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"Turbinium. Space Diesel, we called it. It had been four years and thirteen asteroid fields since we'd found any. Our team had been on a long streak of bad luck. And the latest asteroid we were drillin' was the worst. That day we'd blown a turbo from a drill rig, and I was returning to the rock with a new one. That was the day of the big find. The day our luck changed. I shoulda known then there's no such thing as coincidence. It's all connected. Yeah, talk about a bad day gone worse..." John Rochard, giving the Opening Narration.
Rochard is a Sci-Fi side-scrolling Platform Game developed by Recoil Games and published by Sony Online Entertainment. It came out on September 27, 2011, for PlayStation 3 in the United States, and in Europe the following day. The game was released for Steam worldwide on November 15.
The Opening Narration above covers most of what you need to know. It's Twenty Minutes Into the Future. You are John Rochard, hard-working Asteroid Miner. You're down on your luck, your equipment is falling apart and no sooner does your crew turn up a mysterious find than Space Pirates show up to ruin your day. Time to show them the door.
You begin the game with a G-Lifter: a handy tool that can grab certain objects (mostly crates) and toss them about. Gameplay involves negotiating various rooms occupied by physics-based puzzles and enemies. You can move objects with the G-Lifter and engage low-gravity at will in order to solve these puzzles. To fight enemies, you can jump on their heads, hit them with the G-Lifter, or toss objects at them. Or just shoot them, once you have the Rock Blaster upgrade. Or blow them up, when you get Explosium charges.
The game received largely favorable reviews and happens to have a bit of star power behind it: Jon St. John provides the voice of Rochard, and Markus "Captain" Kaarlonen of Poets of the Fall composed the soundtrack, with the full band on board for the theme song, "Grinder's Blues". The soundtrack can be bought with the game for a modest price.
Rochard provides examples of:
- Actor Allusion: During a conversation where they discuss his odds of success, Skyler says to Rochard: "Always bet on the miner."
- Ancient Astronauts: The Greys! Floyd claims they came to Earth ages ago and created man, or at least the Native Americans. The temples, the disc and the statue Maximilian seeks are of their making.
- Arc Words: It's all connected...
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Skyler's Uncle Floyd describes Maximilian as having lost his true path--and quite possibly cheats at poker.
- Asteroid Miners: John and his crew, Skyler and Zander. The three of them have the physical prowess to prove it.
- Attack Drone: Found throughout the game, usually armed with a small pulse laser but occasionally a much more damaging continuous-fire beam. The ones with the beam have flame-colored paint-jobs.
- Bottomless Magazines: The Rock Blaster is limited only by a heat meter.
- Chekhov's Gun: One of the parts John brings back to the mine in the intro is a critical component for something called Switchblade. Zander claim's he's fixed it. Later on, When Rochard needs to get back to the Zeronimo Casino, he finds that Maximilian overlooked one particular craft...
- Cool Ship: Switchblade.
- Crate Expectations: Though of greater use then in most games. You can't break them, but you can toss them at enemies or stack them to reach high places. There are some areas with see-saw puzzles or weight-sensitive platforms where they also come in handy.
- Died in Your Arms Tonight: Poor Zander...
- Big Fun: Rochard, contrasting Lean and Mean Maximilian.
- Cliff Hanger: John and Skyler end up getting sucked through the portal to wherever Maximilian ended up.
- Bottomless Pit: Rare, but present.
- The Chick: Skyler. Looking at her though, you wouldn't be surprised if she did bust a few heads.
- Expy: The G-Lifter, of Half Life's Gravity Gun. It can pick up physics objects and throw them, and even gains an Eleventh-Hour Superpower that turns it blue and enables it to pick up people.
- Foreshadowing: When John finds the Super Prototype "Helga" G-Lifter, he wonders why it's already been activated. Cue its lights continuing to flash after John and Skyler get sucked into the portal...
- Energy Weapons: The Rock Blaster upgrade for the G-Lifter, and pretty much any enemy weapon that isn't a missile.
- The Engineer: John, to an extent. His bright-yellow mining jumpsuit and matching hat helps the image.
- Exploding Barrels: Smaller then most, useful mostly for picking up with the G-Lifter and tossing them at enemies.
- Goomba Stomp: Landing on a human enemy is a One-Hit Kill.
- Goggles Do Nothing: John's goggles are always on his hat.
- Gravity Screw: You can engage low gravity at will in most areas, after hitting a specific switch. This is needed to lift the large crates and clear many jumps. However, you will occasionally enter a room that is stuck in low gravity, or even has inverted gravity.
- Hey, It's That Voice!: Jon St. John as John Rochard! More subtly, you may recognize Skyler as the female announcer (no, not the "sexy" one) from Unreal Tournament 2004.
- Incredibly Lame Pun: It's pronounced Row-Chard, but considering John's occupation and the games tagline, you wouldn't be blamed for thinking it was "Rock Hard".
- Infinite Supplies: The Explosium charges can be refilled an unlimited number of times at special dispensers, which are always found near where you need to use the charges.
- MacGuffin: The disc.
- Magical Native American: Subverted by Floyd. Though he does wear feathers in his hair, his powers are limited to being a pretty good shot and having studied the Precursors at length. When he starts talking serious Magi Babble, Skyler knows he's stalling.
- Native American Casino: IN SPACE! Floyd owns the Zeronimo casino. Many parts of it are decorated to look like the Arizona badlands.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The crew could have been saved a trip to Skyrig Headquarters if Floyd had not lost the disc to Maximilian in a poker game.
- One-Hit Kill: John's melee attacks and Goomba Stomps. Inversely, touching the lasers emitted by the large stationary cannons will kill him instantly.
- One-Liner: John has a few, of a decidedly southern-fried flavor.
Rochard: "Haha, ya'll come back now!"
- Percussive Maintenance: How John upgrades the G-Lifter.
Rochard: "Beat it to fit, an' paint it to match!"
- Pistol-Whipping: You can hit enemies with the butt of the G-Lifter.
- Running Gag: Maximilian's height. He's repeatedly described as "that short-legged guy."
- Sentry Gun: Laser turrets abound. They're easy enough to destroy, and can even be grabbed and tossed at enemies with a certain upgrade.
- Southern-Fried Genius: John, to some extent. He's clever, knows his way around his equipment and even manages to keep up with at least some of Floyd's exposition about The Greys.
- Space Pirates: The Wild Boys. They're pretty dumb, but numerous and have Attack Drones and Sentry Guns
- Stuff Blowing Up: Drones and turrets blow up when destroyed, as do the occasional glowing red canisters. You can do this yourself with remotely-detonated Explosium charges.
- Wreaking Havok: All over the place. Among other things, you can fire a crate away from yourself while in the air in low gravity, and get an extra boost.
- Villainous Widow's Peak: Maximilian. This might clue you in early as to his status as the Big Bad.
- Voice with an Internet Connection: This is Skyler's main role. She opens some doors for you and alerts you when enemies are closing in.