Best platformer you've never played (or even heard of?)
Rocket: Robot on Wheels is destined for obscurity. Frankly, this title is already obscure and a complete pain to actually find. However, those who do find this lovable little platformer will be thanking the underrated "Suckerpunch Studios" for this gem.
As a lovable little unicycle named Rocket, you traverse a strange circus freak world while zipping around doing various objectives. Levels range from theme parks (featuring a mini-game to build your own rollercoaster, and yes it rules!) to lush marinas to strange mechanical factories. They are diverse, big, and have tons of stuff to do and collect.
Fortunately, behind the vast amount of things to see and do, there is a wonderfully controlled character. Rocket zips around with precision and a host of unique moves, not to mention he features the best set of physics seen before next-gen systems (hell, its better than 75% of the stuff seen today). This makes the game realistic, yet unforgiving in an entirely appropriate way. Sure it may be frustrating to fail because of realism, but at least the game isn't cheap and you know it's your fault if you mess up. Anyhow, the control reminds one of "Glover", only more precise, and with the aforementioned physics engine to die for.
The graphics are pretty nice for the N64. There are a ton of colors and a slew of enemies and architecture to complement the system-pushing levels. Sadly, the textures range from awesome (see the circus level!) to horrid (see the forest-like level).
Lastly, the sound is definitely average to very good. Consistently upbeat and sometimes hummable, yet sometimes aggravating (circus level, but circus music is supposed to be bad right?) and mute worthy. Sound effects are merely adequate and remain at a perfect level so as not to be obtrusive.
Rocket: Robot on Wheels is varied, frustrating, difficult, huge, well-made, and most of all, tons of fun. You'll lose yourself just zipping around as Rocket because, well, it's just naturally fun. This game has the gameplay and the meat, buy it if you can find it!