Back in the early 90s I so wanted a Mega Drive, a bunch of my friends had them (as I mentioned last week when I covered Sonic 2) and I really wanted one too. I’d had an Atari (a 2600 junior) that a much older cousin had given me that I played alot of Centipede on, and I’d had my older brothers NES (which was stolen by a different cousin who was living with us at one point, he sold it before my Dad could do anything about it but was asked to move out shortly afterwards) when he had bought himself a SNES, but I wanted something the other kids at school were playing on and that was a Mega Drive. Instead one Christmas I opened up a cardboard box that had been wrapped up to find a second hand Master System II. I knew we weren’t well off and I was perfectly happy with it.
I don’t remember when I got Rocky, but I do know that at the time I was a little obsessed with Sylvester Stallone’s boxing franchise, I’d got one of those little punch bags that were on a plastic plate you stood on and I’d watch Rocky IV most weekends when I’d go over to my Mums house. When I got Rocky on my Master System I was incredibly happy and I played it a ridiculous amount (although compared to how most kids play games now it was hardly anything!), I must have worn down the d-pad on my controller as when I got a copy of Marble Madness I couldn’t get the marble to go right.
With this weekly feature in mind I returned to Rocky via an emulator on one of my PSP’s and just could not get past Clubber Lang. There’s actually only three fights in the entire game, Apollo Creed, Clubber Lang and Ivan Drago and you partake in some training mini-games in between fights which apparently improve Rocky’s skills but I couldn’t really tell any difference regardless of how I performed in the training sessions, although if you don’t meet the qualifying score at the bottom of the screen you aren’t allowed to progress to the next fight. The fights themselves are mostly about hammering the punch button to jab your opponent, you do have a hook and uppercut available to you too and both are easy to pull off, although their usefulness often feels as random as blocking does. The fights are over quite quickly, its possible to go to 15 rounds but its not something I achieved when returning to Rocky nor remember getting to when I played it around twenty-five years ago.
It looks good though, especially for a game made in 1987 (making it 32 years old, I got my Master System very late on, although I discovered recently that SEGA supported the console upto the mid-90s in the UK and I know they supported it much, much longer than that in the likes of Brazil!) and for such a simple game its still kind of fun to play.