Review: [badly dubbed Japanese] Oh no! Bad remake! [/badly dubbed Japanese]
The original arcade edition of Rampage is 20 years old this year, and because of that momentous milestone, Midway released Rampage: Total Destruction, a 3D update to the series with more monsters, more cities and helpless people-sized snacks.
So what does a new version of Rampage get you after all of these years? Not much more than the original actually. Like any modern remake, there's a little more story and a lot more 3D. And the 3D is where there's a problem. Every building now has a small 3D lip to its side, so it's kind of hard to line yourself up against a building to properly climb it. Trying to squash a helicopter, tank or SWAT team works much the same way. If you're not lined up just so
with your target, you won't be able to attack it. A fifty foot monster versus a tiny tank and because you're not lined up in the tank's even tinier "attack zone" will result in your monster getting a missile right in the kisser.
In addition to the wacky 3D the controls are sometimes a problem. When your monster is standing on top of a building it's very easy to jump and try to smash the roof, but instead you'll accidentally jump off the building. Then you've got to line yourself up again and climb back to the top. Then you'll accidentally jump off again, which means you'll have to... you get my drift. Another fun control gaffe is the ability to jump at a flying enemy from atop a building and no matter how you flail your monster limbs, you won't be able to his the helicopter/UFO/whatever.
The game's "quirky" graphics and controls do fade into the background as you get more experience with them. You'll either stop doing things you know you can't do (like jumping at helicopters) or things that are hard become easier (climbing buildings). And then it's smashing time. But even smashing time loses its luster rather quickly.
Don't get me wrong, ripping apart a building from lobby to penthouse is great fun. And munching on pedestrians and flinging cars around with the new "Grab" button is a hoot and a half. But you can only do those things for so long before they become repetitive and RTD becomes repetitive real fast. The back of the box touts seven different and thirty different monsters. But the cities all have a very similar look. Crushing a skyscraper in San Francico is no different from crushing a skyscraper in Chicago which isn't much different from crushing a skyscraper in LA (allowing smashing the Midway offices in LA was mildly satisfying. SMASH! That's for L.A. Rush ya bastards!).
The game's thirty different monsters also give you a wide variety of fiends from gorillas to rams to Godzilla-types to wolves to everything in between. But they all control roughly the same. They all look very different (and being able to ravage a city as a giant, walking squid is
fun) and they move in slightly different ways and at different speeds, but they're all basically the same. They all have the same special moves and no one monster feels "better" than any of the others. Once you unlock the special moves for you, that's the monster you'll stick with.
With new 3D graphics, this is the best looking version of Rampage yet. Monsters and buildings have the most solid look and feel they've ever had and raining destruction on a city that crumbles all around you is cool. But as I said above, almost all of the buildings look exactly the same and if you're not paying attention you'll forget exactly what city it is you're supposed to be destroying. The sound effects have also all been redone to provide more screaming, more army chatter and more explosions.
To make this a true anniversary package, the original arcade versions of Rampage and Rampage: World Tour are also included on the disc. They're a nice little diversion, but the original Rampage has not aged well. And while World Tour is still a fun game, it doesn't feel like a full game and it's still just an "extra" on the Total Destruction disc.