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Rock of Ages Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . Part Marble Madness, part Rampart and all Monty Python. Rock of Ages delivers a unique blend of real-time strategy and platforming, making this one of the most intriguing games of the year. Best of all, the game's many cinemas are worth the price of admission all by themselves! Rating: 78%
Rock of Ages
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  • Review Score:

  • B+
Rock of Ages has one of those baffling concepts that sounds too crazy to work. Yet here I am about to spend a thousand words explaining why everybody should rush to their systems and download this charming action/strategy game. Even with a short campaign and repetitive levels, Rock of Ages is one of the most refreshing Xbox Live Arcade games I've played all year.

Believe it or not, Rock of Ages is incredibly easy to describe. Think of it as a mixture of Marble Madness and Rampart, two of Atari's very best arcade games. You play a large boulder whose sole purpose is to speed down a hill and crash into your enemy's castle door. At the same time there will be a second boulder trying to do the same thing to your castle. The first player to successfully break down the stronghold wins.

Rock of Ages (XBLA)

It will take more than one boulder strike to break open the gates, so in the meantime players will want to buy and place obstacles to mess up their opponent's run. These objects include catapults, livestock, explosive barrels, wind machines and much more. They can also be upgraded as you play through the campaign, making them bigger, stronger and much more useful.

Of course, your opponent is also spending money placing obstacles to thwart your plans. This is what makes each round of Rock of Ages so exciting. Not only will you have to traverse long, winding levels, but you'll also have to put up with exploding barrels, wind machines and all of the other obstacles your opponent left for you. By the time you've launched the third boulder, the course will be littered with animals, forts and barrels in your way. It's safe to say that beating this game requires excellent platforming skills.

Rock of Ages (XBLA)

Rock of Ages plays out like a twisted history lesson as illustrated by Monty Python's Terry Gilliam. Each stage has you going rock-to-rock against a historically relevant character. You take the part of Sisyphus, who journeys through time and battles everybody from Leonidas to Vlad Tepes, Julius II to Leonardo da Vinci, Marie Antoinette to Napoleon, and many more. By the end of the game you will have defeated the black plague and conquered Zombie Aristotle.

Each level is accompanied by a humorous cinema, usually involving some sort of pop culture reference. I was excited to see Vlad Tepes' cinema play homage to Castlevania. You'll also see Jokes riffing on the Matrix Reloaded and Doom, among others. These brief cut-scenes are genuinely funny and one of the best reasons to see this game through to the end. Even though the actual gameplay may not be a laugh riot, the story built around Rock of Ages is one of the most entertaining I've experienced all year.
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