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Video Game: Rocket: Robot on Wheels
aka: Rocket Roboton Wheels
Long, long ago, in the mists of time, there was a console known as the Nintendo 64. And for that console, a small, fledgeling company known as Sucker Punch—yes, the same ones behind the Sly Cooper franchise and inFAMOUS—made a brightly-colored, cheerful, 3D, physics-based (!) platformer called Rocket: Robot on Wheels.

And lo, it was good.

Rocket was Sucker Punch's first foray into the video game world. While not very successful commercially, it was critically well recieved, and is today considered one of the "hidden gems" of the Nintendo 64.

The "plot" takes place entirely within Whoopie World, an intergalactic theme park maintained by one kindly Dr. Gavin. The day before Whoopie World opens, the doctor leaves for a party. He puts his loyal robot Rocket in charge of the park's command center for the evening: He just has to keep an eye on the tickets and tokens, and make sure the park's mascots, Whoopie the walrus and Jojo the raccoon, get fed. It's a suitable task for little Rocket, who's only got one wheel and has to interact with the world by means of a head-mounted tractor beam.

However, Jojo is sick of playing second fiddle. He knocks out Rocket, kidnaps Whoopie, and sends the pristine park into total disarry by dismantling all the machinery, and scattering the tickets and tokens. Now Rocket has to fix the machines, reactivate the rides, gather up all the tokens, defeat Jojo, and make sure Whoopie gets fed (as soon as Rocket rescues him). Suddenly, Rocket's job doesn't look so cushy anymore...

The game is notable for being one of the earlier console games to use a dedicated universal physics engine, with all objects being affected by friction, gravity, and other factors. Since Rocket's main means of attack is a tractor beam, it sort of had to be. Also, it makes for some slick platforming.

This game contains examples of:

  • All The Worlds Are A Stage: Jojo's World is a Multiple-Choice Final Exam Stage. The trope maker wishes to point out that seeing the page for this game is what made him start it.
  • An Ice Person: The only upgrade Rocket gets that isn't related to his tractor beam or his mobility is an ice beam. Useful both on enemies and for creating stepping stones in water.
  • Badass
  • Big Bad: Jojo the raccoon.
  • Big Boo's Haunt: Food Fright's upper level is a massive swamp filled with ghoulies and creeps, while the lower levels are rather cute in their candy-themed...ness.
  • Bleak Level: Food Fright.
  • Bubbly Clouds: The fourth world, Arabian Flights.
  • Build Like an Egyptian: The fifth world, Pyramid Scheme.
  • Catchphrase: "Yeah!" Note that this is the only thing Rocket says in the whole game.
  • Classic Cheat Code: A list of them is available here.
  • Cool Bike: The Glider-bike. It's basically a gliding motorcycle. With bat wings. Arguably the most awesome vehicle in the game.
  • Cute Mute: Rocket. Except for a few lines of "Yeah!", grunts when getting hit or jumping, he has no dialogue.
  • Death Course: At least one of the tickets in each level will be on the far side of one of these. The run-up to the final boss is a particularly long and brutal example. You'll need every extra life, Heart Container, and ounce of patience you can get.
  • Dirty Coward: Jojo in the last level pleads to you not to destroy his world, but only because you're so close to doing it.
  • Distressed Dudes: The professor and Whoopie.
  • Down the Drain: The "Aqueduct" portion of the second world, Paint Misbehavin'.
  • Evil Laugh: The clown guards get a particularly nasty one. Jojo has more of an evil cackle, though.
  • Exposition Fairy: Tinker, who offers tutorial assistance. When you have enough tickets, he will upgrade you.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: The troll you have to feed in Food Fright.
  • Ground Pound: The only way to actually kill most enemies. Unfortunately, you don't start with it—but it's not hard to earn.
  • Hailfire Peaks: Just about every level is some combination of standard elements. The weirdest is probably Food Fright, which combines exactly what you'd expect.
  • Happy Dance: Every time Rocket receives a ticket, booster pack, machine part, or new ability, Rocket will do a flip or spin.
  • Hub Level: Part of it is even closed, because you have to beat the levels in the first area to get to the next one.
  • Idle Animation: He usually looks around and sometimes he even dances to the rhythm of the level music. After he goes out of water, he shakes.
  • The Last Straw: One task has you feeding candy to a troll. He gets fatter... and fatter... and fatter... then BOOM!
  • Lethal Lava Land: The "Night" version of Pyramid Scheme. Jojo deliberately created it to be messed up.
  • Let's Play: By Good Natured Filth and Dodd The Hammer. In the Let's Play Archive.
  • Level Ate: Food Fright, as the name suggests. And boy, does it look tasty!
  • Mayincatec: Pyramid Scheme. The "Day" portion of the level is a beautiful, South American-esque rainforest and pyramid. The Dark World "Night" portion, though, is a Lethal Lava Land.
  • Minecart Madness: Mine Blowing.
  • Monster Clown: Well, it's set at a theme park, so a couple creepy clowns were a given. Surprisingly, the ones in the first level, Clowny Island, aren't as bad as you'd expect, just annoying. Well, unless you're a coulrophobe.
  • No OSHA Compliance: If Whoopie World is meant to be a theme park, certain parts of it seem very... unsafe. OK, so maybe that's Jojo's doing, but the parts that customers were definitely not supposed to enter are still totally unsafe; what about the workers?
    • The workers are ROBOTS, remember?
      • This starts out as the basis behind the Good Natured Filth's joke that Whoopie World isn't even really a theme park, just some ambiguously-defined For Science! shenanigan Gavin got up to. As the Let's Play progresses, this trope gets supplanted by the observation that the levels look more like levels in a video game than anything resembling a theme park attraction.
  • Pass Through the Rings: The goal of some tickets.
  • Plot Coupon: Tickets and tokens
  • Racing Minigame: The goal of some tickets.
  • Raymanian Limbs: Whenever Rocket gets teleported back to the main area or to a level, his robot limbs part and swirl to the next area.
  • Springy Spores: A variation. Mushrooms DO help you jump higher, but not by jumping on them—they grab you, and they spit you out to make you jump higher.
  • Tractor Beam: Rocket's main piece of equipment.
  • Variable Mix: A few levels have an "underwater" version of the level music.

    Creator/Sucker PunchSly Cooper
Rocket Knight AdventuresPlatform GameRockin Kats
Robotron 2084Nintendo 64 San Francisco Rush

alternative title(s): Rocket Robot On Wheels
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