film & game reviews, the retro way.
Arcade, SNES, Sega Master System, PS2, GC, more
How have I not reviewed Rampart before?
Here’s a classic game in which the chief goal is to gather “one more castle” and then another, and another until you annihilate your opponent with the help of countless well-placed cannons.
The strategy game, developed by Atari Games back in 1990, may not sound too epic on paper: build your castle, shoot at something, rebuild your castle. And yet playing it is not only a tense experience but a very fun one also, especially when trying out the multiplayer mode which allows you to destroy your friend’s castle, laughing at them as they weep hot tears onto their controllers (or joysticks) when they realise they just can’t rebuilt the damage you caused in time.
It can be a fierce battle, mostly thanks to that time limit which purposely doesn’t help when you’re trying to expand your kingdom as well as keep your castles safe and take down the opposition.
Tower defence games, of course, are now everywhere and quite popular, especially since people can even play them on their phones. Some of those do lack a certain sense of urgency though and, often, you’re kind of just waiting for enemies to pass by your towers, hoping that whatever you’ve set up works.
The battles in Rampart are short and nail-biting and the war can be either short also or surprisingly long.
In the one-player mode, you’re mostly shooting at navy ships that, somehow, seem to have as many cannons as you do even though they’re barely the size of one of your cannons.
It’s very tempting to fill your castle with cannons every time but that can make it harder to repair your walls since they can’t be removed once you’ve placed them.
I mean, have you seen the size of those things?
You could shoot a hole in the Moon with one of those bad boys.
In terms of ships, there are different ones you face throughout the game, some easy to sink, others not so much. In certain ports of the game, your cannons can be upgraded, though. So there’s one reason to grab the SNES version. You can also go for the PC version which includes a little more detail and texture when it comes to the graphics.
If you happen to lose the game, get ready for a surprisingly dark ending.
I was fighting for my life this whole time?!
Had I known I wouldn’t have played so terribly!
The aftermath is, wisely, never shown but it’s pretty clear what’s about to happen and it’s not all that pleasant. If anything, this shot should have been at the start of the game, just to give you an idea of what you’re fighting for thereby making sure you give this war your best shot.
I should also point out that the way in which you repair your walls or annex other castles is by placing certain shapes, some of which Tetris shapes, where the gaps are and making sure the walls are all tied up together.
The arcade port of Rampart is definitely worth playing as are many of the other available ports: it’s a unique shoot-’em-up puzzle game which still puts some of the games it inspired to shame.
The message I’ll leave you with for today is:
Fighting not good.
But if must fight.
A great man once said that to me.
In a movie about a Karate Kid who paints fences and likes to dress up like showers.
Just make sure you repair quickly and don’t get too greedy, otherwise some knight will stare at you creepily while you’re trying to find your contact lens in a basket which just happens to be located below a guillotine operated by a half naked faceless man.
Don’t you just hate it when that happens?