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Released: 1988

Genre: Adventure

Format reviewed: NES/Famicom

Publisher: Data East

Developer: Data East

Submitted by: Steve L.

Ah Rampage. Next month the NES port turns 20 years old. Who DIDN'T play this game back in the day?  I remember seeing the lovely cover at the local mom 'n pop rental shop EVERGREEN VIDEO and absolutely going nuts. I loved monsters, the cover promised hi-octane action for me and my brother and it just looked like a really sick game. So our dad plopped down the dollar ninety-nine (remember when games were that cheap to rent?  Hell, remember when you used to rent games?!) and that whole car ride home, all 5 minutes of it, I simply couldn't wait to rip into this one. We rushed to our game room, jammed in RAMPAGE and the rest is history. OK, maybe not quite, but the fact that I remember it fondly to this day still speaks volumes, to me at least. Your goal, of course, is to smash down every single last damn building in sight while avoiding enemy fire from the humans, or, you could just eat 'em. Say good-bye to the wolf from the arcade game though.

Even twenty years ago, I knew Rampage wasn't the definition of cutting-edge or splendid gameplay. It's a game best played in 15 minute spurts and with a like-minded bud. Is there a more mindless one trick pony game than NES Rampage?  It is what it is. Fun game once in a while but not something you'll want to play every day. I'll always remember it for its cool box cover art and the premise of allowing kids to live out their fantasies, even if it fell short of what we imagined. Rampage was to me as twinkies were to fat kids everywhere: it was my comfort food. Whenever I didn't feel like playing a new game or taking a chance on that game, I returned to the tried-and-true: RAMPAGE. Even if, like a candy bar, the rush was short-lived and you certainly don't want to consume it every bloody day.

But it's certainly a memorable relic from the NES days.

For full review, see my website RVGFANATIC


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Released: 1990

Genre: Beat-’em-up

Format reviewed: Atari Lynx

Publisher: Atari

Developer: Atari

Submitted by: Darran Jones

So here we are again with another highly polished arcade conversion on the Atari Lynx (we're beginning to see a pattern here).

Rampage was never an amazing arcade experience, primarily due to its repetitive nature, but it was a hell of a lot of fun. After all, you're in charge of a gigantic gorilla/wolfman/ape and are swathing a path of devestation through a large amount of different cities, which is bound to put a smile upon anyone's face.

This Lynx conversion is actually a step up on the arcade original, as it not features a brand new monster in the form of Larry, an oversized rat, but also allows up to four players to demolish a city at once (one more than the coin-op).

Otherwise though, Rampage on the Lynx is pretty much the same as the arcade offering. Graphics, while not showing you as much of the surrounding area as the arcade game, are still very good, with giant, beautifully animated sprites, great detail and some genuinely amusing sprite animations. Sound fares less well and consists of simple explosions and bleepy bloopy music.

While Rampage is an extremely solid converison, it does suffer from exactly the same problem as the coin-op; it's just too limited to play for any amount of time. Grab a couple of mates and you'll have a right laugh, but if you're smashing up the city in solo mode it's not long before boredom sets in and you'll be looking for something else to play.

Rampage is certainly polished, and it's good fun, but it's not something you should bother with unless you have plenty of spare Lynxes and friends hanging about.


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Released: 1988

Genre: Beat-’em-up

Format reviewed: Sega Master System

Publisher: Sega

Developer: Sega

Submitted by: Darran Jones

It’s always disheartening to hear Sega’s Master System being dismissed as the little 8-bit console that nobody cared about, because it really was a cracking little console that sported some superb arcade conversions across a wide range of genres.

Take this excellent conversion of Midway’s Rampage, for example. It might not boast the full three-player experience of the original coin-op and you could argue that the Lynx conversion – which came out a good two years later and sported a fourth character – was arguably superior, but at the time of its release Sega’s effort was virtually untouchable when up against other versions of the time and managed to capture all the chaotic excitement of the hit arcade game.

Taking control of one of three transformed humans – George the Gorilla, Lizzie, a Godzilla wannabe and Ralph the Wolfman – you’re required to smash your way across America, leaving the sort of destruction and devastation in your wake that would, no doubt, give insurers headaches for years to come. As your rampage continues, helicopters fly overhead and pepper you with bullets; soldiers pop out from windows and toss grenades towards you, while tanks pummel you from the ground. Luckily, smashing open buildings will reveal objects that can be eaten to replenish health, but make sure you jump clear before the demolished building collapses.

The Master System’s colour palette does an excellent job of capturing the vibrancy of the original coin-op, while George and co are absolutely huge sprites and are brilliantly animated, capturing all the humour and subtle nuances seen in the arcade original.Sure, there’s a fair amount of flicker to be found, which is a little disheartening, but the conversion is so solid, and the action so fun that this little niggle soon becomes rather irrelevant.

Few games on Sega’s Master System allowed you to create so much gleeful chaos, and while it’s not the best arcade conversion to be found on the machine, it’s still a stunning achievement.