Boom Boom Rocket

Xbox Live Arcade

Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 9

Sound: 9

Gameplay: 8

Overall: 8


Boom Boom Rocket is tough to describe. In fact, the very games it resembles and borrows its design from are some of the worst imaginable. If someone told you Boom Boom was a clone of a Sega CD full motion video title and launch title Fantavision on the PlayStation 2, you’d be rightfully taken aback.

boomboom1360.jpg (76556 bytes)Yet, this oddly addictive mix of re-imagined classical music and stunning particle effects is impossible to put down. It’s a devilishly simple game in which colored arrows that represent fireworks rise to the top of the screen where they need to be detonated at a precise moment on a thin bar. The closer you are to the exact center of the bar when you press the corresponding button determines how many points you earn.

While it’s easy to compare this to the ridiculously popular dance and rhythm games, something about Boom Boom Rocket places it in its own category and into that oddball combo mentioned above. You’re using the D-pad and buttons instead of a dance pad, the arrows come from the bottom of the screen from all directions, and the thin marker that’s your goal offers a wide range of possible scores. This makes the offline only multi-player frenzied fun, especially as the players have their fireworks cross each other’s paths.

Where Boom Boom can separate itself from those disastrous Sega CD D-pad prompting FMV games like Power Rangers is the skill involved. A gamer willing to devote countless hours into mastering the timing required to nail every note will find themselves instantly hooked. It’s not simply about memorization. Missing a note isn’t a complete loss, but this is a game that thrives on perfection.

Consecutively making successful fireworks pop into a gorgeous burst of color adds to a score multiplier. When filled, you can activate a 16x mode, in which the fireworks come close to tripling in size, also a fun aspect of mutli-player. You can craft large sections of fireworks, making it difficult for your opponent to decipher his or her own on their side of the split screen.

For solo players, you can tackle one of ten catchy remixes of instantly recognizable classics. As you play, you can unlock new fireworks that explode into pictures such as musical notes or playing cards. Endurance mode replays the songs repeatedly appropriately called laps and each time adding to the tunes speed. This is where leaderboard fanatics will have their fun.

Additional and surprising extras include a free form mode in which you can simply mash on the D-pad (or buttons if you prefer this option) and create dazzling arrays of color. Secondly, there’s the option to use this as a music visualizer. Selecting this and playing music from your HDD will let the game play itself to your own music. It’s arguably more enjoyable than the music player included on the 360. Little extras like this go a long way in justifying the $10 price.

What may turn away some potential buyers is a slim set of obviously missed features. The fireworks explode over the same cityscape backdrop every time out, amongst a darkened skyscraper filled island. The included 10 songs can be run through quickly if you’re not the perfectionist type, and the hardest difficulty is for zen-like players only. The game already breaks the old 50MB limit for Arcade games, so space wasn’t a concern. Also, the offline multi-player is wonderful, and it’s a shame there’s no option for Xbox Live challenges. That said, leaderboards will be rife with heavy competition.

At first glance, Boom Boom Rocket (from the same developer as Geometry Wars) is a pitiful knock-off of countless other games. Once you play that first song in the free demo and realize you missed three notes, that urge begins to grow, calling out the player to nail them all. A few minutes later, the full game is unlocked and stuck on your TV for hours.


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Last updated: Monday, April 16, 2007 10:32 PM