Rampage (Activision) Review | Commodore User - Everygamegoing

Commodore User

By Activision
Commodore 64/128

Published in Commodore User #52


If you ever felt like eating a skyscraper but were afraid it might disagree with you then Rampage is the game for you.

You can literally destroy giant buildings by smashing your fists through their walls and watching them tumble to the ground with that characteristic puff of dust at ground level as the building collapses into a heap of rubble.

This coin-op conversion from Activision is definitely in the 'cult' league. It's not one of your 'state of the art' Sega jobs but - like Bubble Bobble and Bomb Jack for example - it has a loyal and devoted band of supporters. It is one of those games that is going to last. They'll still be playing it on a wet Sunday afternoon at your local seaside pier sometime in 1993.

The graphics were not spectacular on the original coin-op and the Commodore rendition of them won't have you standing back and gasping in amazement either.

But never mind about that. There is more to a good game than pretty pictures. It's the playability that makes Rampage so appealing - and this is the reason for the game's abiding popularity.

The plot is hilarious in the best tradition of over-the-top American and Japanese B-movies. Three ordinary American kids slide into their local burger joint to pig out on 'Big Mucks' completely unaware that the Research Laboratory had slipped some experimental food additives into the grub. The result - Lizzie, George and Ralph are turned, Incredible Hulk-like, into monsters bent on smashing the city to smithereens.

Of course, the authorities are not going to stand by and watch their finest buildings to be demolished so they send in the army with tanks blasting you, snipers taking potshots at you from the windows of the buildings, and helicopter gunships strafing you from the air.

But it takes a great deal of lead to sink a Rampage Burger Monster so the main thing you have to worry about are your mutated friends who tend to swing their mighty fists at you if they feel you are interfering with their own demolition enjoyment.

Points are earned for the buildings destroyed - each time you bash out a section of the wall points are monitored in your score box at the top of the screen. You have to be quick though - if you don't smash them yourself your mutated friends will. Only when all of the buildings have been destroyed can you progress to the next city and, as there are fifty cities in the game, it can be a fairly lengthy challenge.

Three people can play Rampage simultaneously - two on the joystick and one on the keyboards. I have to say though that it is a considerable disadvantage playing it on the keyboard.

The control of the monsters is a part of the game that could have been improved. The monsters can walk right and left, jump from building to building or along the ground, and swing their fists up, down, left, right or backwards. It is good fun but it would have been much better if the implementation of these moves was just that little bit crisper.

As you enjoy your orgy of destruction, your monster will need to eat more or less constantly to keep his energy barometer topped up. Various morsels including human beings appear at the windows and the best rule of thumb is, if it moves eat it. You should however go easy on the toasters and TV's as these sap your energy points - as do direct hits from the snipers tanks and guns.

There are some funnies packed into the graphics - like when a monster runs out of energy he shrinks down in size to human dimensions again and limps off screen nakedly [Put that Basildon Bond away, Mums and Dads - you can't see anything offensive! - Ed]

My personal favourite is watching the helicopters go into a spin when your monster punches skywards.

Rampage fans are not going to be disappointed with this one. Sure it lacks a bit of graphical polish but all of the essential gameplay elements that made the Bally Midway game the smash that it was in the arcades are here to play on your C64. Good fun and definitely one of the games I'll be playing on Boxing Day and long after.

Eugene Lacey

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