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Rock Manager

Score: 100%
ESRB: Mature (17+) [Strong
Publisher: DreamCatcher Interactive
Developer: Pan Vision
Media: CD/1
Players: 1
Genre: Miscellaneous


Graphics & Sound:

Rock Manager takes a tongue-in-cheek approach to the music industry, but still manages to provide a realistic (though outlandish) view of the rock industry. The characters are all very cartoony, but seem to be modeled after very familiar artist 'types' - there's the old heavy metal guys, the artist who loves to make music but hates media attention, the brat who wants to be a star but hasn't got enough musical talent to fill a thimble... They're all here, with a very real need to be kept happy so they don't take their instruments and go home. Make sure they're playing gigs - but not to many - make sure they are liking how things are going and aren't at each other's throats.

As for sound, this game goes above and beyond the call of duty. Some of the songs, though really just short loops, are very good sounding - and are more complicated than they really would have needed to be for this game (that's a GOOD thing...). Additionally, the soundscaping in the game is excellent - the city has a beat all it's own. (I actually found this out by playing the game through some Altec Lansing model 251 'Desktop Theatre' 5.1 speakers I'm reviewing. The subtle sounds were really brought out, and you could hear the rock from the clubs and the cars going by. Excellently submersive environment for a simulation game!


Gameplay:

The Mature rating of Rock Manger allows it to have a truer rock 'feel' to it; there's sexuality concerns and dependencies to watch out for - and pray each night that a band member doesn't get a girlfriend that thinks SHE knows more about managing the band...

You'll have to choose the songs, tweak the recordings, design the albums, buy the advertisments, set up the promos, arrange the interviews, drop off the demos, film the video, and keep everything together if you ever hope to sell crap music to kids, push rock stars around and eventually be the ultimate rock manager as the box front proclaims.


Difficulty:

Rock Manager has it's ups and downs (money gets tight sometimes...), but practicing your micromanagement skills helps. It's hectic, but if you manage to keep your money in the higher ranges, you can plan your promotions further in advance. This makes things run much smoother. There are several 'missions' to progress through; some I made though on my first try, others took several attempts. My best advice is pay attention to your goals stated at the beginning, and just keep working hard at it. Gigs aren't always the best way to promote your band, but sometimes it's necessary to keep your band happy. If you like music and you like simulations, Rock Manager is a definite winner.

Game Mechanics:

This game is amazing. For every song in the game (and there's quite a few), there's a recorded lead for every possible vocalist (regardless of the genre of the song and the singer). I have taken a Pop band and recorded a punk tune with them and gotten results that not only got a contract, but actually sounded pretty good - something like a They Might Be Giants tune... For each musician that you have in your band, there's three different ways they can play a song. Additionally, every artist in the recording has effects you can choose from that are actually applied in real time. (I was in a band once upon a time - bass, if you're curious - and I had a 'Flanger pedal'. The controls for the flanger in the game are exactly like they were for my pedal - with the same results. Excellent simulation!!!)

I would only recommend this game to those over 17, due to the rating of course, as some of the situations are a bit off-color and a few of the artists could make a sailor blush... But if you want to try your luck at music promotion, this is an excellent game to have fun while doing it. (Now, if they'd only come out with 'Video Game Director, the game'...)


-Geck0, GameVortex Communications
AKA Robert Perkins

Minimum System Requirements:



Windows 95/98/2000XP, Pentium 233 MHz MMX, 32 MB RAM, 16 MB Video Card, DirectX Compatible 16-bit Sound Card, 100 MB Hard Drive Space (150 MB Recommended)
 

Test System:



Compaq 700 Series Laptop, Windows XP, AMD Athlon 1.3 GHz, 128 MB Ram, 16 MB (shared from above) Integrated Video, DirectX Compatible Integrated Audio, 150 MB Hard Drive Option used

Sony PSOne Twisted Metal: Small Brawl Windows 911 Fire Rescue

 
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