Late in the Gameboy Color lifespan, 2000-2001 a batch of games reached stores from a company who called themselves called Rocket Games.
While it wasn't unusual that Gameboy Color games were released, the odd part about Rocket Games' releases were that they came
without a proper license from Nintendo and seeing unlicened Gameboy games made outside of Asia is quite uncommon.
I later learned that Rocket Games was no other than Datel Design, a company based in the UK who mostly is known for making cheat
devices for various gaming systems, with roots way back to the Nintendo Entertainment System. The device is known as the Action Replay
in Europe and GameShark in the US.
Rocket Games were were sold both from Datel's d3world.com and American InterAct's GameShark website, Datel and InterAct had a pretty close
relationship at the time as pretty much every InterAct product was manufactured by Datel. InterAct however went backrupt in 2003.
A total of 8 games were released by Rocket Games before Datel stopped the production of cartridges. All products were released February 23, 2001.
The 8 games were released on 4 single game cartridges and 2 multigame carts (2 in 1) called "Mega Value Double Pack" carts.
Single game carts had a retail price of £14.99, but later went on sale at £9.99. The multigame packs retailed at
at £19.99 and later went on sale at £14.99.
The following press release was made by InterAct Accessories about the release of Rocket Games. Posted March 30, 2001.
ROCKET GAMES EXCLUSIVELY ON GAMESHARK.COM
The time between Christmas and the Electronic Entertainment Expo is normally painfully slow in terms of game releases.
Factor in developers focusing on all these next-gen systems that are sprouting up everywhere, and it's slim pickings for
us Game Boy gamers...
...until you realize that GameShark.com is offering 8 exclusive Game Boy games that can't be found in any stores, and
that cost less than half as much as other Game Boy titles. These brand new games will help you get through the gaming
industry's downtime, and right into the post E3 release gaming bonanza.
Even when nobody else cares what you're playing, GameShark.com and Rocket Games have you covered. Check out the exclusive
ATV Racing - Classic racing action on those cool 4-Wheelers that your parents won't buy you. Race on 9 different tracks
against 3 other riders across varied terrain. Perform jumps and tricks on your custom-colored ATV as you compete to the
ATV Champion's cup.
Full Time and Hang Time Mega Pack - Double your value with 2 games on one Game Pak. Full Time is a Soccer simulator,
featuring 8 tactical formations, 8 different types of fields, and 32 teams to choose from. Hang Time is a basketball
title with 8 different teams, the ability to set up plays, 3 types of game modes. You'll get more sports games for
your money with this Mega Pack.
Karate Joe - There's a new boss in town, and his gangs are taking over the city. He's got thugs on every corner waiting
to take you out. But you're not a run-of-the-mill videogame character. You're Karate Joe, and you're going to fight your
way through 18 levels to free the city in this side-scrolling action-adventure.
Painter - Painting pipes was never so exciting. It's up to you to keep the leaks under control in this classic style puzzle
game. Over 20 levels and tons of baddies will test your skill and patience as you strive to protect the plumbing. As the
back of the box says, "God speed, young painter..."
Pocket Smashout and Race Time Mega Pack - It's not just sports games that get the Mega Pack treatment to save you money.
Pocket Smashout is a new take on the classic brick breaking genre. Knock out the bricks to rack up points and reveal cool
anime pictures underneath them. Race Time is a top down racer for your Game Boy. Choose from 6 different tracks and 4
different skill levels to challenge even the most seasoned racer.
Space Invasion - Space Invasion takes the classic alien invasion genre a step further with full color action, tons of
levels, and a variety of aliens, each armed with a different weapon. It's up to you and your three shields to protect the
Rocket Games are $9.99 for regular titles, and $14.99 for the Mega Packs. They're available only at GameSharkGear.com.
None of the Rocket Games titles were programmed in-house by Datek, instead the games were made by smaller game developers.
Painter by Incognito Games Limited.
An addictive game similar to Pesky Painter on the Commodore 64 or Amidar in the Arcades. written by the people at Incognito Games Limited though it
says Freestylez on the intro screen.
Incognito is a software developer with roots back to the Spectrum days, now mostly producing games for cell phones but who have also been responsible for serveral GBA titles such as Thunderbirds (SCI),
Mortal Kombat Advance (Midway), Rocky (Rage), Samurai Jack (BAM Entertainment) as well as GBC titles such as European Soccer League (Virgin Interactive), Cool Bricks (SCI) and of course Rocket Games' unlicensed Painter.
Game Objective |
Painter is an 8 way scrolling multi-level arcade / puzzle game with various enemies to hinder your progress. the levels become progressively harder as you work your way through all of the 20+ levels. The object of the game is to paint all of the pipes to fill in the squares and progress to the next level.
The underground water pipes of "Drip City" are in urgent need of a fresh coat of paint to protect them from the elements, avoid them going rusty and interrupting the cities water supply. However in the murky depths of the underground network lies the real reason for the deterioration of the pipes. Several vile nasty creatures hell bent on destruction and wreaking havoc in the cities underground supply, can only make your task more difficult.
It is imperative that you work quickly and efficiently to ensure the city's safe and clean water supply.
God speed, young painter....
Oddly though, Painter is no longer mentioned on Incognito's softpedia.
The underground water pipes of "Drip City" are in urgent need of a fresh coat of paint to protect them from the elements, avoid them going rusty and interrupting the cities water supply. However in the murky depths of the underground network lies the real reason for the deterioration of the pipes. Several vile nasty creatures hell bent on destruction and wreaking havoc in the cities underground supply, can only make your task more difficult. |
It is imperative that you work quickly and efficiently to ensure the city's safe and clean water supply.
God speed, young painter...
Karate Joe by Octopus Studio.
Probably one of the best Rocket Games titles released. Sadly the history of the developer is no where to be found.
The story so far... |
A new boss now rules the city - His gangs are everywhere - oppressing citizens! Your task is to be dude enough to beat the evil gangs with just your bare hands and feet!
Fight your way around the city from downtown, to the car park, then the commercial centre, to the underground and more!
Discover lots of enemies and tricks along the way!
But most of all bring peace back to the city!
Space Invasion by Thalamus Interactive.
Here's a game programmed by a developer I've actually heard of before, Thalamus. Jon Wells who worked for Thalamus at the time developed this Space Invaders clone, called Space Invasion, during a mere 3 months
and did both game programming, audio programming, music and sfx production.
Space Invasion follows a simple yet classic formula: destroy the waves of aliens before they descend to the surface and wipe out your ship. You are armed with a limitless supply of bullets, and has three 'shields' which you must use as protection from the enemy firepower. |
The game is divided into five Stages, each Stage comprising of ten Waves. Each Stage is set on a different backdrop (representing a different part of the solar system), and features a wide array of alien types, some of which fire bullets, some firing lasers, and some dropping bombs.
Space Invasion was originally distributed freely by Thalamus along with some other early products. The original freeware version can be downloaded here.
Your mission in Space Invasion is simple: destroy the waves of aliens before they descend to the surface and wipe out your ship. Armed with a limitless supply of bullet, and only three 'shields' as protection from the enemy firepower, each of the five stages feature a wide array of alien types. |
Instantly accessible arcade action
Over 20 different alien types
Five different Stages
Fifty challenging attack waves
Wide array of options and cheats
Thalamus is now known as Scary Fish Ltd. What's odd though is that Thalamus' name is left out in the Rocket Games release of Space Invasion.
Another little piece of information - the title tune from Space Invasion is called "Delta" and is actually featured in another demo from from Thalamus called UGB Player.
ATV Racing by ???.
Get ready for breakneck, adrenaline fuelled full-on ATV bike racing. Incorporating bright, colourful and smooth 3D graphics, ATV Racing is a classic overhead racing experience. |
ATV Racing includes:
2 game modes:
- Classic racing gameplay
- An extremely fast and smooth game engine
- Advanced bike handling including power sliding
- Different jumps and stunts on each track
- On track speed-ups
- 9 different racetracks set over 3 varied track environments
- Practice mode
- Competition mode with 3 separate Championships
- Customise your ATV bike colours
- Race against 3 other AI racers
Pocket Smash Out by Eleven Strong 11s.
Pocket Smashout is based on the classic multi-level arcade / puzzle game 'BREAKOUT' with the various levels all themed with exciting Manga graphics. The levels become progressively harder as you work your way
through all of the 16+ levels. There are over 90 different brick layout patterns in the Championship and with the harder levels being kept till last there is more than enough challenge for even the most
experienced player. The object of the game is to 'fire' your ball at the bricks and catch it on the rebound (watch out for those bonus balls !!) and progress to the next level. |
RaceTime by DAG.
Race Time is a fun racing game in which you can take control of one of four cars in a fast paced race to the finish. |
In Race Time you play on one of 6 tracks with any one of 10 cars and can play each of these with 4 different skill levels. Single race
Race one of 6 tracks against 3 other (AI) opponents
Aim: get the quickest time
FullTime by DAG.
Full Time is a football game which whilst not a simulation gives fun game of football that allows you to use all the skills in real football in the game. |
Full Time has 16 club teams and 16 national teams, 8 pitch types, 8 tactical formations, as well as 3 types of game mode.
HangTime by DAG.
Hang Time is modelled on the sport of basketball. It is essentially a fun game which although heavily based on the sport is not a simulation. |
Hang Time has many teams and possibilities that can be used to vary the game. The game features 8 international teams, 3 tactical formations, 3 types of game mode as well as variable skill and speed levels.
Hang time is simple to play but takes time to master.
In the final days of the games being on sale at Datel's website, the games were sold as "cart only" and were missing the original stickers. Instead a plain black and white sticker was attached.
During the cleanout sale you would get the four single game carts for £9.99 and the two double packs for £9.99.
Back in April 2001, Datel released a gadget for the PlayStation 2 called Game Studio. While there's wasn't much studio to it, the device was capable of emulating Gameboy games on the PlayStation 2. Included in the
box was a special adapter which was to be inserted into memory slot 1 on the PlayStation 2 and then any Gameboy/Gameboy Color game could be inserted.
But that was not all, in the package was also a cartridge called "Games To-Go", which could be used to flash any one of the 8 Rocket Games titles to. The 8 games were included on the Game Studio "game disc".
The "Games To-Go" cartridge could then be used in a Gameboy "on the go". An extra little feature in the Gameboy emulator was a built-in Action Replay cheat device.
GameStudio sold for £39.99.
While both the GameStudio and Rocket Games titles were being sold, Datels daughter company ThinIce Media had been making a Gameboy Magazine called "GBX - Gameboy Extreme Magazine" that along with eash issue included a VHS tape with various
reviews and Datel commercials. The magazine wasn't bad at all, even though it advertised Datel products heavily, but it only lasted for 11 issues before it was merged with another ThinIce product called G-Force Magazine.
Now with the last issue something never before seen happened, GBX included a free Gameboy Color game cartridge instead of the usual VHS tape, and that for only £2.99! The price the magazine normally sold for.
What is odd though is that not all copies of issue 11 had the same game on the cover. The few copies I bought all included a 2in1 with Karate Joe and Space Invasion, however one only had Karate joe on the cover.
I've later learned that a lot of other game combinations for the "Free" cartridge must have existed as I've seen "Space Invasion + Painter" and "ATV Racing + Karate Joe".