Mento's May Madness More: #11 - Rock of Ages

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Posted by mento (3905 posts) -

May the Eleventh

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The game:ACE Team's Rock of Ages

The source: User @teflonbilly (thanks!)

The pre-amble: Rock of Ages is a comedic action/strategy tower defense game in which two players compete to be the first to roll enough giant boulders with bemused expressions past the other player's defenses. The game is depicted as a series of contests between tortured Greek mythological figure Sisyphus and various warlike figures throughout history. I wish I could say that this is the weirdest game that Chilean developers ACE Team has made, but they also happen to be behind the Zeno Clash games.

The playthrough: OK, so Chrome crashed for the very first time ever and ate this entire blog. Can't say I'm super enthused to write all this out again. In fact, I dare say I'm as enthused to talk about my considerable distaste for the tower defense sub-genre of real-time strategy as Google is enthused to actually grant its browser some manner of data back-up in the case of catastrophic dysfunction. Perhaps needless to say after that last sentence, but all the amusing presentation and semi-historical references and silly boulder expressions can't exonerate Rock of Ages for its central tower defense core, a pervasive sub-genre I've frequently decried against profusely before now and am choosing to save you all from a second tirade on the topic. That you're controlling legendary put-upon figure Sisyphus as he repeats his strenuous actions for no appreciable reason beyond the amusement of the Gods isn't lost on me after this crash. Did I mention how much I don't approve of Google Chrome patiently waiting until this blog was complete before crapping its own proverbial bed? Because I'm happy to reiterate the tale many times as I vainly try to recall any of the multitude of witticisms I had previously leveled towards this otherwise blameless game.

Thanks for the assist, big guy. Sorry you had to dig me out of that ravine.
Thanks for the assist, big guy. Sorry you had to dig me out of that ravine. "There but for the grace of Lakitu" and all that.

I don't like Rock of Ages. It's a shame because it was a kind gift, but I'd be happy if I never had to launch an enormous boulder with the momentum and steering of a shopping cart filled with pumpkins down a sharp incline filled with gaps that could safely be hopped over had any of my desperate applications of the button assigned to that particular maneuver were ever acknowledged. Nor am I terribly eager to endlessly redistribute siege towers and catapults, the actual utility of which I have no earthly way of comprehending as the computer always seems to have comparatively untroubled jaunts regardless of what I place and where. I could stick around and watch it defeat me in real-time in order to glean its route, but that would be self-defeating in a quite literal sense.

Anyway, despite all my grousing about this game, much of it a repeat from a more innocent time when I didn't know the browser I was using could throw up in its own mouth without any explanation, it's not something which I'll summarily abandon. It does seem like the multiplayer, which at least involves another human opponent struggling with the same issues, could be a laugh and a half. Should I ever find myself inebriated and in need of some competitive insanity, the game will be patiently waiting for me in my Steam library. It's not like a libation or sixteen is going to impair my ability to steer that damned rock any further than is currently the case.

The verdict: Nooooope.

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#1 Posted by BisonHero (11005 posts) -

Even as a tower defense game, I think it makes as many missteps as it does successes in trying to innovate in the genre.

While they probably intentionally made it madcap and stressful, I think that the boulders should take WAY more time to respawn, because as is, you have like 15 seconds to place a whole fuckload of towers across a potentially rather large map. And the tower types themselves seem really weirdly unbalanced. I never saw the point of the fans that blow the boulder around, as all they do is slightly delay the boulder and push it around, but why even bother with that when the catapult/trebuchet/ballista already do INSANE amounts of knockback (and solid damage)? The war balloons are quite good on most maps. And while the cows are UDDERLY USELESS (see what I did there), the war elephants and the level 3 war elephants are surprisingly good at obliterating the computer if you place a bunch of them near a turn or an uphill where the computer will be going slowly.

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#2 Edited by mento (3905 posts) -

@bisonhero: It was a little unfair of me to cover it, given my displeasure with tower defense. Gave it a bit of an uphill climb to endear itself to me, as it were. But when I'm not apoplectic about browser crashes, I do try to make the diplomatic case that while a game may well be a perfectly fine tower defense or football management or an anime lady nude-'em-up, it's just not a genre I'm particularly interested in playing and to take anything I say on the matter with a grain of salt. A statement like that does kind of render moot any review that carries it, but it's always worth being honest.

Even so I figured Rock of Ages was worth a shot despite that bias. Someone gave it to me and it's just as much mad obstacle course runs as it is tower defense. But nope, didn't much care for either half of that equation.

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#3 Edited by BisonHero (11005 posts) -

@mento: Also, fuck those golden keys. I was enjoying the mood of the game just enough to keep playing it, and also I had learned how to game the tower defense portion well enough that I didn't mind it, so I thought I'd try to get all the keys. And most of them are pretty reasonable, until about like 4-8 of them near the end of the game that seem to require your boulder to magically ricochet off of a common outcropping of rock and then perfectly time the dumb angel wing jump to get this key that is several hundred feet in the air.

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#4 Edited by Video_Game_King (36564 posts) -

How do B.C. Denton's glasses stay on? Are they carved onto his face?

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#5 Posted by mento (3905 posts) -

@video_game_king: Yes, JC Denstone has his trademark shades and sleek haircut chiseled onto him. It takes the sculptors an extra 30 seconds to make it all happen thus giving his opponents all the time they need to win, but deep down he knows it is worth it.

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#6 Posted by ArbitraryWater (15025 posts) -

I didn't really care for the gameplay of Rock of Ages but the cutscenes are so weird that I got pretty far before deciding that I could look up the rest on the internet. At least I've heard of this game, which is more than can be said for half of the stuff you've covered thus far.

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#7 Edited by GreggD (4595 posts) -

I bought this game, have yet to finish it. I adore the madcap nature of it, and the general Monty Python-osity(?) of the cutscenes and characters. So good.

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#8 Posted by Hailinel (25787 posts) -

But did you try Block of Ages?

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