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Rampage: Total Destruction

Score: 88%
ESRB: Everyone 10+
Publisher: Midway
Developer: Pipeworks Software, Inc.
Media: GCD/1
Players: 1 - 4
Genre: Arcade/ Classic/Retro/ Party

Graphics & Sound:

Well, it had to happen at some point... Eventually, a 3D remake of an arcade classic would be great, even to the extent that - gasp - it might trump the original! Just as Midway was a reliable name in the glory days of arcade hits, we now have Rampage Total Destruction to recall the good old days of gaming and welcome in the newest generation. If you have doubts as to how far we've come, just click through to the playable copy of the original game to get a sense of how the landscape looked back when paisley was still cool.

Okay, I know paisley is back. And if paisley can come back, then so can Rampage. What makes this game compelling isn't that it comes packed with every mode known to man, all the bells and whistles. Consider this as "in the tradition" but better. If the nightmare of watching monsters tear down cities was memorable in the eighties, you'll love seeing it all in 3D glory. Cars and helicopters explode, buildings crumble gradually before falling down around your ears, and SWAT vans discharge teams of sharpshooters hoping to bag a big, bad, monster. All the visual pizzazz is married to some great, over-the-top sound effects. Grab the wrong item to eat as you plunder a building, and your monster might end up with a mouth full of flames, or a nasty electric shock. Even a busted pipe can prove calamitous and send you tumbling down to street level with a gush of water. The music is driving rock, which fits the mood, but I would have liked more variety or name brand tunes. In game chatter is great, including some awesome comments from the people as you eat them, or the puny cops chasing you around on the ground.


For those without any previous exposure to Rampage, the name gives it all away. Wanton destruction was never this good, and you thought GTA involved a lot of senseless violence? Only the campy, monster-movie feel of Rampage: Total Destruction marks it as more humor than horror. Talk about "pick up and play" - all you need to get into the action here is to pick a monster and start beating the heck out of some classic world cities. No special tools except for a building-sized monster and some button-mashing. Kicking and punching, sweeping up bleating humans and popping them down like's constant mayhem here.

The novelty of the Rampage formula was that it served up good, destructive fun for one, and also was a great beat-down game for two players. Tear down the city, and beat up your buddy at the same time. Rampage: Total Destruction goes two better, offering up to four players the chance to wage war against the city and each other. In the two competitive modes, King of the City and King of the World, you are pitted against some combination of human and CPU opponents, fighting for points. Tearing up the city is still important, but tearing down your opponents is equally important. The Campaign and Time Attack modes let you play against the cops or the clock. Campaign is the only way to unlock all the cities in the game, as well as special attacks and new monsters. The incentive to complete the game and then replay it for special items is tuned right, and players just looking for a quick, fun ride aren't penalized in the least for not collecting specials.

As mentioned above, full versions of the original Rampage and Rampage World Tour are ready for play immediately, and make Rampage: Total Destruction feel much like a Rampage "Greatest Hits" version. If you're like me, you'll find yourself pulled back to the new game, but it's nice to see and play this history of the series.


There is a learning curve and the enemies you battle don't get very serious until you have completed the first few cities. Seeing my three year-old son pick Rampage: Total Destruction up and work his way through a few levels proves the ramp is not a steep one. I suppose there isn't a huge amount of challenge in the sense that game dynamics are identical from level to level. A cynic might say the whole Rampage formula is nothing more than a fancy treasure hunt. The addition of special challenges and boss levels injects more excitement into Rampage: Total Destruction than previous games, and the boss levels are increasingly difficult.

Game Mechanics:

You'd be forgiven if, looking at the game manual, you mistook Rampage: Total Destruction for a fighting game. Lots of moves, especially useful when battling other players or trying to take out pesky helicopters and cops. Generally speaking, the only things you can't do without are that are controls used to jump, punch and kick. All variations on these are novelty, at best. In boss battles or against large groups of enemies, it is helpful to have some powered-up attacks or know some combos. Apart from these times, using combos is mostly in the interest of speed and points. In many cases, blasting through a level will deprive you of combo points, and just because you can destroy a city quickly doesn't mean you're getting maximum benefit. In this sense, I found that the controls lacked some precision when it came to grabbing items. Trashing a building will pop up icons representing power-ups or traps. Each appears in a window, and the idea is that you can grab the item or avoid it by positioning your monster near the window. I had the damnedest time getting any of the monsters to really move around and grab the way I needed them to, but it's not like this is brain surgery. Destroying a whole city block only allows for so much precision, and I was able to get items about 70% of the time. It's when your health is running low that you'll find this frustrating, and that doesn't happen until the higher levels.

I love that it is possible to unlock a huge variety of monsters via the power-ups, and there are plenty of great cities to destroy. There's very little to tarnish Rampage: Total Destruction, other than being a niche title with a limited shelf life outside of dedicated retro gamers' libraries. I can't think of many instances where I would have sided with the remake over the original, but I can safely say that Rampage: Total Destruction is everything and more than I expected. And if you're a purist, you can have your cake and eat it too, with the two previous games contained here. Rampage Perfect Collection anyone?

-Fridtjof, GameVortex Communications
AKA Matt Paddock

Microsoft Xbox 360 2006 FIFA World Cup Sony PlayStation 2 OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast

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