Retro Rated: Rampage

Factfile
Developed by: Bally Midway
Released: 1986
Format played: Sega Master System

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Ruminations

Stomp! Roar! Smash!

Er, sorry. Rampage sees you take control of one of three mutated monsters, stomping through the city, smashing everything in your path. Out to stop you are the army, tooled up with guns, helicopters and tanks.

This is simplicity itself. Taking a whistle stop tour across America, your beastie has to smash up all the buildings in the level. He can climb up the side of them and walk on top, punching left, right, up or down.

If a pesky helicopter flies too close, swat out a mutated hand to smash him out of the sky. POW!

That tank rumbling just a little too close to your toes? Pulverise him with one of your hairy, clunking fists. SMACK!

Soldier hanging out of the window firing hot death in your eye balls? Snatch him out of the window and gobble him down. NOM NOM!

Your health decreases with each hit you take or every time a building collapses, sending you crashing to the floor. Your best bet is to get to the top of the structure and smash your way down, hopefully reaching the ground before it collapses in on itself.

Watch out for those office workers though, still trying to go about their business amongst the carnage. Grab them out of their chairs and gobble them down for extra energy and giggles. Other goodies pop up too, some helpful (food) others less so (toasters!).

When your health reaches zero, your hulking great monster reverts to human form as you scuttle off screen amusingly, hiding your modesty.

For extra carnage, rope in a mate or two, battling it out for the best pick ups and thwacking them in the face when they least expect it.

It’s fun but very limited. Once you’ve seen one level you’ve seen them all with only cursory variation and increasing levels of difficulty driving you on.

Fun fact – for some reason Rampage is being made into a (creature) feature film starring none other than The Rock himself, Dwayne Johnson, teaming up once again with the director of San Andreas. Which, interestingly enough, makes this the second Dwayne Johnson game / film adaptation to receive the review treatment, after Spy Hunter.

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Conversion Capers

Rampage started out in the arcade but such a simple concept quickly made its way to the various home formats.

The Master System version featured is graphically fairly simple. Colours are somewhat washed out and detail is in limited supply but it’s nice enough. Sound is fairly appalling with annoying music that plays throughout but in general this is a fair conversion job.

The Atari 2600 version is a sight to behold. I always have a degree of respect for any arcade conversion onto this most humble of machines and goodness knows, the programmers have tried but yeesh! Your beast becomes a misshapen blob, buildings become blocks of colour, damage becomes a black line down the middle of the building. It’s not good.

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So let’s end back with the original. Gameplay is broadly the same but the power of the cabinet is evident with clean, crisp visuals, suitably snarling, aggressive looking protagonists and incidental details aplenty. To enjoy Rampage at its best, this really is the only option.

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Worth playing?

Fun for a quick diversion, especially if you have a mate or two to rope in but this is a limited time filler.

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