Saturday, 21 May 2011

Rocky Memphis & The Temple Of Ophuxoff (PC/Mac)


A pet hate of mine is the fact that many new indie games are falsely branded as being 'retro'.  Nine times out of ten the only reason they are labelled as such is because they have badly drawn low-resolution graphics, fake chip music and gameplay not even worthy of an Atari 2600 title - it is almost becoming a derogatory term in the scene.  So let me set the record straight by presenting to you Ovine's awesome Rocky Memphis - a true-school retro game that acts as a worthy tribute to the classics of old.

The first thing that any jaded 8-Bit fanboy will point out is that at first glance Rocky bares a striking resemblance to the super-frustrating 'death by 1000 invisible spike traps' Rick Dangerous, but don't let this put you off.  Rocky Memphis isn't a tedious memory test, it's far more enjoyable, accessible and - dare I say it - casual than the aforementioned famous Indy wannabe, with it's Super Meat Boy style infinite lives and instant pick-up and put-down gameplay resulting in it being perfect for short breaks or extended play alike.

With 600 rooms to explore and a total of 4000 treasures to collect, poor old Rocky has his work cut out for him, so the ability to save the game at any point is a godsend.  To date, the completion record on the online high score table is just under two hours, and with the average game time being around four there is hell of a lot of exploring and adventuring to be had in this budget-sized 6.5MB download.


Featuring some beautiful, low colour-count pixel art using a very familiar pastel palette, a SID soundtrack by C64 musician Abaddon, smile-raising Jet-Set-Willy style names for every room and even some novelty power-ups thrown in the mix, there really is little for retro gamers to dislike here.  You'll come across a huge variety of enemy critters to avoid and riches to grab on your epic journey through the temple, and for what is essentially a flick-screen adventure the flow between rooms is fluid and it's clear that a huge amount of love went into their design. In addition to this, the implementation of the in-game map is equally top-notch, with explored rooms that you've yet to clear of loot, teleports and exits links clearly shown to aid exploration (and it sure beats drawing it all out on squared paper like we used to in the old days).

Although clearly not a game for everyone, Rocky Memphis successfully captures the essence of the old-school whilst avoiding many of the annoying pit-falls of the past (spiked or otherwise) and adding modern functionality to meet the demands of today's game-playing public.  Played in full screen mode the 8-Bit atmosphere is so convincing that it's easy to completely forget that you're playing on a modern machine - and this, ladies and gentlemen, is the sign of a true retro game.


Download the game here (from the Rocky Memphis site).
5 out of 5