Rock of Ages is Atlus’s second release this summer (Catherine being their first). The two are very different games, with Catherine being a retail release puzzler and Rock of Ages being a downloadable, tower defense/strategy/third person/racing game hybrid. However, the two do share the similarity of being absurd, sanity-questioning over-the-top mayhem, and it makes each of them great in their own way.
The story in Rock of Ages starts with a man named Sisyphus in Hades, forced by Cronus (also known as Saturn) to push a rock up a hill for what seems like eternity, until Sisyphus decides he’s had enough and chooses to exact revenge on Cronus. However, he doesn’t stop there. He decides to go on a rampage through the ages to defeat all the ‘bad guys’ from ancient history.
The story isn’t exactly the main staple of the game, but does add a decent amount of mad entertainment. It can be quite satirical at times in the cutscenes before gameplay. A few examples being Gandalf randomly appearing and shouting “You shall not pass!” followed by him getting squashed by the rock, or when Charles III decides to go hunting and the screen cuts to Doom-like first person shooter, completel with Doom-like music playing.
You control the rock (creatively named “Sisyphus’ buddy”) and travel from time period to time period to defeat each terrible historical person that stands in your way by going to “war” with them. War is the main gameplay system which is a strange mix of tower defense, third person action, and racing to some extent. The round starts off with an overhead view of the map where you can place passive defenses (like explosives) or active defenses (like elephants that attack your opponent) to try and slow down or break your opponent’s rock. At the same time, your opponent does the same. Both you and your opponent have the same track, but you are on opposite sides of each other, so neither of you can tamper with the one another. While all this is happening, your rock is being built, which is shown in the bottom left corner. After the rock is built you can activate it whenever you want. After you’ve activated your rock, the tower defense stops and the third person rocking starts.
We’ll finish “rocking out” on the next page!