The Game: You control the destiny of a pixellated rock band. A menu presents you with options to write songs, play concerts, go on tour, or even sign witha record company if you’ve racked up the money and the popularity (and the band still has the energy and drive to work a crowd). You can ask your manager to try to work out some special deals for you, but even success has its dark side – and what’s worse, now the dark side of stardom is randomly generated! (Xonox / K-Tel, 1984)
Memories: This game isn’t Dark Side Of The Moon or Sgt. Pepper. This game isn’t even up to Dr. Demento standards. This game isn’t even “Achy Breaky Heart” and it’s not even the Macarena. Because at least those flash-in-the-pan hits were catchy and compelling on some level, and people came back to them again and again for a feel-good fix. I can’t say the same for It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll for the Colecovision.
Put simply, this post-crash train wreck of a game is, more or less, Taipan, with a different theme, for a console. And you know what? There’s actually room for that. But so much of what happens during the game is completely out of your control and left to chance that it’s frustrating.
The designers of It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll could have offset that by including…well…rock ‘n’ roll. You’d think that since this game only has text and keypad input without the demands of real-time action gaming, and given that it’s a music-themed game, surely the designers could’ve gone balls-to-the-wall with the Colecovision’s more than adequate sound chip and put some actual music in the game. But no. The only sound heard during game play comes in the form of random, non-musical bleeps and bloops. When games like Front Line had already given us pretty amazing music from this machine, there’s simply no excuse.
A resounding disappointment all around. As the game itself says when a concert date goes sour, I lose happiness when I plug this one in. A desirable rarity for completists, but if you’re just looking for a fun little game to play, just leave Donkey Kong in the cartridge slot.