Rocketmen: Axis of Evil Review (Xbox360)

Itís not often I download Arcade games. They have to stand out and be worth the couple of hundred points charged by companies. To this date therefore Iíve purchased Worms and that crazy Golf game. Both of these in my eyes were worth the money. Then you get games like Rocketman: Axis of Evil which will set you back 800 Points or £6.80 in foreign money. A fair old bit of pocket money for what is essentially tat.

Created by the team at Wizkids, it takes on the world of Flash Gordon, who is the King of the Rocketmen and is based on the tabletop Ďconstructibleí game which allows you to evolve your character during play and construct parts associated with them. Despite the idea being fairly good, the transition to Xbox Live Arcade has been poor. Itís essentially a twin-stick shooter affair with a few RPG elements thrown into the mix.

The story then in short (I donít want to bore you!). Earth is being invaded by its neighbours in the solar-system and Mars is due to make the first strike. The heroes Nick, Sion, Alec and Mink are all freedom fighters for the Alliance of Free Planets and there quest is to strike back against the Legion of Terra that are sending wave-after-wave of bloodthirsty fighters.

It starts off promising by allowing you to customise your character. You can give them a name and change the uniform they wear, pretty much bog-standard stuff. You can opt for the male or female route if a big pair of boobies excites you. This is where the supposed RPG element begins and pretty much stops before it gets started. The options on offer are slim, but then this is all about the quality of the game itself, right? Well not exactly...

Childs play. The words you could use to reflect the games simplicity. Move with the left stick. Shoot with the right stick in the direction you want. Give the triggers a squeeze and you can change from your primary weapon to a secondary one. Handy when youíre faced by a truck-load of enemies and you want to blast them out with one quick missile!

If you want to compare it to a game, then Super Smash TV is the closest it comes, but pretty damn far in terms of quality. You see that game is far superior and older! The story is told in comic-strip style with some dodgy voice-acting making it sound like something from Blackadder. A cel-shaded looks ties in with the feel of the card series but also gives it a retro-air but on a scale that wonít leave a lasting impression.

The game camera is probably one of the major flaws with the game. It guides you to move forwards and allows you to choose directions at periods but the scrolling is poor and at times frustrating as bonus items can become trapped by the camera and thus not allowing you to collect it, despite being able to see it. The same goes for the many enemies that follow off-camera, firing at you but you not being able to see them until itís too late and your dead.

Talking about dying, youíll be doing a lot of it. The piles of enemies that attack you can make for a frustrating experience. Unless youíre quick off the mark, youíll be dead in seconds when the larger groups attack. From time to time youíll be asked to bash the A button to activate bonus tasks, rescue prisoners or deactivate cluster mines that litter some of the levels. After the first level, let alone the second you feel like youíve seen everything on offer and it tires very quickly.

At the end of the levels you can use the XP youíve collected to enhance your character or upgrade weapons. The bosses are perhaps the strong-point within the game, offering a spectacle of enemies and explosions. The motivation though to continue playing the game despite the upgrades is minimal purely because there is nothing exciting on offer apart from a fairly dull story-line and the same old enemies firing. After dying for the 100th time, patience wears thin. Luckily you have an unlimited amount of lives on offer!

One other thing to mention is the Co-op mode where you and three mates can work through the game, fighting to collect as many bonus points as possible. You can even go one further and play with some randomers on Xbox Live.

Sadly though Rocketman: Axis Of Evil is a dull shooter which tried to be an RPG and barely follows the conventions of the original tabletop game. The potential was there to create a classic, but itís fallen flat on its backside with a frustrating and lifeless Live Arcade title that certainly isnít worth your pocket money.

Top Game Moment: Well not many, possibly destroying the first boss and seeing a rare sparkle of charm in what is a dull title.

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