film & game reviews, the retro way.

REVIEW

DEVELOPER/PUBLISHER

Bally Midway

DESIGNERS

Brian Colin

Jeff Nauman

GENRE

Action

PLATFORMS

Arcade, SMS, NES, Lynx

RELEASE DATE

1986

Monsters are cool.

Video games are also cool so you can imagine how cool Rampage is.

Unless you’ve played it, in which case you already know.

The Midway arcade game, which dates back to 1986, gives you three characters to choose from: King Kong, Godzilla and The Wolfman. Or, since those iconic characters are not actually licensed in the game, let’s just call them George, Lizzie and Ralph and make them humans who have somehow mutated into the giant beasts we see before us.

Man these guys (and gal) look angry.

They’re so angry, in fact, that they are planning on destroying THE ENTIRE WORLD!

(or the U.S. and parts of Canada, at least)

Building by building!

 

No human will be left uncrushed, no window will be left unbroken, no bridge will be left standing.

And all because these people were idiotic enough to let themselves be experimented on by a company called Scumlabs.

Now I don’t see myself as an intellectual, a thinker.

Maybe I’m smart sometimes but I’m dumb often.

Like, daily often.

 

But even I would have second thoughts about dealing with a corporation called Scumlabs. These people must have wanted to turn into giant monsters because otherwise, why would they take their anger out on innocent civilians?

 

If you were working for Scumlabs and something bad happened: totally your fault.

 

Now if you were kidnapped by Scumlabs and forced to take some untested experimental serum then you’d be a victim, granted, but why then destroy Toronto, eh?

Not cool.

 

Let’s see what some of these idiots used to look like to try and get some answers:

Right, so Lizzie the Lizard is, indeed, a victim. Albeit one who somehow didn’t notice that the lake she was swimming in was green and fuming.

 

George, however, is Ashton Kutcher.

 

Ashton may have meant well when he came up with this new vitamin, whatever it is, but why test it on himself? Was he working for Scumlabs or Dumblabs at that point? Why not test it on a creature no-one cares about?

 

 

Come to think of it, trying it on Ashton Kutcher kinda makes sense…

 

Never mind.

 

Anyway, the aim of the game, you’ve guessed it, is to destroy whatever buildings happen to be on screen as well as whatever’s shooting at you.

You can punch upwards, downwards, to the right, to the left, climb skyscrapers on either side, jump on stuff, eat people, take your pick. This is cruel, mindless destruction at its most free. The only thing that could have possibly made this chaotic display even more awesome is if, about 20 levels in, the characters all merged into one freakishly tall Batman.

 

A Batman the size… of a tangerine.

 

One mighty, mighty huge tangerine.

 

In terms of levels, you do change settings though they all sort of look the same and it does get slightly harder but not much more so. This is the kind of game you play more for the high score or as some kind of crazy challenge involving beating all 128 levels and gloating about it. Since playing with two other players means that you can fight each other, even eat each other in some cases, part of the fun is screwing up the other player’s game.

Good to know that Dan’s Deli is still open at this hour AND during a monster apocalypse.

Though I wonder how many customers good old Dan gets with a deli located 7 floors up.

 

You can destroy signs like this one during the game, by the way, but occasionally you might get an electric shock from them so it’s probably better to stick to the simple things, like crushing tanks and such. Behind certain windows, you might find food or other random items (bombs, bathtubs…) and those, more often than not, increase your health. Once your health bar is empty, you revert back to your human form and find yourself completely naked.

Which is a bad thing… why?

Isn’t the whole problem that you’ve become a giant ape?

Why would you leave, get more serum then come back riding a Scumlabs blimp?

I mean, don’t get me wrong: it’s insanely fun to destroy those cities and all but the life you’re leading as a giant ape sucks! You’re constantly getting shot at, everyone hates you, even the other mutants hate you, you’re feasting on human flesh…

Fun for a day maybe but ultimately a chore.

You’re also always either covered in blood or turning innocent bystanders into bloody messes, which can’t be good for your new carpet.

It’s a lonely, sticky, unpleasant existence.

And if every King Kong movie has taught us one thing it’s that it never ends well for the King, unless he’s in Japan fighting a big robot version of himself for some reason.

Why not just grab the scientist who turned you into this grotesque beast, threaten to crush him unless he makes an antidote then destroy Scumlabs and blame everything on him is all I’m saying.

To sum up: Rampage is pretty darn cool and it’s still a kickass game to this day. You can play it on various platforms from the NES to the PS2 and there are also sequels though I can’t imagine any of them being quite as purely entertaining as this one.

A highly recommended classic.

TheRetroCritic

RAMPAGE