Release Date: July 1987
I love Rocky, it’s one of my favorite movie franchises. So seeing this coming up on my list, I was excited. Only to be let down. It’s not an awful game, but it isn’t any good. You are Rocky and you need to go through your fights from Rocky II through Rocky IV. I mean, unless you lose to Apollo in your first fight, then I guess it’s I – IV. Note, this game came out before Rocky V. You start each fight with a training stage. The first two want you to press the button as quickly as possible to qualify. Qualifying means you get to be at normal power. Not qualifying means you’re weaker than you should be. It’s also possible to over qualify (if you have a turbo controller that works fast) to get a boost to your stats.
Apollo is your first fight and you learn the ropes against him. You block with the button 1 and either up or down. You duck with button 1 on its own. You punch with button 2. You can throw a jab, a hook, a straight, or an uppercut. Your distance and direction on the d-pad will dictate your punch. The jab is your main weapon, which you will throw three times before getting a shot at a hook or uppercut. You have to be up against your opponent for an uppercut. You have to press down on the d-pad for a body punch. You can be anywhere for a straight. You can beat Apollo pretty easily if you just take control of the fight and punch him before he punches you.
Before you fight Clubber Lang, you have to hit the speed bag. If you can average seven strikes a second over a minute, you will be powered up. I have no clue how this can be achieved without a turbo controller, but I’m sure someone can do it. Clubber will come in and beat you to death the first time you fight him. Once you figure out you can get three jabs in, then he will get three jabs in, and then you duck and repeat, you can whittle his stamina away over several rounds. Then all it takes is a lucky power punch to take him down and out.
Training for Drago takes more attention than a turbo controller. Mickey puts up the mitts and you have to punch them using the d-pad to aim. This was the only training I could over qualify for. Fat lot of good that did. Drago can just throw power punches whenever he wants, so you will get knocked out quickly. Then you’ll be like, wtf?! You’ll try again, you might take some of his stamina down, but he’ll punch you many times in the head again. Then you’ll go down for good. No Rocky V because this time Rocky dies of head trauma.
Blocking is very hit or miss. You can be pressing block and a direction and Rocky will just stand there waiting to take an unprotected punch to anywhere. I guess it’s faithful to the movie in that regard. I could also only get duck to work properly during the Clubber Lang fight, where I HAD to duck in order to survive.
I like the graphics, I think the pixel art is pretty decent.
The music isn’t all that great and the sounds of punching aren’t very satisfying.
Punches don’t aren’t very responsive and blocking sure isn’t responsive.
I mean, there are only three opponents. It goes from normal to hard to impossible.
Fun Factor: 1.5
It’s alright, I guess. I want a better boxing game, of course.
Overall Grade: 1.6
Rocky gets a C-. It’s not anything I can really recommend. Check it out if you like Rocky, but don’t expect anything good.