Review by Psycho Penguin

"Think Zelda without any fun in it, and you have this game in a nutshell"

Pocky and Rocky 2 is a below average adventure game in the reins of Zelda series, but with stages instead of an open land to explore. Instead of using swords and other goodies, the hero instead uses a staff and playing cards to kill the enemies!!! I did not really see the point of this, for a couple of reasons. The main reason I did not see any point to this was the fact I was confused by what kind of group this game was supposed to be catering to. Were little kids supposed to like all the kiddy aspects of the game? Or were more advanced players supposed to like the Zelda-type game play that came along with it?

It turned out to cater to neither of the groups, because little kids would probably find the game too challenging, while more advanced players would probably find the game to be too boring. I did not really enjoy playing this game much, at all, because I just found it to be extremely boring and not very fun to play through, at all. It did have its good points, somewhat. The game was fairly innovative and it did do some Zelda-style things fairly well. However, this game pretty much made the original game (which was awesome) look like crap because this game really did nothing to improve over the original, in fact it kind of made it worse!

I really wanted to enjoy this game because it seemed to employ some really unique aspects, and also I had enjoyed the original Pocky and Rocky game so much. However, I just could not commit myself to really liking this game. I do not know why that is, either. I thought I was going to love playing this game, as it had a lot of things going for it. In the end, however, I just really did not find much to like about this game. That is simply the sad truth, because I felt this game was a little too boring for the average player to really enjoy.

The story line to the game is pretty original, yet not that deep. Basically, there was a harvest festival in the village, and the princess was there. Then the sky turned dark and there was an evil force in the sky. The evil force then kidnapped the princess. It is your job to save her! I felt the story line did the same old thing as a lot of other story lines out around the time, oh wow you have to save the princess again! At least it brought the festival aspect into play, I guess that made the story line a little more original.

The graphics were pretty good, especially for a fairly old Super Nintendo game. There were some decent backgrounds, and the enemies were deadly looking but sometimes looked like good guys :) There is also some graphical breakup in this game as well. I liked the enemy designs in the game, although they were not exactly the greatest enemy designs in the game. I liked the variety of them, but like I have already mentioned, some of the bad guys actually looked like bad guys. I never really understood this, and I did not like this, at all.

The character designs in the game are pretty solid, although not perfect. I liked how there was a variety of character designs in the game, and the main character, with his hat and staff, definitely looked solid. The raccoon looked okay, as well, but not perfect. The backgrounds in the game were nicely designed, and probably the best part of this game. I liked the design of them, as they were very well designed, as well as being very colorful. The problems I had with the graphics are simple: some of the enemies look like good guys, and there is some slowdown present. Otherwise, I was impressed by the graphics in this game.

The music in this game is somewhat decent but could have been far better. I liked some of the themes in this game but overall I felt that some of them could have been improved. For instance, I really liked the music featured in the first stage, as it brought the player into the game pretty nicely and effectively. However, I feel that the music went downhill from there. Especially in some of the later stages in the game, where the music featured in the stages just do not fit the feeling of those stages like I would have liked to hear, or expected to hear.

The sound effects in this game are clear and nearly perfect, but sometimes the voices are muffled, and you don't know what the guy just said. That is about the only bad thing I can really say about the sound effects of the game, as the rest of them are done pretty nicely. I definitely liked the variety of sound effects in the game, like the sound that plays when you whack a door a few million times with your staff, but maybe the game could have benefitted from the usage of even more sound effects. Regardless, I was still impressed by the variety of sound effects in this game.

The control in this game is solid. You have a wide variety of weapons at your disposal, each one available at the click of a button. Using magic to change into tour partner is easy as well. Great control in an otherwise dismal game. I felt it was simple enough to do everything in this game, ranging from moving your characters around, to pulling off the magic attacks (although you did have to hold the buttons down pretty hard and move them pretty fast), so overall I was impressed by the control in this game, and at least the game was not hampered any more than it already was, by bad control.

This game is just like Zelda in mostly any imaginable way, besides the fact that this game has stages. The best part in this game is collecting different partners, each with different abilties. For instance, let's say you wanted to move a boulder that is blocking a treasure chest. The only way to do this is to get the guy strong enough to pick up the rock. You get him by finding a icon that shows a picture of the partner. Wait until it shows the face of the partner you want and voila! Now you can move the boulder! That is about the only fun to be had in an otherwise boring game.

The bosses are way too difficult as well, too! I mean, there was a nice variety of them, but most of them took a ton of hits in order to defeat. Let's take a look at the first boss in the game, for instance. He seems simple enough, as all he really does is jump up in the air and land in a certain area, which can easily be seen by looking for his shadow as he lands. However, he takes like 100 hits to defeat. So, you will basically be chucking cards at him for something like ten minutes while praying that he will not kill you. It gets very frustrating after a while.

Like I mentioned before, there is one part of this game I did not really like at all. The fact that Natsume decided to make this game in the format of stages instead of an all out open free world really bugged me, because the stages really limited the freedom of the player. You started off in this practice stage, which was optional, of course. I do reccomend it for first time players of the game, however. After this, you go to this weird looking map which scrolled from left to right for some odd reason. You got to do a stage in each of these stops, although there was nothing on the world map that really distingushed the stage from one another.

Like I have already mentioned, this game is a lot like Zelda: Link to a Past in terms of basic game play. You were moving around with the same kind of camera, which was placed above the player. You killed enemies and gained coins and other stuff, you could use the coins to purchase new items from the houses. My favorite item to purchase was the rabbit ears, as it allowed you one free hit before the rabbit ears fall off, although you could buy keys which enabled you to open some of the locked treasure chests scattered throughout the stages. The choice of weapons in the game were indeed very odd, as your basic weapons were none other than a staff and a deck of playing card. That just screams for a Nintendo logic section.

There is not that much replay value in this game, although you may want to complete this game once. However, once you complete the game for the first time you may not want to play it any more. There is a very limited amount of secrets featured in the game, and that, combined with the fact that the game is not that fun, will lead many to believe that the game does not have any replay value whatsoever. This is true, for the most part, because I still own this game and have only played it once in the past year, to make sure I could review it fairly I played it last night. But that's it, otherwise I will probably never play this game again. It's sad too, because this game could have been so much fun to play.

The challenge level of this game is not as high as I expected, although this game is somewhat of a challenge. The bosses are the most challenging aspect to this game, as I already mentioned earlier. The stages themselves are not that tough, as I completed most of them fairly easy. The game does not really start getting tough until the fifth stage or so. The bosses are definitely the most challenging part of the game, as a majority of them take a ton of hits from either your staff or playing cards in order to defeat. Then they start going crazy and start doing all these unblockable moves, it really does get quite frustrating and challenging after a while.

Besides the gaining of different partners, there is not much fun to be had in Pocky and Rocky 2. Everything in here was done before by a far superior game (Zelda: Link to A Past), so that makes it a rental, at best. Heck, I do not even think you can even rent Super Nintendo games any more, sadly. Therefore, I do not think you will have an opportunity to play this game unless you have a stupid friend who just happened to have this game (the same trap I fell into), or download the ROM or something. Because I do not think this game is worth purchasing, even if you happened to enjoy this game. Because I enjoyed the first one a lot, and found the sequel to be extremely tedious and flat out boring. It is a shame too, because I really wanted to (and expected to) like this game, but everything just came up a little bit short.

Good Points
-The story line at least has some original aspects to it.
-The partner changing system was a fairly unique and well thought out idea.
-The graphics in the game are highly above average.
-I really liked the sound effects featured in the game.
-The game definitely featured solid control.

Not So Good Points
-The story line, basically, was the same old ''save the princess'' crap seen in a lot of other games.
-The music in the game, some of it was not really that good.
-The game play was actually pretty boring and tedious.
-The damn bosses were way too challenging.

I Run Down the Ratings... DaLadiesMan Style!
Story Line - 5.1/10
Graphics - 8.2/10
Music - 6.1/10
Sound Effects - 8.4/10
Control - 7.8/10
Game Play - 5.1/10
Replay Value - Average
Challenge - Above Average (Mike Sanders)
Is this game worth a purchase? - Not really.
Overall - 5.2/10

The Last Line
I enjoyed the original Pocky and Rocky a lot, so i expected to enjoy the sequel a lot, as well. However, I just could not get into this game, at all. I felt that the game was rather boring, as all you really did was move around killing enemies with your staff (!) of all things, and that got boring after a while. The partner changing system was definitely cool and innovative, and I especially liked how you could buy some items from the stores and use them. That is not enough to save this mediocre game, however.

And that's a Ladies Man guarantee!


Reviewer's Score: 5/10 | Originally Posted: 12/15/00, Updated 07/16/01


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