Review: Rampage! (Atari 2600)

In this review, we level entire cities in the action game Rampage! This time, we are trying the Atari 2600 version.

This game was released in 1989 and would be one of many ports released after the arcade version.

The idea is that you select one of three monsters (George, Ralph, or Lizzie) and rampage through cities.

The objective is simply to level every building on the stage to move on to the next stage. You’ll be visiting numerous cities around the world like Chicago and Detroit. As you clear each stage, you get treated to a newspaper headline detailing your exploits (well, sort of) in a sometimes amusing fashion.

You’ll encounter numerous enemies and things to destroy. This includes cars, helicopters that shoot at you, and tanks that shell you, trying to knock you off of the various buildings you are attempting to destroy.

While some of the encounters come across the land and air, a few of your encounters can come from the windows in the buildings themselves. This can include a citizen screaming (which you can eat for points) or an armed person shooting at you.

Randomly, destroyed parts of the building will reveal something. Sometimes it’s a healthy, uh, object. Most of the time, it’s something harmful.

You get three lives to try and inflict maximum damage on the earth. The more damage, the higher the score. Once those three lives are gone, its game over.

The thing about this game is the fact that, yes, the basics are there. Food, enemies, cars, even the occasional trolley can be found in this game. Beyond that, there’s not a whole lot to say about this game that is interesting in any positive way.

One of the problems in this game is the points in where you can climb onto the buildings are overly sensitive. Sometimes, you can spend several seconds trying to push up while wandering around to find that small point that you can start climbing. It isn’t all that easy to find either. This ends up leading to some frustrations.

Another problem is that it is a bit difficult to really take down buildings at first. This game isn’t exactly user friendly in this area either. You can’t punch out the windows, so, instead, you have to punch out the areas above and below those windows.

Even if you take out those, well, blocks, it is unlikely those taller buildings are going to come down. You have to figure out that you need to punch at an angle downward to take out the outer walls too. Only then can you consistently bring down buildings.

The newspaper headlines were a nice concept at first, but they get really repetitive really quick. It’s like there was about a half a dozen headlines that the game can randomly pick. As a result ,the novelty wears off quick.

In addition to this, the idea that this game was released in 1989 makes this experience even worse. Why is that? You have to take into consideration that this game was released in the same year as Mega Man 2 on the NES. Knowing this, the experience of this game just doesn’t even compare to the NES games being released by this time.

So, generally speaking, while I do enjoy playing the Rampage games, I think this ends up being a waste of time. While it was a nice effort to include the basics of what is found in this game and cram it into an Atari 2600 game, I have a hard time understanding what the point was.

Graphically speaking, while it wasn’t terrible for an Atari 2600 game, it was terrible when compared to other games released on other consoles at the time. The objects in the game are so bad, you can’t even identify them.

In terms of audio, well, there was no music. The sound effects were basic, but there was nothing to really get too excited over.

So, in general, while Rampage! games can be entertaining, this one is definitely one of those games to avoid. For a 1989 game, this just doesn’t pass muster. The gameplay is frustrating, the headlines get repetitive after a few rounds, there is no music, the sound effects are really basic, the graphics are really bad for a console game at this time, and since it was so late in the Atari 2600 console life span, it almost seemed like a pointless release at this stage. So, I say, don’t bother with this one. There’s better games to be played out there.


Top score: 35,200

General gameplay: 9/25
Replay value: 3/10
Graphics: 1/10
Audio: 1/5

Overall rating: 28%

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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