i’ve randomly had a copy of rampage: total destruction for wii for ages, and i finally sat down to give it some quality time. i’ll get back to that game in my next post, because i focused first on the original arcade version that’s included as an extra and incidentally is also available on other collections such as midway arcade treasures.
for anyone who doesn’t already know, rampage casts you as one of three monsters (basically king kong, godzilla, and a huge werewolf), and your only goal is to “rampage” from single-screen city to single-screen city, punching all the buildings enough so that they crumble to the ground. i have vague memories of seeing rampage in arcades when i was a kid (i think partly because it was memorable that when you’re defeated your naked untransformed human self slinks off screen) and a big draw was that you could play with not just one other person, but two. the game has the same mindless co-op appeal typical of beat-’em-ups, but the premise gives the setting and gameplay (or “theme and fun” as nintendo power would call it) a unique feel. for 1986 the game is quite well presented, and the hulking monsters strike a pretty good balance of being slow-moving but still easy to control.
the game is definitely designed to be a quarter muncher, though, as it becomes immediately clear that the humans have the advantage and are going to win out in the end, especially considering that the game loops after day 128. after playing through more than 30 levels i had had enough, even though the ability to eat humans somehow never seems to get old. the three characters seem to be interchangeable (although it’s nice to see they made one of them be a female), and the different cities you visit are completely indistinguishable: the gameplay is pretty much exactly the same from level to level. if i’d actually had to pump in real quarters to a machine i would’ve strategized a bit more, but it’s hard to imagine progressing very far on one quarter even with the optimum strategy in place (chasing a high score isn’t emphasized much here since there are unlimited continues). the human sprites, bullets, and items are all a bit too small, so much so that i don’t even recall seeing many of the items that are apparently in the game.
despite these complaints, the game is mindless fun and good for a half hour of co-op gaming. it’s fairly easy to accidentally punch or jump on your buddy, but that just adds to the co-op entertainment factor. on the boyfriend-o-meter this one scored surprisingly high, and i suspect that it’ll also be enjoyed by similarly casual gamers.
rampage through these rampage links!
– good overview of the game at arcade-history.com
– thorough FAQ at gamefaqs
– entry on the game and the series at wikipedia
– apparently a movie is in the works??
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