Final Glimpse: Forget about the Hulk. In Rampage, George (or Ralph, or Lizzie) SMASH!
Midway's Rampage franchise has enjoyed years of success just by exploiting a very simple premise: smash, repeat. It's not hard to understand why gamers keep coming back to the title, and why Midway keeps coming out with new versions of it every couple of years. The game is crazy fun. See, I figure many gamers grew up the way I did: on a steady diet of Saturday afternoon giant monster movies. Godzilla. Mothra. Gidorah. And also to a lesser extent, the show Ultraman also fed the inherent need to see guys in rubber monster suits duke it out in scale model representations of major cities. Naturally, kids want to emulate this behavior in one way or another. For some of us, this meant building elaborate play-towns with your blocks or your LEGOs and then smashing it to pieces. For others, this meant heading down to the local arcade and plunking quarter after quarter into the Rampage machine. Rampage taps into a very primal need: kick the crap out of everything in sight.
Now Midway is about to release another installment of the game on the Gamecube (and, incidentally, on the PS2 as well). In Rampage: Total Destruction
, the three stand-bys are back: George the Ape, Ralph the Werewolf, and (my personal favorite) Lizzy the Dinosaur. Of course, these three represent iconic figures in monster lore. Think King Kong and Godzilla, and though no werewolf ever got to destroy Tokyo or climb the Empire State Building, we can always imagine that in their darkest heart of hearts, they really really wanted to.
In Rampage, the monsters are mutated beasts created by an evil corporation, and the destruction serves a purpose. The trio pummels away at seven different city scenarios (Las Vegas, San Francisco, London, Los Angeles, Chicago, Hong Kong, and New York) in order to free other monsters around the world. As you free these monsters, they become playable characters. There are 27 new monsters this time, each with their own special attack attributes, which hikes the total roster to 30 overall. The character designs somewhat resemble those gigantic beasties one could control in Black and White, but these things aren't made to do a god's bidding. The new animals are out there to kill, maim, and destroy. They include a giant rat, nautilus, lion, squid, and a turtle. Yes, a tribute to Gamera (giant turtle and friend to all children) finally gets some Rampage screen time!
Midway figures that they shouldn't mess around too much with something that works. The main way of smashitude lies in campaign mode, where you choose to play as one of the three main Rampagers and attempt to trash each city in order to free your fellow humongous monsters. As you rage in the city, items appear, but not all of them work in your favor. Oh, sure. You can still pick up unsuspecting citizens and eat them for sustenance, but now your monster has to pay attention to what he or she chomps down on. Not all power-ups are friendly. Some may be downright nasty and harm your beastie.
Rampage has always shined in the multi-player department, and this installment is no different. In addition to the campaign mode, there are two other modes to sate your appetite for destruction: King of the City and King of the World. They both have similar goals: the more havoc you cause, the more points are awarded, and whoever has the most points at the end of it wins. ?City? and ?World? just refer to the environments, either you choose a single city to demolish or go through the seven cities and obliterate them all. In these modes, any unlocked monster can be used, and players can even import their own monster from their memory card saves.
Total Destruction also includes the original arcade versions of Rampage
and Rampage: World Tour
to help satiate your need for wreckage, and at a bargain price of $19.99, this game is tempting, particularly to fans of the franchise. Like the other Rampages, there isn't much to the new installment. Just smash and smash and keep smashing and don't get killed in the process, but that's pretty much enough. It's a fun ?just-pick-up-the-controller? game where you don't need to slog through a thick manual or hours of cutscenes to get to the gameplay. Sometimes the simplest things work best.