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Rad Rodgers: World One Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . Despite having some serious problems with the shallow gameplay and repetitive voice acting, I found that I largely enjoyed Rad Rodgers: World One. The action is fast-paced, the graphics are gorgeous and there's a lot of potential with the goofy premise. This is a solid action game that is undermined by its slow drip distribution method, holding back what seems to be a real winner for 3D Realms. Rating: 64%
Rad Rodgers: World One
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Rad Rodgers: World One Rad Rodgers: World One Rad Rodgers: World One Rad Rodgers: World One
  • Review Score:

  • B-
Lately, we've seen a lot of modern games attempt to revive the good old days of the 8- and 16-bit eras. From Axiom Verge taking on Metroid to Shovel Knight mimicking Mega Man to the Castlevania inspiration we saw in Slain, a lot of today's indie games take great pride in capturing both the spirit and look from those old titles. But not Rad Rodgers: World One, the brand new game from 3D Realms. This is an action-packed platformer that wants to hang on to the 1990s nostalgia while simultaneously creating the kind of visually rich spectacle you won't be able to play on the Super NES. Too bad the execution never quite lives up to the promise.

You play Ricardo Rodriguez. No, not that Ricardo Rodriguez. I'm talking about a kid of the 1990s who liked to stay up late playing his old school game consoles. One night, as he attempted to go to sleep, his bedroom TV magically sprang to life, sucking the youngster into the video game dimension. It was here that our hero was introduced to Dusty, a husky-voiced, bad tempered, crude-joking game console with a plan.


These two unlikely friends set off on a quest to kill the Elder Tree, who has recently turned all of the forest's creatures against Dusty. Ricardo, who is now going by Rad Rodgers, is tasked with finding the four pieces of the crest and killing everything that gets in the way. It all results in a fairly straight-forward action platformer where we run around large levels looking for hidden items and shooting forest creatures. Fans of games like Earthworm Jim and Turrican will feel right at home with this newest 3D Realms release.

As it turns out, that's both a good and bad thing. The action is fast and the gameplay is solid, but there's nothing in Rad Rodgers that feels especially fresh or original. It rehashes a lot of old school concepts with a brand new paint job, but never actually does anything that unique with the idea. We're left with a perfectly competent 2D shooter that gets the basics right, all while never being that memorable.

That's not to say the game doesn't come with a few tricks up its sleeve. As Rad Rodgers, you'll find a lot of secret areas scattered throughout the massive stages. He'll also run into a number of glitchy areas that will require Dusty to float around the code and make subtle changes. This is a pretty cool idea, though one we've seen in a number of other recent games.

Rad Rodgers: World One (Steam)Click For the Full Picture Archive

The big joke here is that Dusty is a pop-culture literate smartass with a penchant for lewd humor and four letter words. If you listen closely, you can almost hear the developers making the conscious decision that people will love Dusty's politically incorrect jokes so much that they'll forgive an action game where you fight the same enemies and do the same missions in every stage.

Look, I'll be the first to admit that Dusty's jokes are occasionally funny and I like the idea of a foul-mouthed curmudgeon fighting alongside Rad. But too many of the jokes are just repurposed pop-culture references and poorly conceived insults. An even bigger problem is that you'll hear the same Dirty Dancing and Ghostbusters jokes multiple times in every level. It's bad enough that those joke aren't that funny to begin with, but the added repetition made me start to hate Dusty.

The repeating dialog is also indicative of the rest of the game. Because this is only the first world of what could conceivably become an on-going series, we're left with what feels like an incredibly short experience with a lot of unnecessary filler. The levels themselves are nice and long, usually clocking in at around 20 to 30 minutes to complete. But because we're always fighting the same villains in the same forest with the same objectives, there's a real feeling of sameness that permeates through the entire quest. The developers do make an attempt to give each of the seven stages a slightly different look and feel, but I couldn't shake the feeling that I was stuck in a single setting for no good reason.

Rad Rodgers: World One (Steam)Click For the Full Picture Archive

I'm also going to take issue with the aggressive spike in difficulty at the very end. While I had almost no trouble shooting my way through the first six stages, the final boss proved to be another story. It seemingly disregards everything you've learned up to that point and opts instead for cheap hits in a limited arena. And the fact that the items don't respawn only makes the second, third and fourth attempts that much more frustrating. It's a massive speed bump right at the end of an otherwise solid adventure.

The good news is that the graphics are fantastic, giving us gorgeous levels to explore and high-powered weapons to play around with. It's no exaggeration to say that the visuals are by far the best thing about Rad Rodgers, which makes the limited scope that much more disappointing. Given how good everything looks, I wish I could see more than the forest world. I know this is the first of several planned installments, but it would have been nice to see more variety and less filler.

Despite having some serious problems with the shallow gameplay and repetitive voice acting, I found that I largely enjoyed Rad Rodgers: World One. The action is fast-paced, the graphics are gorgeous and there's a lot of potential with the goofy premise. This is a solid action game that is undermined by its slow drip distribution method, holding back what seems to be a real winner for 3D Realms.
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