Game review: Rad Rodgers – return of the ’90s action PC side-scroller
An enticing and addictive nod to a childhood favourite genre with gorgeous graphics, two-stick mechanics, lots of running and jumping, and cheeky humour
There was a period in the mid-1990s when aggressive, foul-mouthed characters dominated side-scrolling video games. They were very cartoony, often over-the-top violent and nearly always anthropomorphic animals: Earthworm Jim, Jazz Jackrabbit, Conker and Gex, to name but a few.
The era is almost perfectly recreated in the PC game Rad Rodgers, a throwback to those earlier games due to graphics that walk the line between retro and modern, to the lead character’s snot-nosed punk attitude. And while the gameplay itself never quite matches up, that’s probably saying a lot about the drawbacks of nostalgia and how far gaming has come since.
If you played any of those earlier titles, the concept of Rad Rodgers may sound almost simplistic: you’re a little spikey-haired dude who has to save the world or something, armed with a ridiculously large gun and your trusted sarcastic sidekick. Then there’s the two-stick mechanics, lots of running and jumping, and the occasional stab at cheeky humour.
You’ve seen it all before, but that isn’t to say that you won’t like Rad Rodgers. The graphics are gorgeous, a blend of throwback stylings matched with deeply detailed environments. The soundtrack kicks butt, a rave-like endless loop that will keep you pumped up. The levels are all clearly creative and distinct, and the character surprisingly well-rounded.
And then there’s the retro, ridiculous gameplay, which involves you wiping out countless enemies using short melee attacks and long-range weapons. The latter will particularly appeal to shoulder-to-shoulder buddy gamers, a set of upgrade-friendly weapons that keeps the game constantly enticing and addictive.
Rad Rodgers wears its inspirations on its sleeve – even the lead character looks like a pint-sized version of Duke Nukem, which isn’t surprising considering it was partially produced by the Duke Nukem series’ co-creator, 3D Realms.
But blatant copying isn’t always a bad thing, and while Interceptor Entertainment could have picked a better sub-sub-genre to borrow from, we still had a hell of a good time playing Rad Rogers.