Ah yes, another day another game that emulates the games of the 1990’s. Now don’t take that the wrong way, as a gamer that was moulded by the platformers from that time frame, it’s almost as if Rad Rodgers was made for my generation. Although the game has been available for PC, PlayStation 4, and the Xbox One for a while, it was only a matter of time for the side-scrolling game to complete the rounds and come to the Nintendo Switch.
Instead of simply bringing the same game to the platform, Slipgate Studios have enhanced the base game and released Rad Rodgers: Radical Edition. This isn’t only a new version for the Switch, but also a free update for the aforementioned platforms as well. So, grab some HI-C Ecto Cooler and Giggles Cookies and get ready for a nostalgia trip!
I think it is safe to say we can all see ourselves in young Rad from when we were younger. You get absorbed into a totally awesome game and the last thing you want to do is have to hit that closest save point so that you can go brush your teeth and go to bed. Now, let’s not discredit the importance of keeping up on your dental hygiene, you gotta keep those pearly whites nice and shiny! You put on your favourite Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles PJs and, as you lay in bed, all you can think about how much you would rather be playing your game instead of thinking about how much you are not looking forward to the Algebra test tomorrow! Well for our protagonist, this is where his night takes an awkward turn.
After his mom leaves the room, Rad is awoken from his slumber by the flicker of the TV and the blippity bloops of his gaming console turning on. This is followed by him getting sucked into the TV, like a PG version of Wes Cravens “Shocker”, into a world where his video game console, aptly named “Dusty” (voiced by Jon St. John, so curse words and adult humour galore), is now alive! Between the two of them, they must set out on an adventure to restore the Elder Tree as the Guardian of the Land.
Rad Rodgers: Radical Edition is a side-scrolling action platformer in which you use heavy firepower to mow down enemies while searching each of the 9 main levels for the way out. Their adventure will take you through a forested region, among others, full of enemies as well as different environmental hazards. The game is rather short as gamers can expect to complete the main story in around 4-5 hours if they choose to just blast their way through without looking to find all the collectables.
As you progress through your adventure, you can decide to change characters from a nice selection of protagonists to choose from. While some folks may want to stick to playing as Rad, I get the distinct feeling that more people will decide to play as the iconic Duke Nukem….yes THAT Duke Nukem! There are multiple characters that you can choose from, as well as your friend if you decide to sit down for some of that classic couch co-op! This was one of the major new features within this ‘Radical’ edition.
As I had mentioned earlier, you can rush through the game quickly but completionists will have a run for their money when trying to get 100% completion in each level! Each level differs as you venture through various regions, with each one containing multiple hidden areas as well as fun collectables in every world to seek out. These hidden areas are very well done like the games from the 90s. The hidden areas remind me a lot of how old school games used to present these, such as making you take a leap of faith, looking behind waterfalls, behind fake walls, or by traversing in the opposite direction.
If you’re not using a guide, which I strongly recommend, then finding all of the secrets the game has to offer will surely take you a long time. Not only will you find collectables, but you’ll also find extra lives, so it is imperative to try and seek these hidden areas out. This will also boost the score you get at the completion of the level. You can upload that score to an online leaderboard in order to show everyone how good you are and how much they suck at it!
Now, one thing I did have an issue with was the overall platforming. Okay, the platforming is fine for the most part, but there were some parts in the game that was just god awful! If you didn’t execute the jump perfectly, you could fall a large distance – which can be pretty frustrating. Another major issue I had was that whenever I tried to play the couch co-op with my wife, her character would constantly turn invisible! She could still receive damage from enemies, but we could not tell where she was on the screen half the time. I hope that this is something that the studio patches quickly as it can really kill the experience for players that want to play with siblings or friends.
As the game has been out for a while on other consoles, Check out our review of the game on PS4 from last here HERE if you wish to know more about the core mechanics.
Rad Rodgers: Radical Edition sets out to be a product that us 90s kids can look at in nostalgic joy. In some ways, they really capture that with the Earthworm Jim type gameplay with more adult humour (you can turn off blood and swearing in the menu!). Unfortunately, they also captured some of the more annoying parts of those games as well. I think the game has good ideas, but I did not feel like it was executed well enough for modern gamers wanting a nostalgic trip or those looking for a solid platformer.
Hopefully, Slipgate Studios will resolve the issues I’ve had with co-op and maybe go over the game with another coat or two of polish so that people can more fondly remember the things they loved from gaming in the golden era of the 1990s.