You may remember our coverage of a visit to an actual classic arcade a few months ago. One game in particular stood out among the rest, and took up quite a bit of our playing time. That game was Rampage, a hilarious, action packed monster fest featuring co-op. Rampage has been quite popular over the years, and has spawned a few sequels/remakes. We'll be taking a look at the original, as well as more modern titles in the series for Co-Op Classics this week.
Rampage is a fairly unique game. Players can choose from a trio of monster stereotypes. You have your King Kong clone, named George. Lizzie, as you'd expect, is a giant lizard clearly patterned after Godzilla. Rounding up the selection is Ralph, an enormous werewolf. Your goal is to destroy all the buildings in one city block. The monsters can jump, punch, and climb buildings. Holes and cracks develop as you continue to spread your wrath across the city, and once a building has taken enough damage, it collapses spectacularly. Just make sure you aren't on top of it when it falls!
Of course, as you allow your destructive impulses to guide you, the hapless humans fight back in various ways. Tanks appear, and can do a fair bit of damage, usually enough to make you stop and stomp them. Helicopters drop bombs your way, too, and these can really hurt. Tiny soldiers come out too, and while they do mosquito-like damage, they are very important because you can eat them to regain health!
The style of the game is quite good, even by modern standards. News bulletins flash about the monster attacks between levels. Some really fun animations really add to the game's charm. When players run out of health, they shrink down, and their human forms, covering up their naked bodies, shuffle off screen. You really feel like you are in the middle of an old monster flick.
Rampage was a fairly successful arcade title, and was ported to various home systems. A remake of the original hit arcades in 1997. Rampage World Tour featured much improved graphics. The characters were all rendered in a style that reminds me of the Donkey Kong Country series. Additions like power ups made the three player co-op more interesting, and there was a huge variety of new locations, as you would expect from the game's title. This version of Rampage is available on the Playstation Network.
The latest game in the series is Rampage Total Destruction. This was released for the PS2 and the Gamecube, and then ported over to the Wii with a revamped control scheme. The real draw here is the tremendous variety in the monsters players can use to wipe out cities. For a fan of old monster flicks like myself, it was a real treat to see creatures based on favorites of mine like Gillman . The game is loud, obnoxious, and honestly, a pretty good time. The real downside is that only two monsters can team up in Campaign mode. Unfortunate, since four players can play in the head to head modes. I cannot speak for the Wii control scheme, as I only played the Gamecube version, but I have heard it was lacking.
There's something to be said for destroying entire cities, as you take on the role of an enormous, voracious monster. Rampage is one of the best classic games you'll play. If you haven't played it before, you should definitely check it out. Just remember not to eat the dynamite!