Rocket Ranger
By Cinemaware
Amiga 500

Published in Zzap #44

Rocket Ranger

The story so far... it's 1941 and Adolf Hitler is pushing the boundaries of his Third Reich, not just across Europe, but all over the world. His powerful forces run rough-shod over all opposition, but there is one man who may be able to put a stop to his land reclamation - the flier with a difference, the one they call... Rocket Ranger (um, that's you, of course).

Rocky owes his power of flight to a back-mounted rocket pack which runs on the mystery mineral Lunarium, a rare substance which yields enormous power. If handled correctly but staggeringly dangerous if used for nefarious [Whassat? - Ed] purposes.

The Nazis, a nefarious (Oy, Paul! Stop using that word!) bunch if ever there was one, are planning to subjugate the free peoples of the world by dropping Lunarium bombs on them with the effect of reducing the IQ of all males by 30%! Led by the evil Colonel Leermeister. SS scientists have somehow built a base on the moon where chain gangs of women mine the mineral, for a fleet of Lunarium-powered rockets to ferry it back to Earth.

Rocket Ranger

Working from your base at Fort Dix, USA, it's your job to prevent the Nazi Masterplan by finding the five Nazi rocket factories, putting together your own rocket from stolen parts, and then collecting enough Lunarium to get to the enemy moonbase and finally destroy it.

First on Leermeister's list of dirty deeds is the kidnap of one of America's leading brains, Professor Barnstorff, to increase the efficiency the efficiency of the Lunarium mining process. It's up to Rocket Ranger to rescue the professor and his voluptuous daughter from the escaping Zeppelin before he can be put to work, and before she can be made into a mindless zombie by the Nazis' brain washing machine (Just a light raise, please).

Using his radium gun, Rocky must shoot down the aerial torpedoes being fired at him from the airship's gondola and take out the gunner, aiming carefully so that he doesn't hit his hydrogen-filled balloon. Once on board you have to convince the prisoners that Rocky's on their side - via a multiple choice conversation system. If you fail, the professor forces Rocky out of the Zeppelin at gunpoint, and proceeds to steer the airship in the direction of Germany.

Rocket Ranger

With the professor lost, Rocky must consult a network of five secret agents stationed around the world. The spy of your choice can be moved to any country and ordered either to infiltrate and report on enemy activities, or if a base or factory is discovered, they can be told to organise a resistance movement.

Agents may call for your help when attacking an installation; in which case, you have to fill up with Lunarium fuel and jet off to foreign parts, radium pistol at the ready. Shoot enemy snipers in jungle temples, gun down a whole squadron of Luftwaffe fighters or just punch a guard's teeth out and you can grab parts for your ship and slow down the Nazi war machine.

With the rocket built and tanked up with Lunarium fuel, it's time to take off for the moon base. Here, Leermeister's army of female zombie slaves abseil down their space-ropes taking laser pot-shots at Rocky while he tries to plug them with his radium pistol. Time, as always, is of the essence, and any slack shooting results in our hero succumbing to the mindnumbing effect of the Lunarium, sealing his fate and that of the free world...

Rocket Ranger

Will he succeed? Tune in next week...


Previously, the only Cinemaware game to really catch my imagination was Defender Of The Crown, but Rocket Ranger knocks that game for six in every respect.

The graphics are quite excellent and the atmosphere of the old black and white serials is captured perfectly in the low-tech rocket man, the other characters and the scenery. Sound, too, is used well, comprising suitably melodramatic music and some remarkably high quality speech in the conversation sequence.

Rocket Ranger

All these would keep my interest level high on their own (I'm such a simple soul) but there is so much variety in the game that I could barely cope with real life at the same time. Beat-'em-ups, 3D shoot-'em-ups and adventuring all in the same package!

Incredible. I'm a drooling wreck. Save every penny you can get your hangs on and acquire Rocket Ranger. Burble...


I'm a sucker for all the old chapter plays like Flash Gordon and King Of The Rocket Man. I like little better than to sit in front of the telly on a cold winter's evening with a cup of tea and a biscuit watching Commander Cody narrowly escaping from doom for the third week running.

Rocket Ranger

Now I can take part in the adventures myself thanks to Mirrorsoft. I thin it's safe enough to say that Rocket Ranger is by far the best Cinemaware release to date.

The graphics and sound are incredibly atmospheric, with lifelike characters, colourful backdrops and stunning sampled speech.

I could easily lose myself in a game for hours on end, that is if I didn't have to write this review. I know, stuff the review, I'm off to play the game...


Rocket Ranger

Being a bit of a 30s serial buff I've been looking forward to this since it was previewed many moons ago, and I'm happy to say that I'm not at all disappointed.

Presentation throughout is supremely polished, with some excellent film-style graphic pieces, probably the best example of which is the shadow of Rocket Ranger falling on the map a progress between countries is plotted - really smart, and it all adds up to create a remarkable level of atmosphere!

I was initially impressed with the game's use of sound just on the basis of the 'incidental music' but when I eventually got into the conversation with the professor and his daughter I was surprised to find the characters speaking to me!

Rocket Ranger

And I don't mean speech bubbles or even crackling samples or stilted robo-speech, but perfectly spoken words which make you feel you could almost be there.

The equally classy presentation of the action sequences make them all very playable and the variety throughout means you'll be playing for a long time to come.

If you can spare the cash you've got to try out what must be the best Cinemaware game to date!


Rocket Ranger

Presentation 97%
Superb cinematic opening sequences and loads of beautifully executed set pieces add to the game enormously.

Graphics 93%
Highly polished and tremendously varied characters and scenery.

Sound 92%
Loads of 'incidental music' and superb use of speech.

Rocket Ranger

Hookability 92%
Lots of variety in gameplay and a brilliant atmosphere have you hooked from the very start.

Lastability 94%
A whole Amigaful of action to keep you happy for ages.

Overall 94%
Without doubt - and we'll say it again - the best Cinemaware game yet.