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Arcadia Systems / Binary Desgin 1988



Anyone who's a long time reader of my little reviews here knows I'm a giant monster fan (to a point where some may consider it unhealthy.) Yes my friends, I am happy to say that I am part of the small subspecies of Geekdom that enjoys watching giant fake looking monsters destroy model buildings and crush fleeing crowds of people to death while wind-up tanks get melted in a spray of radioactive death...the beauty of it all...

It really is a crying shame then that games that star giant monsters tend to really just suck. And that's putting it mildly. This game for instance is a DOS translation of a very obscure arcade game (which was based on Amiga hardware I believe.) And while you do get to be an oversized monster, and you do get to dish out a decent amount of city crushing and butt-kicking, the execution of both could be a little more refined.

You get to choose either a large Dragon or an unnamed Orge (which looks like the cyclops from The 7th voyage of Sinbad.) There really isn't much difference between them besides looks. The point of the game is to smash all the buildings in each level to progress and also find a number of giant golden eggs scattered around the various human villages and cities. Locate an egg and you must face off against the other giant monster to procure it. You can punch in all directions and breathe fire, as well as gobble up various bonus items (like Pizza) and the occasional hapless human that gets in your way. What's a giant monster game without being able to eat people?

The levels are arranged in such that you can move into the foreground and background, which gives us the first major problem - in order to hit anything you need to be perfectly lined up with it. If your Orge is off by even a few pixels you'll be sitting there punching air like a chump while the human defenders pepper you with spears and whittle away your health. This limitation is very evident when the humans haul out the catapult (which is the only weapon that does any real damage to you.)

Each level has a different theme - jungle huts, medieval castles, Chinese pagodas, Aztec pyramids, etc, although the differences are pretty much cosmetic. Your main obstacles are the small humans and their lethal catapult in addition to little flying bird and insect things that tend to be more annoying than anything else. If you're lucky enough to have a friend that won't abandon you for forcing him to play games like this then you can go for two player simultaneous play, which actually makes the game a lot easier.

The end result is a good take on the Rampage formula - the varied environments keeps the levels visually interesting, however the actual execution of the game takes some getting used to.

Graphics: Above average for a game from this time. The Dos version is lacking pretty bad compared to it's Amiga counterpart however. The monsters are clear and have a good amount of animation. Backgrounds are easily distinguishable and filled with appropriate details, like the giant idols of your monster in the jungle levels. Little touches throughout the game add a lot of visual appeal, such as your creature developing a bikini if you eat too many women.

Sound: Your PC speaker never sounded so bad. However this may just be some kind of incompatibility issue on my part.

Gameplay: Think Rampage mixed with Final Fight, but not as fun as either of those. The game moves a bit too slow to get any real excitement going. Your monster plods along, forcing you to fight as it's near impossible to dodge anything. It would benefit from more enemy characters (maybe different boss monsters or something.) The unforgiving hit detection will have you tearing your hair out until you get used to it.

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