graphics

Rascal sports some nice 3D graphics. All the characters have great personalities and are well-drawn. The various rooms and levels also look great. There is an occasional polygon breakup and slowdown, but for the most part the game ranks up near the top of the 3D platform genre with the graphics. Unfortunately, graphics do not make a game.

Bottom Line

To say I was disappointed with this game would be an understatement. Ever since I first starting hearing rumors about this game, I was looking forward to it. I don't think there are enough games geared for younger audiences. The terrible camera angles will keep everyone from kids to adults in a constant state of frustration. In my opinion, there is nothing worse than dying because your character does not go in the direction you think it should. If you don't want to take my word for it, rent it. I would like email from you to hear your thoughts!

Overview

Psygnosis, the publisher that is best known for titles with top-notch graphics and intense gameplay, has taken a step in a completely different direction with Rascal. With the help of developers Traveler's Tales and Jim Henson's Creature Shop, they are hoping to bring this same excitement and graphical excellence to the 3D platform genre.

Rascal is a kid on a mission to save his father and the planet. It seems that Pops developed the plans for a time-traveling machine. The evil Chronon decided that if he had the ability to travel through time, he would have the ultimate power over the world. You are Rascal, armed with your father's latest invention (a bubble gun), and you are on a mission to save your father at whatever cost. Do you have what it takes? My guess is no, because your patience will not last that long.

Gameplay

Rascal is best described as a 3D action/platform game. The theme is based more on exploration; you do not collect coins, fruit or gems, but you will hop from platform to platform and smash enemies by jumping on top of them. The game is mostly broken up into different rooms that are either unlocked or opened by colored keys found throughout the game. All in all, it sounds like a fun game, but not terribly original, and it really could have been.

Before I go any further, I would like to apologize to the developers of Gex 2 and, to a lesser extent, Croc. In my reviews of both of these games, I complained about the camera angles and the lack of control or good angles available. After playing Rascal, I take it all back. I wish this game had been released before Gex 2 so I could see just how much better the camera angles are. If you have not figured it out yet, the camera angles just plain suck in this game. You are supposed to be able to change the angles with the L2 and R2 buttons, but they only worked on rare occasions. If you were too close to a wall, these buttons would do nothing.

So why am I complaining about the camera angles so much? This is supposed to be a platform game. The idea behind a good platform game is tight control and fun gameplay. These usually go hand in hand. Well, this game could have had good gameplay, but the camera angles made it nearly impossible to control Rascal. I can't tell you how many times I found myself standing in hot lava just from trying to turn the character around, or the times that I fell off ledges or into the water because the camera did not follow the character. It was nearly impossible to know which direction your character would move if you hit the d-pad forward.

Psygnosis has really geared this game toward the younger audience. Rascal, the character, is a kid that looks to be about 10 years old. He walks around with his baseball hat on backwards and his shades on. I think he is a great character and kids will identify with him. This is another reason why I think the camera work is weak. If I had problems with it, do you think an 8-year-old will be able to play it? I guarantee that your kids will never make it through the first or second level without many deaths and frustration. Actually, this game was more than frustrating; it actually made me flat out mad at times.

Another thing I did not like about the game, which is also a downside for the younger audience, is the lack of saving or continues during a level. You pretty much have to make it from the beginning to end of the level before you can save. If you die, you will come back in the same room, which is good--but sometimes things happen so fast that you are dead again before you know what happened. For example, the very first level boss is a dragon on a platform in the middle of a pool of lava. There are platforms along the outer rim of the room, which are meant to be jumped on to avoid the dragon's attacks and to give you a shot at killing the beast. I entered the room with all 3 lives after playing through the level for about 45 minutes. All I needed to do was beat the stupid dragon and get out of there. Well, thanks to our friend Mr. Crappy Camera Angles, I kept falling in the lava and dying. I had to jump over to a platform, stop, think for a second, and carefully nudge the d-pad to line Rascal up for the next jump. By this time, the dragon lit my ass up with his fire breath. If you tried to go with any speed at all, you were in the lava and it was game over.

This game had the potential to be really fun, and a great game for the younger gamers as well as the platform fans. I really liked the different levels and the variation between them. The sad part is that most people will never make it far enough to see the higher levels because of the frustration. At no point in the game did I ever feel comfortable. I knew that it was only a matter of time before I would have to make a split-second decision or a precise jump, and that I would be unable to execute it.

As I said, the level design was really neat and the enemies were also really cool. They ranged from a rat to a rabid dog to a deranged blacksmith, and that was just the first couple of levels. Each of these personalities was humorous, and you almost hated to have to kill them. I think this is also one of the reasons I was so disappointed with the game. I really liked the idea, and thought it would be really fun for kids to see all the different characters. It is just a shame that it won't happen.

Graphics

Rascal sports some nice 3D graphics. All the characters have great personalities and are well-drawn. The various rooms and levels also look great. There is an occasional polygon breakup and slowdown, but for the most part the game ranks up near the top of the 3D platform genre with the graphics. Unfortunately, graphics do not make a game.

Bottom Line

To say I was disappointed with this game would be an understatement. Ever since I first starting hearing rumors about this game, I was looking forward to it. I don't think there are enough games geared for younger audiences. The terrible camera angles will keep everyone from kids to adults in a constant state of frustration. In my opinion, there is nothing worse than dying because your character does not go in the direction you think it should. If you don't want to take my word for it, rent it. I would like email from you to hear your thoughts!

The quest to bring Mario 64-quality visuals to the PlayStation may just end with Rascal, the most crisp, fluid, and solid 32-bit 30 environment yet. This could be the bridge over the 32- to 64-bit gap.

Time-Traveling Mayhem

While playing as Rascal, your objective is to race through different eras in seven 3D worlds to rescue your father from the tyrannical Time Overlord. The ability to move through time had yet to be implemented in this demo, but Rascal's already shaping up nicely as a PlayStation alternative to the upcoming N64 3D platformers, Conker's Quest and Banjo-Kazooie. The load time was the same as in Croc, with doors providing a short pause between rooms. This slows down the game's pace, but it's not particularly disturbing since you need a breather after each room's puzzle or challenge anyway.

Bubble, Bubble, Toil & Trouble

There's no doubt Rascal's following in the footsteps of Croc and Mario with silly, nonthreatening villains and G-rated violence. The gore crowd probably won't be drawn to Rascal's fire power, which features a decidedly tame-looking bubble gun. However, this game isn't ready to roll over and play kiddie just yet. You'll face creepy spiders, poison darts, searing lava, rolling logs, crazy Aztecs, and a winding chute--and that's just on the first level.

Work In Progress

Rascal's visuals are phenomenal: There's almost no polygonal breakup, and the soft textures and smooth objects are comparable to Super Mario 64. Graphics alone don't make a game great, however, and this early version of Rascal's still far from perfect: The loose controls made precision jumping impossible, and the in-game camera can't be manually controlled. Hopefully Psygnosis will fix these problems before the final release so the game's gorgeous graphics won't go to waste.

Upon first look, Rascal has gallons of potential. Its fascinating premise takes Rascal, a temporal scientist's kid, through six intriguing worlds that span three eras. A unique bubble gun, a bad-ass boss, and gorgeous visuals combine with shockingly short load times and challenging level design. The result? A game that had the potential to be the best 3D platformer of the year.

That is...until you pick up the controller and start to play. It's at this point that the awful camera control pops this game's potential like a shot from Rascal's bubble gun. Whenever you stop, the camera moves in so tightly that it blocks your view of the environment so you can't see enemies or obstacles...which converts Rascal into an exercise in frustration, not fun.

Despite all the eye candy and this game's enormous potential, only the most forgiving gamers will stick with this title after a brief play. This game is one slippery Rascal.

Graphics

Rascal's lush 3D graphics smash at the barrier between 32-and 64-bit visuals. With such short loading times, Rascal proves that the PlayStation can contend with the Nintendo 64.

Control

Where am I going? Where have I been? Where are the bad guys? These questions and more are lost in the myriad of frustrating camera problems that Rascal presents.

Sound

Catchy music accompanies the action in fine style, but monsters appear with the same sound as your bubble gun firing.

Fun Factor

Never before has a game dared such schizophrenia: You'll swoon at the gorgeous visuals, but vomit at the intense camera problems. If you're dying for a Mario-style game on the PlayStation, Rascal comes agonizingly close...but its control flaws bury it.

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