Rad Rodgers brings back 90’s 2D platforming in a big way. Developer Slipgate Studios and publishers 3D Realms and THQ Nordic have brought us a game that sits nicely in the pocket between nostalgia and modern gaming sensibilities.
Rad Rodgers finds the titular character getting sucked into his television along with his gaming console, Dusty. Yep, that’s right, the console comes to life in the digital world providing beatdowns and firepower, riding on the back of Rad. Together they fight and batner through a series of 2D platforming levels ripe with vertical exploration, hidden areas, hats!, and a variety of tricky beasts to defeat. The jungle worlds of Rad Rodgers provide the perfect backdrop to lush visuals and interesting enemies. Combined with a pulse pounding 90’s saturday morning cartoon style soundtrack, Rad Rodgers is a feast for the senses.
Follow the lineage of Slipgate back and you’ll find the team that was associated with Rise of the Triad. They are also a longtime partner of 3D Realms, makers of Duke Nukem. And before 3D Realms, there was Apogee, which published a number of fanstastic PC titles back in the day including Comander Keen. And, if you are/were a fan of Comander Keen you will find much to love in Rad Rodgers.
Dusty is sort of a crass character, and much of the game’s humor sort of pokes at the fourth wall. I initially thought that Dusty sounded a bit like Lewis Black, and was plesantly suprised to discover that Dusty was voiced by Jon St. John who is the voice of… wait for it… Duke Nukem!
What I find to be really fascinating about this game is its approach to difficulty. Overall, this game might be best described as quite challenging, but not punishing to the point that it is hardcore by modern gaming standards. Instead Rad Rodgers is difficult in the way that other 90s platforming games were difficult, with a welcome option to adjust the difficulty of the game including a mode in which the player has infinite lives. This is an awesome feature for folks that are novice platform players. Additionally, the game contains a setting to make the game friendly to younger players in terms of content, but was not explored in this review.
While I apprecaite the difficuly, there’s one aspect of it that I struggle to appreciate. Many of the achievements in this game require 100% completion, through collecting all of the items, killing all of the enemies, and finding all of the hidden areas within each level. However, these do not appear to be cumulative. Therefore, each level seems to be an all or nothing affair. For example, if you miss a single gem, youll need to go back and play through the level from the start and get everything again. There does not seem to be a way to jump into a level for leftovers. It’s more of a design decision than anything, though the items are not necessarily difficult to find.
The more I play Rad Rodgers the more I find myself liking it. The game pops with lush colors and an upbeat soundtrack. It’s one of those games where you can rage quit one moment, and throw your arms up in excitement when you finally complete a level. Platforming enthusaists will find a lot to like here, including an experience that can be tailored to newcommers. Definitely give this one a shot. Rad Rodgers is available on Xbox One, PC, and PS4. Happy Gaming.