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Rampage

Atari 2600

 

 

 

 

 

 

Giant Monster action on the 2600. Rampage was one of those quarter munchers that you could play for hours and hours and it never got old. You star as George the giant gorilla, Lizzie the Lizard, or Ralph the wolf monster in their bid to destroy mankind. The premise of the game is very simple: Destroy everything and eat everyone, exactly what a giant monster game should be.

The 2600 does it's best to capture the feel of the game and pulls out a good job. Once you overlook the obvious graphical disparities underneath is a semi-decent translation of the arcade game. There are many missing graphical elements, such as there never seems to be more than one enemy unit on the screen at any given time. Also all the little humans seem to have very similar sprites. Part of the fun of the arcade was seeing the wide assortment of people you could eat, like you'd punch into a building and see a guy in the bathtub or something. Here they all look the same. (Of course seeing this is a 2600 game you should be happy they are there at all. Anyway...) The buildings in the foreground have absolutely no detail which sometimes makes it hard to tell where you can climb up or not. Also they have a tendency to blink out of existence instead of crumple down, which makes it hard to tell when to get off. The monsters look like they're made out of jelly-lego blocks, but they still have facial expressions (kinda.)

Most of the game play elements did make it into the game however. You can still punch in multiple directions (forward, down, up - to get those annoying helicopters.) You can still jump, climb up buildings, eat people, smash cars, etc. Even the little bonus items like TVs and dangerous items like cactus and bottles of poison are there. Tanks and helicopters still attack you although they look like crap. But the big feature is the two player simultaneous play which has thankfully been retained (it just flickers like mad, but it's there.) And just like the arcade you can beat up your friend and when he shrinks back to his human form you can gobble him up, which to this day is extremely satisfying.

The main problem with this translation is that it's hard to control with a joystick with just one button. You jump when you press the button with the joystick centered, which makes it hard to jump off of buildings before they collapse (and you take damage.) To climb you press up at the edge of a building, but since they lack any detail it's hard to see where you can climb sometimes, especially if a building has holes at the base. More than once I ended up jumping/punching when I wanted to do something else.

This version has 85 cities to destroy, although they all look the same. But they looked the same in the arcade so that's ok. But that was always the problem with this game in any form,  it gets repetitive after a while. Somehow this is a lot more apparent in the 2600 version since it uses all the same graphics for every level. Just how many times can you do the same thing before you get bored?

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