With the movie coming out next year I figured this is a good time to step back in time and look at a good game. Originally an arcade game, RAMPAGE was ported to a wide variety of video game consoles such as the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System), the SEGA Master system, and the Atari (Lynx, ST, 2600, and 7800). A decade later, RAMPAGE: WORLD TOUR was released for the arcade and then ported to a wide range of consoles such as the PlayStation, Sega Saturn, Nintendo 64, GameBoy Color, etc. Then, it got sequel after sequel made exclusively for video game consoles. The last game to be released was RAMPAGE: TOTAL DESTRUCTION for the Nintendo Gamecube, PlayStation 2, and Nintendo Wii. Each game would add new elements that the previous game didn't have like new monsters, new abilities, new stages, and so on.
RAMPAGE is a cartoony game where you play as the monsters: George, Lizzie, and Ralph. They were made in a way that parodies King Kong, Godzilla, and the Wolfman. The SEGA Master system has all three monster, but on the NES version you only get two, George and Lizzie, and The Atari Lynx has all three plus one more monster, Larry the giant rat. Your objective is to destroy all buildings on the level in order to move on to the next. The points you gain are from the buildings and vehicles that you destroy. Simple as that. The challenge is staying alive. Everything in this game is out to kill you. Helicopters, soldiers, soldiers with bombs, and even some items you find are harmful if eaten. When you go from one stage to the next you move on to the next stage with the amount of health you have left from the previous level. When you die, your monster turns back into a human. Luckily, there is food to restore your health. You can restore your health by eating turkey, fruit, and people. The whole rampage starts in Peoria, Illinois traveling across America and ending at Plano, Illinois. On the Sega Master system, you start in San Fransisco, California instead.
For its time, RAMPAGE was probably one of the better games, but it does not hold up as well today. It may have been better if I played it on a console or arcade cabinet like it was intended for and for now the only place I can access this game is on the internet. I even tried playing both versions of the game, the NES version and the SEGA version. So how did both turn out? Let's take a look at the NES version first since this is everywhere.
Nintendo Entertainment System:
The controls are simple, but the response is sort of sluggish and sometimes you need to press it twice to get the game to respond. What I find sort of frustrating is that when I want to climb a building I have to make sure I am dead next to the building. I can't be a millimeter away from the building or closer to the building otherwise it doesn't count. Other times, I find my character doing the opposite of what I want it to do. For instance, if I want it to climb a building the monster jumps or looks up instead.
When it comes to graphics it is only okay, but it is sort of hard to see at times because the game uses less color and details. It was hard to even find where the edge of the buildings are at times. I do like the simplicity of it all. I like the silhouette of the city in the background to make the level seem bigger to contrast with everything in the foreground.
What I also like is how in the select screen it tells you how those characters mutated into monsters. For George, it was because of the mega-vitamin and for Lizzie it was because she was exposed to radioactive waste in a lake. It is details like this that I appreciate because the game is giving me at least a little bit of a story as to why these monsters are on a rampage. The only problem I have is selecting a character. If you want to select a character you press the select button. Most games, you just use the D-pad to choose your character so this is one of the rare games that the select button functions as it is supposed to function. Last thing I want to bring up is confusing to me. Usually, RAMPAGE would come with a multiplayer option, but I didn't see it here on the NES version. I know I saw pictures of this version being played in two player mode so there has to be one, but I just didn't see it in the options menu.
SEGA Master System:
The controls feels much more smooth than the NES version. It doesn't feel slow and responds very well to the controls. I had little to no problems climbing, punching, and jumping. It is like I'm playing a game! The only problem I do have is that every time I try to eat a person the monster punches the window instead of grabbing the person. It's another one of those you have to be dead center in order for it to count.
The graphics are smoother and there is a little more detail than the NES version. There is even a little more color to contrast the buildings and your characters.
The main menu is straight forward. You choose if you want to play single player or two players and you choose your characters. There is no story that goes with your character or anything. You choose your character and the game starts immediately. I would have liked to see a little backstory on the characters like the NES version did. I wonder how Ralph mutated into a wolfman since he didn't make the cut on the NES version. It's more fun than the NES version despite being the same game. I played this for at least a couple hours yesterday because I was getting so concentrated on the game that I almost forgot that I was doing a review for it.
RAMPAGE is a pretty fun city smashing game depending on the version your playing. In the end, SEGA really DOES what NintenDON'T.