Rocky Rodent, released in Japan as Nitro Punks: Might Heads, is a mascot platformer from Irem for the SNES. It is somewhat inspired by the success of Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog, and features a rodent protagonist who is able to sprint at great speeds during certain sections of the game. However, most of the game's level design is engineered around Rocky's constantly changing hairstyle - each style has a different attack or ability associated with it, and these abilities are usually required to progress further through the game.
Rocky's on the run once again for stealing food when he bumps in to the owner of the restaurant from which he just skipped out on. The owner beseeches Rocky: the mob has kidnapped his daughter and is holding her for ransom. If Rocky can save her and thrash the mafia goons that are tightening their grip on the city, Rocky will be able to eat all he wants at his restaurant for life. Not one to pass up a meal ticket, Rocky agrees and sets off on his quest across the vast metropolis to retrieve the restaurant owner's daughter.
Rocky Rodent is a standard mascot platformer. By holding down the run button, Rocky picks up a considerable amount of speed - something that comes in handy in later "chase" stages. But what primarily sets Rocky Rodent apart from the pack are his power-ups - there's no Mushrooms, Tiki Masks or breakable TVs to be found in the world of Rocky Rodent. Rocky's power-ups come out of trashcans, and in the form of special hair styles. There are several hair styles in the game, each with their own unique functions:
- Hairspray: Styles Rocky's hair in to a giant pink spike, which can be used like a rhino horn to skewer enemies and break cracked ceiling blocks. By jumping in to certain ceiling types, Rocky can stick in to the ceiling and use it to flip around to the floor above.
- Electric Shaver: Gives Rocky a literal "buzz cut" - an axe-like mohawk that can be thrown and returns like a boomerang. Can be used to cut things. Rocky can embed it into walls and jump off them as well.
- Flower Pot: This gives Rocky a braided ponytail that allows him to latch onto and swing across any hooks in the level.
- Bird's Nest: This unkempt haircut includes a flashing egg, which will eventually hatch if Rocky manages to avoid taking damage. Once hatched, a helpful companion named Pecky will chase after and defeat regular enemies. Pecky will not chase after or damage bosses, however.
- Salon Dryer: A large machine that changes Rocky's hair into a coiled spring. By bouncing on his head with this hairstyle, Rocky's vertical leap is greatly enhanced.
In addition to being stylish, Rocky's hairdos also protect him from one additional hit of damage. If Rocky takes damage without a hair style, he will die.