Sparkster for the SNES is a weird approximation of Rocket Knight Adventures. What’s weirder is that Sparkster for the SNES is nothing like Sparkster for the Megadrive, which sought to “fix” things about the original that weren’t even broken (i.e. basically EVERYTHING).
Fair enough, though – SNES owners never got Rocket Knight Adventures, and this would be the closest they’d ever come to playing it.
Not close enough, I’m afraid.
It’s not even that it’s a bad port of the original or anything. Honestly, a straight port would have been just dandy. It’s just, similar in all the wrong places. It’s like Konami rebuilt the original game from the ground up, cobbling together its finest moments, but with shabbier materials, and no regard for pacing. Actually, that’s exactly what they did.
Everything looks uglier, for a start. From the levels to the sprites to the HUD; it all lacks a lot of polish. The story is a direct transplant of the original – along with every game ever – someone’s kidnapped the princess and flown away in a giant airship, of course. The personable piggies of the invading army have been inexplicably replaced by gaunt, YELLOW DOGS whose collective personalities couldn’t fill a thimble.
My theory is that Rocket Knight Adventures pushed the Megadrive’s hardware so specifically that it couldn’t simply be ported to the SNES. It’s all a bit curious, though, considering the Megadrive was traditionally recipient of Konami’s “dumbed down” versions of things. It’s still more difficult than Rocket Knight Adventures – no mean feat on any other day – but mostly due to piss-poor level design.
Basically, all Sparkster does is highlight just how special its predecessor was.
Did I mention Rocket Knight Adventures?