Sparkster (スパークスター, Supākusutā) is a side-scrolling platform game developed and published by Konami for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. The game, the only one in the series to be released on a Nintendo console, was directed by Hideo Ueda and was released in Japan on September 1994, in North America in October 1994, in Europe in 1994.
Sparkster is a sequel to the original Rocket Knight Adventures, and a different game from the Sega Genesis version despite having the same title in North America and Europe, the latter's original Japanese title being Sparkster: Rocket Knight Adventures 2 (as well as much of the exact same music in the soundtrack).
The eponymous main character is an opossum knight named Sparkster who fights an army of yellow wolves and robots. He is armed with a sword that can fire energy bolts and a rocket pack that allows him to fly short distances. The gameplay remains mostly the same as in Mega Drive/Genesis games, with the most notable change being the addition of a short-distance rolling dash. At the end of every level, Sparkster battles a boss, and the level is complete when it is defeated. The 3rd (2nd in Easy) stage consists of Sparkster riding a robot-ostrich in an auto-scrolling level, while the 7th (5th in Easy) consists of a top-down shooter level. One major difference is that the game's final level depends on the difficulty the player selected. On easy, the game culminates with battle against Axel Gear, but on normal, the story continues with Sparkster fighting the leader of the Wolves on the next level. On hard difficulty, the game continues beyond that, with the true final stage.
The kingdom of Eginasem, a land inhabited by opossums, is under attack by the Lioness's army of yellow dog and wolf soldiers, which also kidnapped Princess Flora. Sparkster, the Rocket Knight, is out to battle this threat, rescue the princess and save his kingdom from certain destruction. His nemesis, the rival Rocket Knight Axel Gear, is aiding the invading forces, making Sparkster's task even more dangerous. The player's goal is to battle through all of the enemy warriors and robots, defeat Axel Gear and infiltrate the enemy's battleship, where the yellow dogs leader, Generalissimo Lioness, is planning to launch a warhead to destroy planet Eginasem.
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GamePro rated the game positively, but mentioned that it was not a strong enough improvement from the original Rocket Knight Adventures, criticizing the lack of an improved control scheme and new weapons and powerups. However, they praised the impressive graphics, moody music, and the two secret hard modes. Electronic Gaming Monthly gave it an 8.2 out of 10, saying that it shows Konami "back to form" with "huge levels, gigantic bosses, outstanding graphics and excellent music."
Sparkster was awarded Best Sound Effects of 1994 by Electronic Gaming Monthly. IGN placed the game 87th in their "Top 100 SNES Games of All Time." Retro Sanctuary ranked Sparkster 66th on their "Top 100 Best SNES Games." They commented that "Sparkster plays very much like the original game but with much more emphasis on speed and action. In 1995, Total! listed the game 74th in its Top 100 SNES Games writing: "Konami come up trumps again with this gorgeous looking platform blaster. A huge challenge too."
- "Video Game den | スーパーファミコン | Super Famicom SNES reviews".
- "Sparkster review score". Archived from the original on 2019-05-05.
- "ProReview: Sparkster". GamePro. IDG (64): 146. November 1994.
- "Review Crew: Sparkster". Electronic Gaming Monthly. Ziff Davis (63): 34. October 1994.
- "Electronic Gaming Monthly's Buyer's Guide". Electronic Gaming Monthly. 1995.
- Top 100 SNES Games of All Time - IGN.com, retrieved 2021-02-09
- "Top 100 Best SNES Games Ever". retro-sanctuary.com. Retrieved 2022-01-08.
- "Top 100 SNES Games". Total! (43): 47. July 1995. Retrieved February 26, 2022.