Originally a popular computer game from Cinema-ware, Rocket Ranger is now available for Nintendo fans from Kemco-Seika. A few changes have been made in the Nintendo version, however - most notably in the plot of the game.
The computer version was a joyously campy story that captured the feel of the old Flash Gordon and Republic movie serials. You played a dashing young scientist during World War II. But in this story, the Nazis won the war. To defeat the Nazis and change history, a group of scientists traveled back in time from the 21 st century and gave you a deadly ray gun and a rocket suit. Thus you became Rocket Ranger, defender of the free world.
But in the Nintendo version, gone are the time travelers, the Nazis, and World War II. The story is now set in the present and the enemy is an invading army of aliens, the Leutonians.
Despite the rewritten plot, the game play is practically identical. You still begin with a map of the world, and by planting agents in various countries, you try to discover alien bases and unveil the Leutonians' secret plans.
When an agent discovers an alien base, you load your rocket pack with Lunarium fuel and fly off to battle. These forays lead to some of the game's few action sequences as you fight Leutonian guards or squadrons of Leutonian bombers. Most of the time, however, the game consists of reading screens of text or plotting strategy in the map room.
Much of the original game's success was due to its storyline and wonderfully far-fetched atmosphere. In terms of game play, though, there wasn't much to rave about - and this is equally true of the new version. The action sequences are stiff and limited, and the Nintendo version doesn't duplicate the artwork that made up for these deficiencies in the computer version. Also, the drastic changes in the storyline create yet another alien invaders plot.
The result is a version of Rocket Ranger which lacks some of the qualities that made it a success in the first place.