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PC gamer, WorthPlaying EIC, globe-trotting couch potato, patriot, '80s headbanger, movie watcher, music lover, foodie and man in black -- squirrel!

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'Boom Boom Rocket' (X360) - 4 Screens

by Rainier on March 27, 2007 @ 4:28 a.m. PDT

EA announced its launch onto Xbox Live Arcade with Boom Boom Rocket, a hypnotic rhythm music game conceived by EA’s casual games design team and Bizarre Creations, known for the Project Gotham Racing franchise.

The game itself is a simple concept, but taken to extremes. The aim is easy: press the corresponding button for each firework as it hits a line at the top of the screen, and it'll explode. The more accurate you are with your button presses, the higher your score. The person with the highest score wins. Easy stuff... you're probably already familiar with the concept from games like DDR.

However (and this is a big however), Boom Boom Rocket introduces a few new ideas to the tried and tested formula which we think make the game really fun to play. The first thing is the idea of pure speed. We don't have to worry about complicated peripherals to make this game fun... its game pad only, and it's FAST. Within a couple of rounds you'll be setting off huge numbers of fireworks as if it were second nature... and much of the fun comes from the fact that your fingers will be moving at Mach 3 on the harder difficulties.

Another new idea is the concept of multipliers, and bonus runs. We love points-based games here at Bizarre (PGR, GW, and The Club all have elements of this), and Boom Boom Rocket is no exception! Again, the idea is simple... but the tactics can get pretty in-depth.

As you successfully detonate fireworks, the bar will fill. The big number is your current score multiplier. It starts at x1, and eventually hits x4 when the bar is full. Needless to say, you'll get double the points when it's on x2, treble the points at x3, etc. However, if you miss any fireworks your bar will drain a little, and potentially your multiplier could drop. The game ends if your bar empties.

When your bar is all sparkly, you can hit either of the triggers to activate your Bonus Run. For a limited time the graphics will go all crazy, the crowd will go wild, and you'll get a massive x8 multiplier. It's big points time! The catch is that it only lasts for 20 seconds, so you'll want to save up your bonus runs for the busy parts of the song. There's nothing worse than activating your bonus run, only for the fireworks to naturally slow down and valuable points to be lost!

The best players will no doubt save their runs for the busiest part of the songs... usually the chorus. More fireworks = more points. You have to be careful though! If you miss any fireworks whilst on your run it'll end, so measuring risk vs reward is a big part of becoming a Boom Boom professional.

The soundtrack is a slight departure from what you'd normally expect from a music rhythm game. Boom Boom Rocket features classical tunes, but they've all been remixed to more contemporary themes. Ian Livingstone has been hammering away on the music for months now, and it's all coming together nicely. All of the songs will be recognisable to most people, and the classical compositions really suit the gameplay better than most modern pop and rock. I'll get a track list up for you soon...

The game features three modes of gameplay: Normal, Speed and multiplayer head-to-head. Each song is choreographed into three skill levels to ensure that everyone can join in the fun. Successfully chain fireworks to fill the bonus meter and activate the psychedelic bonus mode for extra points. Players can unlock new firework designs by mastering each music track. You can also utilize the connected online element and see how their scores compare with other players on the Boom Boom Rocket leaderboard.

The game is scheduled to go live Spring 2007 and is EA’s first title on Xbox Live Arcade.

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