Rampage World Tour

a game by Game Refuge Inc.

Platform: Nintendo 64Nintendo 64

Genre: Action

See also: Rampage Games

When Rampage first appeared in the arcades way back in the mists of time, it was an unusual idea. The gameplay involved controlling a massive mutant creature and rampaging through various cities, destroying the buildings, trampling the armed forces I and eating little old ladies. It must I have been a bit of a gamble at the time, when shoot-'em-ups were the most popular games, but someone had obviously noted kids' propensity for violent destruction and, sure enough, everyone took to the game like King Kong to the Empire State Building.

Rampage soon made the transition to the home computer market, with versions being released on both the Sinclair Spectrum and the Commodore 64, amongst others. Even on these machines, with their limited capabilities and primitive graphics, this destructive demolition game met with great success. There was just something so satisfying about finally toppling the buildings and eating that last annoying sniper.

Now, after what must seem like an interminable wait, Rampage is back, revamped, reworked and ready to rock!

Devastatingly Good?

Rampage World Tour is the N64 take on the original coin-op. Basically the storyline behind the game runs as follows. You and two friends have been affected by chemicals from a massive chemical company called Scum Labs and mutated into huge monstrous creatures - a giant gorilla, a huge werewolf and a massive lizard.

You're a little bit miffed about this, as you would be - imagine how difficult it must be to find shoes when your feet are the size of cars - and so you and your gargantuan pals set out to sort out Scum Labs by trashing their complexes around the world, causing as much chaos and damage as you can along the way.

Which is basically where the game starts. You're introduced to the game by a panicky news reporter with a story of huge beasts rampaging through a city. Then your characters appear, grin at you, descend to street level, and it's time for the devastation to begin!

The characters in Rampage have three basic moves: a kick, a punch and a jump. You start the game standing in the street in front of some buildings, with a few people screaming and maybe the odd car or policeman. To begin your reign of terror, you need to climb onto a building and this is accomplished by moving to the side of it and pressing up. Once hanging on the building, you can kick or punch it to slowly destroy it. Punching is slower than kicking, but can reveal bonus items or people, who can then be grabbed and eaten. Kicking the building will devastate the place faster, but you pick up fewer bonuses this way.

For the fastest rate of destruction, you need to climb onto the roof of the building and pound it repeatedly with your fist, sending shockwaves down through the entire structure. Some buildings will also have bouncy roofs, which you can jump upon to squash the building in record time.

Each structure can take a certain amount of damage before it collapses, at which time you need to jump off, or get brought down with it, losing energy in the process.

To begin with, the opposition to your destructive rampage is fairly sparse - just a few people with guns and maybe the odd helicopter. As you progress from town to town and country to country, your opponents increase in number and strength, and you'll run into all manner of armed enemies, from jet fighters to little ED-209 style battle robots.

Hidden Dangers

Apart from the direct opposition, your creatures are going to encounter other hazards. Neon signs for example, will electrocute you if you punch them when they're on. Some stages have large areas of water which swallow you and can make it difficult to get onto buildings, and in addition to the bonuses you can uncover within buildings, you'll also find a number of rather less tasty objects that have detrimental effects if you grab for them.

I have to admit that I haven't played Rampage in the arcade all that much, but it does appear that this is a fairly faithful conversion, reproducing the graphics and the gameplay extremely well. The action is fast and furious, with a lot of humorous animation sequences when certain things happen - if you inadvertently punch another monster, for example, they jump on each other and have a brief fight, complete with a cartoon-style cloud of dust.

There are, however, a few niggles. One of these is the problem that you can't hold onto one building and strike another. I'm not sure whether this was in the arcade version, but on home computer versions you certainly used to be able to lean out and destroy a building whilst hanging onto another one. In this version, you have to physically climb onto every building.

And the buildings themselves seem just too weak. Without meaning to sound like an old fuddy-duddy, I can remember playing the Spectrum version, in which to destroy a building you'd have to strategically hammer it at certain key points until it fell. In the N64 version, you pretty much hit the building anywhere you like, and the whole place just comes crashing down. Whilst this does actually speed things up, it also makes everything a lot easier, and this is the other real problem with Rampage - there's no real challenge to it. The game gives you infinite credits, so when you die you can just keep coming back. This, combined with the ease with which the buildings fall, means that there's no particular skill required to complete the game - you just keep hammering things and then restarting when you get killed. There's no incentive to preserve energy, or search for food, because you can just start anew if you die.

This basically means that you will eventually find yourself going from level to level while everyting starts to get... well, 'bland'. Even the variety of enemies, the various locations around the world and the different ability power-ups you find don't really serve to postpone the boredom for long.

It's Not Bad Though...

Don't get me wrong, Rampage is fun to play, particularly if you get together with two friends for a destruction derby. However, there's little on the N64 version to really distinguish it as an N64 game. Graphically, aside from a few little between-level clips, the game is practically identical to the PlayStation version, which is not to say that it's bad, but if you were hoping for N64-driven 3D graphics -forget it!

All in all, Rampage World Tour is still an entertaining game, it's just a little disappointing. Fans of the arcade machine will doubtless love it, but as for anyone else, particularly anyone who ever had a home computer version, it'd be best to try before you buy. After the first 15 minutes or so, you'll have a fairly good idea of what it's like.

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Rampage World Tour Downloads

Nintendo 64 Rampage World Tour download

Arcade conversion where giant monsters trash buildings and eat people. Sounds fun, but is repetitive and mind-numbing.

reggie posted a review

This conversion of the age-old arcade classic is fun and brings back fond memories. But. ultimately, it's an expensive and limited outing.

reggie posted a review
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