Do you like speed? No, not the drug; as in, going fast? Like, super fast! Blast processing fast even! Speeding along grassy fields, zooming through loop de loops while collecting things and taking out robot baddies along the way? If all this sounds fun to you then boy do I have the game for you! No, I’m not talking about that blue Hedgehog, I’m talking about Socket! The greatest time traveling robot duck thing in all the land! Okay, maybe that’s going a bit too far but in all seriousness I’m not entirely sure what the heck Socket is. Maybe he’s a cyborg duck? Well whatever he is, his game is one of the most blatant rip offs of Sonic the Hedgehog ever and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Right from the get go you know you are in for a Sonic clone. The very first level is called High Speed Area. Each level consists of three acts and each act has a different theme. The first act in every level is the High Speed area and they have no shame in copying Sonic. You’ll find yourself speeding along, bouncing off springs and going through speed boosters. Instead of rings you collect lightning bolts which double as health. Yeah, nothing like Sonic at all. Act two is what the game refers to as “Athletic Area” which is basically your typical platforming level. Less focus on speed, more on jumping around killing robot baddies. Yes, robot baddies, but here you won’t find any cute animals inside. The last act is the “Labyrinth Area” and it’s just a maze. Well a maze/platformer and once you reach the end you fight a boss. It’s usually some weird flying bat werewolf thing.
I know my descriptions are odd but I have nothing to work with here! There is no story at the start of the game. It just goes straight to the High Speed Area. I even let the game sit on the title screen hoping a story would start. I don’t have the instruction manual to this game anymore so it could be one of those cases where the story is in the instruction book. I doubt that though as that was mostly done for NES games. During the 16 bit era if a game had story it was in the game itself. I even went as far as to check Wikipedia and there is nothing there about the story. So basically you got a robotic duck who is trying to stop the evil vampire bat werewolf monster from… ending time? I think I’m trying too hard. Just play it and don’t ask questions.
Socket stays alive by electricity, so he must keep a charge or you lose a life. The meter at the bottom of the screen doubles as a life meter and a time meter. The meter slowly starts to deplete and you must collect the lightning bolts to stay alive. Take damage and you lose a chunk of the meter. There are your typical power ups to collect. They are in little glass bubbles and basically consist of invincibility and a force field. Socket’s main attack is what I like to call the lightning kick. He just kicks an enemy with a bolt of lightning. The game is pretty easy. I managed to complete it without having to use a continue. I did enjoy the game for what it is and I would recommend it to my fellow retro gamers out there. Just know it’s nothing special and it has some interesting characters.
The music is fantastic! I actually have the soundtrack downloaded it’s that good. Seriously give the game a try or listen to the music on YouTube. I guarantee you’ll be humming the songs in no time. And people say the Genesis had horrible sound! I scoff at these claims and dare you to listen to this game’s soundtrack or any of the Sonic the Hedgehog soundtracks and still say the Genesis had horrible sound! This game’s soundtrack is in my top 10 for the Genesis, that’s for sure.
I don’t think a reboot of Socket would be a good idea. Time has forgotten about the robot duck and kids today wouldn’t recognize him so once again the game would go by mostly unnoticed. I was lucky enough to rent it as a kid and experience it back then but in today’s market I just don’t see much of an audience. Maybe a Virtual Console release on the Wii U or 3DS eshop. Sega has been putting games on PSN for awhile now. I know they don’t own Socket but maybe it could get a PSN port as well. Overall, the game is fun for what it is and has great music. There isn’t a story that I could find minus a very short “cut scene” at the end which confuses me even more. Maybe I missed something. If anyone reading this knows the story of Socket be sure to let me know in the comments!
Chris Carboni or, as he’s better known on Twitter, Retrocore_RCVGM is a retro gamer who loves almost anything to do with old games. He can find fun in games that most would consider to be bad but that’s just because he is a Bad Dude. Bad enough to both rescue the President and not be a tuna head at the same time.