A playthrough of Natsume’s 1993 shooter for the Super Nintendo, Pocky & Rocky.
Played through as Rocky on the normal difficulty level.
Pocky & Rocky is a really neat shooter that tends to get overlooked a lot when people think about shooters with similar mechanics on the SNES. It’s very cutesy in its presentation, and it doesn’t feature the typical armed-to-the-teeth commando or spaceship that you’d usually associate with the genre.
Developed as a sequel to Taito’s mid-80s arcade game Kiki KaiKai, you play as a shrine girl (Pocky) and/or her (apparently castrated) tanuki buddy Rocky as you blast your way through all-sorts odd enemies in atypical locations like a Shinto shrine, a dragon-shaped floating castle named Gorgonzola, and down-river on a raft, all in an effort to save the Nopino Goblins from extinction. It’s pretty goofy.
If you are playing as one player, you get your choice of either character (both of whom have slight differences in their abilities), or you can do two-player simultaneous play. Both characters have long and short range attacks, a slide move (infinitely helpful for the later bosses), and a bomb that blasts the entire screen. Most of the game isn’t auto-scrolling, you can run around at your own pace similar to how you can in games like Heavy Barrel or Total Carnage.
The game plays extremely well, but don’t be fooled by its looks – no matter how cute and cartoony it appears to be, it’s a fairly difficult game (especially on hard mode). The later stages get pretty relentless with the amount of stuff they chuck at you. Having two players does help this a bit, but either way you go, you’ll certainly need practice to get through it. Unlimited continues does prevent it from ever becoming frustrating, though.
I love the style that this game has going on, though! It reminds The Legend of the Mystical Ninja (a personal favorite of mine) with it’s old-world Japan schtick. The enemies have no trouble being threatening while also being cute, everything is exploding with color. The music is also fantastic, though that shouldn’t really be a surprise given that Natsume developed it (thank you, Mr. Iwatsuki!).
This one deserves a lot more notice and recognition than it usually gets – if you like the old-style 8-way shooters, try this out! It’ll certainly keep you busy for awhile!
No cheats were used during the recording of this video.
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