Overall Rating: 3/5
Once upon a time, an arcade-style Japanese import hit American soil as a video game on the Nintendo Entertainment System that starred a Godzilla-like lizard monster and a King Kong-like gorilla monster who tore cities apart and wreaked worldwide mayhem. That game was Rampage, and years later its impact is still being felt, as it and its many sequels have sold hundreds of thousands of units and inspired a whole new genre of cityscape-destroying fun. But was it even a decent game?
This title was neither spectacular nor horrible in the graphics department. The NES certainly had graphical limitations; but even that is no excuse for some of the travesties in this adventure, such as the utter lack of background in certain levels or the crude, outlined appearance of some items. Otherwise though, it was passable, and looked best when the military showed up for full-on attacks.
The soundtrack was basic, not offering anything truly revolutionary. In fact, some areas lack any semblance to background music at all, and it is clear that the developers spent minimal time ensuring this game sounded good. If anything, the sound effects almost provide more humor than anything else, as you encounter the droll tones of attacking trains and the wimpy pop from the puny tanks.
This truly was a unique game for its time. Yes, there was a Godzilla game for Nintendo, but it was an interstellar quest highlighted by boss matches, not a colorful globe-romping city-stomping destructionfest like Rampage. The two-player cooperative mode was a highlight as well, but Rampage was highlighted by its simplicity, being the video game equivalent of a popcorn action flick at the theaters. Sit back, relax, enjoy, no deep thought necessary.
This is a source of contention for some fans: While many argue that the actual gameplay is overly repetitive, others say that this kind of mindless havoc is perfect for a town-tromping marathon. The fun factor varies widely from person to person, since some insist that the novelty of playing as a monster that flattens entire buildings is awesome, while others spot the same pixelated opposition for thirty levels in a row and cry lame!
For the reason of a lack of depth, the game cannot score too high, but it is definitely worth a spin if you have never experienced it before. All in all, a decent three stars out of five for being enjoyable without being transcendant.
For an examination on other arcade ports for the Nintendo Entertainment System, examine NintendoLegend.com.