Rocket Knight Adventures: Re-Sparked Review (Switch eShop)

Rocket Knight Adventures: A Gem Overlooked by Many

‘Underrated’ is a term too often applied recklessly, but for Rocket Knight Adventures, a series that struggled to reach global stardom despite Konami’s three-pronged stab, it’s appropriate. Its initial entry resides in the upper echelons of everything 16-bit and is one of the finest titles on the Mega Drive. Yet, Sparkster, despite hitting all the right notes for an anthropomorphised gaming hero of the ’90s, inexplicably underperformed at market.

The Re-Sparked collection features Mega Drive entries Rocket Knight Adventures (1993) and Sparkster: Rocket Knight Adventures 2 (1994), as well as Sparkster for the Super Nintendo (1994). Additionally, there are a wealth of options and bonus features on board in the form of art museums, music players, boss rush modes, CRT filters, wallpapers, rewind features, and save states.

The Stellar Debut of Rocket Knight Adventures

Emerging from Konami’s most celebrated development period, Rocket Knight Adventures — the series debut — is godly. Everything in its assembly, from aesthetic to mechanics to its dazzling stage variety and incredible music score, hits exactly right. It’s unquestionably the best of the three, and remains a salient example of how to hone an action-game experience with boundless invention and zero fluff.

Set in a fantasy kingdom that fuses traditional castles, knights, and princesses with giant steampunk machinery and smog-spewing, oil-caked towns, intrepid Sparkster is tasked with recovering a fair maiden from the clutches of Axel Gear — his knight nemesis — and the pig warrior horde known as the Devontidos. It’s a journey that will take him across land and sea, through giant airships and right into space; a movie-quality adventure that delivers with aplomb.

Sparkster: The Follow-Up

While executed to nigh-on perfection and stylistically bold, Michiru Yamane’s musical composition ices this 16-bit cupcake with a superb range of stirring and infectiously memorable tracks. Genius as she was and is, she took Konami’s specifications and made it epic across the board. Special mention needs to be paid to the gloriously arresting chainsaw grind she reserved for the game’s last stretch: a piece so unremittingly filthy it raises the stakes beyond all expectation.


Rocket Knight Adventures is a series comprising two fine games and one stellar, timeless piece of work. While the sequels are above average for ’90s platform gaming, it’s the series debut that really informs this review’s score. Rocket Knight Adventures is a title that sits comfortably alongside Gunstar Heroes in the pantheon of exceptional games overlooked in their heyday. It does everything an arcade action adventure needs to, and more, outdoing a vast number of actual arcade games in the process. Its constantly evolving stages, incredible variety of scenarios, and driving cinematic soundtrack make it one of the best of its kind. If that’s not the very definition of underrated, we don’t know what is.