I love 2D side scrollers. I love silly, cheesy throw backs to my earlier years. So, you would think I would enjoy a 2D side scrolling shooter that is full to the brim with cheesy throwbacks to what I thought cool meant in my youth, and you would be right.
Bring on Rad Rodgers Radical Edition!
Rad Rodgers found plenty of success on PC. Then the success continued over onto other consoles thanks to the way the game played and tweaked the nostalgic bug in many of us. Now it has landed on the Switch called Rad Rodgers Radical Edition with a few bonuses including co-op, new levels, enemies, and mini games, also released as a free upgrade for anyone who owns the game elsewhere.
Rad Rodgers tells the story of Rad who is a boy living the life of many children. One of these children like playing video games but is a slave to his enforced bed time. One night Rad is sucked into his console where he meets Dusty, a version of his console with two arms and a grumpy old action hero persona.
This relationship is the game’s biggest hook, for better and worse. Rad is the kid many of us nerds thought we wanted to be as a kid, a bad ass with a gun, and Dusty is a walking cliché. One-liners, swearing, and a sweeping generalization of 80s action heroes all bound up into one, makes for a funny gimmick for a while, but eventually it does get tired.
Fortunately, the gameplay is excellent, so the game’s quirkiness isn’t the whole thing stringing you along. The gameplay consists of a classic left to right 2D platforming shooter, where the platforming and shooting has all been crafted to perfection. A lot of throwbacks like this don’t quite get the gameplay right as they spend too much time on the jokes, but Rad Rodgers consistently felt form start to finish like a polished game.
Levels are all colourful and beautiful to look at thanks to its bold colours with crisp environmental design. Each stage is filled with collectables and enemies to kill, while naturally in the throwback to old times, giving you high scores to achieve. Another throwback, if you choose to play it that way, is limited lives. Losing all your lives throws you back to the start of the level, which isn’t too punishing, but boy is it frustrating.
Rad Rodgers does what it aims to do, well. It is a fun, silly throwback in every way, but with 2019 quality graphics, that is so damn fun to play. Simple gun upgrades and minigames like a pinball table mix things up a bit, but the game does get a little tired by the end. It is easy to recommend for anyone looking to platform and shoot themselves way through an adolescent dream.