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  #1  
Old 05-30-2011, 12:28 PM
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Default Rockin' the Cat's Paw - Let's Play Rockin' Kats!



It wasn't very hard for Rockin' Kats to worm its way into my heart back in 1991. For one thing it had cartoon animals, and if there's a sure fire way to make a kid who grew up during the late 80s and 90s love something, cartoon animals were always a great start.

Yes, Rockin' Kats (Or New York Nyankees as it's know in Japan) is a mascot platformer, something that the NES saw no shortage of at any point in its life cycle. However, there are a few traits that have made it stand out as a cult classic among the myriad of would be Sonics and Marios. Firstly, there's the swinging and grappling mechanics, but I'll get into detail about those in a bit. Second, it was developed by Atlus in a time when they did more than just RPGs for their specific niche. Not to say it wasn't a unique project for them, the only other platformer I know of them developing* being the Widget games for NES and SNES, and the less said about those the better. Finally, while main character Willy is certainly given his fair share of 90s style attitude, the game does a lot more with its' themes instead of just trying to out smug the competition. The art style and TV channel motif are both send ups to the golden era of animation, with a dash of noir and gangster styling to give the game some added color.

*Bonk's Adventure was a joint production with Red Entertainment, and I'm not sure who had the most say during development.

Alright, enough jibber jabber. Let's play some Rockin' Kats!



A boring but obligatory title screen.



Rockin' Kats lets you choose all but the last level to play. In future updates, I'll let you guys decide where we'll head next, but for purposes of showing off the basic mechanics, we're going to be boring and head to the first level in just a bit.

The level select screen is set up to look like a TV, with each level representing the next episode in the on going saga that is Rockin' Kats. You also have a store with various, permanent power ups, as well as a game show channel to win some extra loot to spend at the store. Right now we have no money, but don't worry; we'll be buying that store out come next update. For now, let's head to level 1: The Big Apple.



So the first screen of the Big Apple is... this dull, gray back drop. Probably not the most exciting way to start a game, but this area is nice and empty to let you experiment with Willy's abilities.

Oh yeah, the cat's name is Willy by the way, and he is trying to find his girlfriend Jill in each level, who is seen being kidnapped in each level's title card by the canine gangster Mugsy. It's a very involved plot, you see.



Willy's weapon of choice is a cartoon-style boxing glove gun. It's got several nice abilities, one of which being able to fire in eight directions. If he hits a solid object from any direction, he goes flying off in that direction, attacking enemies and getting across gaps or getting extra height from the area. There are several obstacle course style areas where this ability is put to good use.

Holding the attack button let's Willy grab objects that fall down so he can throw them back at enemies. This is perhaps the number one ability that's used against mini bosses.

But the star ability...



Grabbing certain ledges allows Willy to swing like crazy until the player presses the jump button, making him pirouette through the air and land with a little flourish. The timing is a little rough, but the physics are never random and it is (mostly) pretty easy to fly in the direction you want to go.



Attacking mid swing cancels the flying out and makes Willy plummet back to the ground. This is an extremely useful ability, especially when required to go at weird angles, like getting this money bag pick up here. It's similar to the air brake trick in the 2010 Rocket Knight.
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  #2  
Old 05-30-2011, 12:45 PM
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That pretty much explains every ability in the game, and all of them except maybe repelling is taught on the first two screens of the level. Aside from the flower pot throwing poodles, there's two enemies you have to worry about -

The purple trench coat mobs only do a half heart of damage and only take one hit from the standard gun. They're your standard Goomba style filler monster, with one added caviat – They grab your back and make Willy move at a snail's pace until he shakes them off by waggling the cross pad. They are meant to be the companion piece to the machine gun dogs. They take 3 hits and shoot slow moving, easily to dodge bullets – provided you don't have a purple mob hugging your backside.



Once you've made it through the first area, your efforts are awarded with an extra man – and your first mini boss fight.




I'm not quite sure what to say about the blue-white striped underwear, or how eggs seem to get through them, but there you go. This first mini boss likes to hop around and poop eggs at you. The hops are actually quite hard to dodge and takes a few hits, so this is a battle where its easy to take a lot of damage despite each hit only being half a heart.

After a few attacks he (she?) turns purple and adds a short hop to it's arsenal. The short hop can be repelled over easily, but there's no pattern so actually dodging it is more luck than skill. Also, I have no idea if throwing the eggs does more damage, so you're probably better off just waling on him with the punch gun and pushing him back to try and minimize damage. All in all, this is more a battle of endurance and a decent (if not a bit broken) challenge to start the game off with. On the plus side, your health is recharged when the bird is beaten.



You also get the satisfaction of punching him in the biscuits a good few times. So there's that.




So you NYC Talking Timers should know all about the subways you can only get to by dropping through sewer manholes. Yeah, those are great. Anyway, the train speeds by, but not before stopping just so that Willy can see the kidnapped Jill before speeding away from him. Man, that conductor is a dick. Thankfully, a member of the Willy fan club is here with a cart... platform... thing for Willy to use.



It should be noted that this is not a terrible mine cart segment. Instead, you just walk through this area like any normal sidescrolling segment. The purple mobs are now green mobs that speed straight for you, while bowler hat wearing dogs shoot at Willy.
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Old 05-30-2011, 01:01 PM
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You actually have two choices here: Stay on the platform or go on top of the train and grab loot and a health pick up. The trade off is you cannot destroy the dogs and are forced to dodge their bullets instead. In my case, I went up – the bullets aren't hard to avoid and hey, free stuff.



Either way, the train comes to a stop, Willy gets back on the platform and enters the next area. Somehow, Willy gets dropped into the next area. This is a platformer, so I shouldn't be too concerned with the geography of the level design, but look at the pipes! Shouldn't this area logically come after the manhole part? Or would that not make sense because you have to go back up?

So this is the first vertical shaft challenge of the game. These areas are meant to test your ability to swing and repel, starting you off with a pipe that is just unreachable with a regular jump-repel or wall repel. You have two options – The jump repel-into-wall repel, or you can grab the pipe with the punch gun, then swing upward.



The first way is easier and is a technique you have to repeat a lot in these shafts, so better to get used to it now.




The gun toting dogs are back, this time coming out of small pipes. You can whack them back into the pipe temporarily and then use it as a platform. Remember how I said you'll jump-repel-wall-repel combo a lot? You have to do it twice in succession, because swinging will only make you hit the wall and fall back down. You have to be patient not to be hit by a bullet, though sometimes being hit will knock you up to the platform you were trying to reach.



The segment ends with an easily attainable 1-up (These won't be so frequent in later levels, but they also become easily purchasable from the store) and a hook for you to swing yourself into the next area.



Devoid of a background, the only challenge here are the stage lights that fall from the sky. You can either retreat to avoid taking a hit, or grab and throw them. The choice is up to you (or me, in this case).



Mugsy: Hit it, Bullband!

The dialogue here between Willy and Jill is always the same before every major boss fight, showcasing that Willy is not the most likable protagonist. Afterward, Mugsy introduces the boss fight.
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Old 05-30-2011, 01:12 PM
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The bulldog band is essentially a big game of whack-a-mole. The lead singer pops in and out of three holes, switching randomly between them (Note: You can safely walked over them) before picking a resting spot to shoot music notes at you until you attack him once, at which point he'll go back to switching from hole to hole.



After 2 or 3 hits, he drops spotlights on your head, which again can be grabbed and thrown back at him. Again, I have no idea if this does more damage or not, but I also can't think of any reason not to do it. This fight is actually a bit easier than the bird fight if you stay on your toes and not get hit. Also of note are the two band members above. They don't attack you, so killing them is essentially murder. But they drop health if you start to run out, so necessary casualties?




So the end of level animation is always the same – The boss bounces around for a while before the screen flashes and Jill is lowered on a propeller platform. Jill and Willy exchange pleasantries, Mugsy vows revenge and the two kiss on the level select screen, ending the stage.

Before I end this for the time being, I want you guys to figure out where we go next. With level 1 complete and level 5 off limits, your choices are limited to the airfield, the circus, and the old west. Next time, we'll explore the bonus games and clean out the store before moving on to the next level

Alright, show's over, see you same cat time, same cat channel.

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  #5  
Old 05-30-2011, 01:23 PM
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Hey! I remember Rockin' Cats!...Well, really I just remember the channel level select, fistgun, and that I've beaten it since it's been about two decades now, but it's certainly a game I played.

My vote goes to clowning around at the circus channel.
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Old 05-30-2011, 02:15 PM
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Serious spelling/word nitpick: The word you want is 'rappel', not 'repel'—the latter means, more or less, 'to push away'.
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Old 05-30-2011, 02:53 PM
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I thought that's what he was doing. He's shooting the boxing glove to hit things and using the reaction to knock himself in the other direction. He's not lowering himself with it.
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Old 05-30-2011, 02:59 PM
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I fucking love this game. I always got stuck in that part in the first level where you had to shoot down then grab the pipe above you. Isn't there a part like that in the second level too?
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Old 05-30-2011, 03:04 PM
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Oh man, I remember seeing this game in one of those Nintendo Power code book supplements and always wanted to play it but never could find it, excitement times. This almost looks like Lackadaisy The Video Game, and thats a good thing.

Also!
Quote:
New York Nyankees
That makes me so happy.
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Old 05-30-2011, 03:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucas View Post
I thought that's what he was doing. He's shooting the boxing glove to hit things and using the reaction to knock himself in the other direction. He's not lowering himself with it.
Except he's also traveling up walls and stuff and still using the same word.
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Old 05-30-2011, 03:06 PM
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I could watch that allllll day
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  #12  
Old 05-30-2011, 03:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aerdan View Post
Except he's also traveling up walls and stuff and still using the same word.
He's traveling by repelling (or bouncing) off the wall. He's not really rappelling off of it.

Although now I kind of wish they had made Rockin' Kats 2: Cliffhanger.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ProfessorS
I always got stuck in that part in the first level where you had to shoot down then grab the pipe above you. Isn't there a part like that in the second level too?
There's at least one part like that in every level, unless I'm mistaken. Then in the last level they go overboard, but now I'm jumping (repelling?) ahead!
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Old 05-30-2011, 06:35 PM
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Nice stuff, ASandoval. About how long is this game? I've never played it but so far it seems like this will be a quick LP (which isn't a bad thing unless it's quick because it was abandandoned quickly).

I'm also going to go with my first instincts and vote for the circus.

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Originally Posted by ASandoval View Post
The purple trench coat mobs
I hate to do this but here we have another instance of MMO-speak that I hate. Is it that hard to say enemy? Or if the extra letters are such a big deal then you could say foe (but not an FOE - that would make things ROMhack hard). I don't really see much value in that silly abbreviation that indicates whether an enemy runs around or is static. Especially when applied to a platformer.
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Old 05-30-2011, 07:57 PM
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If he goes to the old west, does he put on a fancy old west garb?, like in Tom and Jerry, or bugs bunny, or other warner bros. games? Either way, I vote for old west!
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Old 05-30-2011, 08:30 PM
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I'm gonna go with airfield, because I am secretly hoping that the game will go Bionic Commando.
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Old 05-30-2011, 08:44 PM
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I'm going to go with groupthink and say circus.
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Old 05-30-2011, 08:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Torzelbaum View Post
I hate to do this but here we have another instance of MMO-speak that I hate. Is it that hard to say enemy? Or if the extra letters are such a big deal then you could say foe (but not an FOE - that would make things ROMhack hard). I don't really see much value in that silly abbreviation that indicates whether an enemy runs around or is static. Especially when applied to a platformer.
Pet peeves from online games aside, you know we're talking about a canine version of the Mafia here, right? I'd think mob would be quite fitting for the enemies, in that sense.
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Old 05-30-2011, 09:20 PM
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Quote:
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Bwuah?!
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Old 05-30-2011, 09:25 PM
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It's a good thing they don't have cable.

Are we supposed to be voting on the next stage, or...?
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Old 05-30-2011, 09:26 PM
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Old West!
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Old 05-30-2011, 11:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MetManMas View Post
Pet peeves from online games aside, you know we're talking about a canine version of the Mafia here, right? I'd think mob would be quite fitting for the enemies, in that sense.
Yeah, what he said.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Turnip
Are we supposed to be voting on the next stage, or...?
A'yup.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Torzelbaum
About how long is this game? I've never played it but so far it seems like this will be a quick LP
I'm shooting for an update per level, though the next one is going to be about the store, mini games and sub weapons plus I have a couple of mini updates in mind between levels. All in all I'm looking to have this done in a little over a month to two months, though that might stretch out depending on what happens with my job. It won't be abandoned, though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Loki
Bwuah?!


The best picture I could find of anything related to the Japanese version.
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Old 05-30-2011, 11:24 PM
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Oh I'm dumb and hit reply before reading the rest of the replies. I vote for Channel 3, so we can meet up with that hottie April O'Neil.
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Old 05-31-2011, 01:55 PM
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Language pedantry! Rock!

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Originally Posted by Aerdan View Post
Except he's also traveling up walls and stuff and still using the same word.
Rappel refers to descending (only) using a rope (and usually a special harness). Any process that features a novelty boxing glove isn't going to qualify.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Torzelbaum View Post
I hate to do this but here we have another instance of MMO-speak that I hate. Is it that hard to say enemy? Or if the extra letters are such a big deal then you could say foe (but not an FOE - that would make things ROMhack hard). I don't really see much value in that silly abbreviation that indicates whether an enemy runs around or is static. Especially when applied to a platformer.
Oh good, it's not just me.

Everytime I hear people talking about mobs in games I assume that they are all moblins. (Which, actually, makes more sense in this game than in most others.)

Circus McGurkus!
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Old 05-31-2011, 09:10 PM
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Just like "proc," the term "mob" does not actually come from MMORPGs. And even if it did, why would it be such a big deal for someone to use it? MMORPGs are games too. These terms are game-speak, not just MMO-speak. I thought we liked that kind of thing around here.
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Old 05-31-2011, 09:22 PM
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I've never heard of "proc" before, so I'm pretty sure it's MMO-speak. I've also only seen "mob" in or around games that want to be MMOs. It's a big deal because MMOs constitute a vile reductionist culture that I like to keep as far away from me as possible.


Anyway, hey, this game looks great! Or as quaint as I'd always expected, at least. I suddenly wish there were a lot more fan art for it (or, uh, any).

Last edited by Kishi; 05-31-2011 at 09:33 PM.
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Old 05-31-2011, 09:29 PM
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Mob, foe, enemy, bad guy, proc, activate, trigger, whats the fucking difference? Oh yeah...
Quote:
pedantry!
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Old 05-31-2011, 09:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kishi View Post
I've never heard of "proc" before, so I'm pretty sure it's MMO-speak. I've also only seen "mob" in or around games that want to be MMOs. It's a big deal because MMOs constitute a vile reductionist culture that I like to keep as far away from me as possible.
This only applies if this "vile reductionist culture" extends all the way back to MUDs.

I'm just kind of astonished to see so much reactionary anger about MMOs and their associated terminology. They're just video games.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kishi View Post
Anyway, hey, this game looks great! Or as quaint as I'd always expected, at least. I suddenly wish there were a lot more fan art for it (or, uh, any).
This is what I actually wanted to post about in this thread! I want to play this game now.
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Old 05-31-2011, 09:57 PM
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A boxing glove gun? Green Arrow has some competition here.
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Old 05-31-2011, 10:42 PM
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Oh, why did I cast Summon : Shitstorm?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tefari View Post
Mob, foe, enemy, bad guy, proc, activate, trigger, whats the fucking difference?
The difference is that mob and proc are the worst kind of jargon - the kind that actively excludes outsiders. More universal terms like enemy or trigger wouldn't do that.
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Old 06-01-2011, 01:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Torzelbaum View Post
Oh, why did I cast Summon : Shitstorm?

The difference is that mob and proc are the worst kind of jargon - the kind that actively excludes outsiders. More universal terms like enemy or trigger wouldn't do that.
That said, the other use of proc (noun) is handy simply because there isn't any nice short way to say "occasional effect on striking [/hit, use, etc.]"
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