NuMetalManiak Reviews: The Rampage Franchise

NuMetalManiak We were young kids back then, racing to the arcade when our parents would let us, then we would find games that were interesting to us and played them. One such franchise was known as Rampage. Now, the name sure isn't that memorable in the gaming scene, but after seeing the 2018 movie starring Dwayne Johnson, it seemed right for me to go back to a childhood classic, one that actually managed to have several games to its very name. Here they are.

Rampage: World Tour
Rampage 2: Universal Tour
Rampage Through Time
Rampage Puzzle Attack
Rampage: Total Destruction

Now, I only played through the first three games, and I already own the PC version of World Tour as well as Puzzle Attack for the GBA. For the sake of things, I played the original Rampage for the NES port only as well as the N64 ports of World Tour and Universal Tour. I will touch base on Through Time and Total Destruction from what I saw in videos, as I'm not gonna be playing those.

Music: We're gonna do this in a backwards style as opposed to what I usually do for RPG reviewing, but the music is generally action-y, doom-sounding, and techno in the case of the alien worlds in Universal Tour. It's generally listenable. Grade: C

Plot: Puzzle Attack has no plot, and the overall premise of the original Rampage basically sets you as one of the genetically transformed monsters rampaging through numerous US and Canadian cities. World Tour, Universal Tour, Through Time, and Total Destruction all have a certain megacorporation known as Scumlabs basically be responsible for all the mutations of the playable monsters. In World Tour, the monsters basically destroy cities until they get to Scumlabs locations, destroying them. A Scumlabs employee, Dr. Elizabeth "Betty" Veronica, becomes the last living Scumlabs employee, encountering the three playable monsters on the moon and shrinking them, only they just cause havoc inside her spaceship by then.

In Universal Tour, the premise is that the three original monsters (explained in Characters below) are captured and imprisoned in three major cities, New York, London, and Tokyo. Three new monsters are immediately playable, and they journey to these areas, destroying the cities there until they free their fellow brethren. It's by then that aliens show up, initiating takeovers to multiple locations, where the Scumlabs monsters are Earth's only hope against the aliens. After stopping the invasion of Earth, they move on destroying alien bases in the Solar System, then apparently on the alien homeworld. The plot of Through Time takes place after those events, the monster surprise Scumlabs and enter a time machine, terrorizing places in the past, present, and future before being defeated by a saucer-type craft. Total Destruction features Scumlabs being the marketer for a new type of soda, which has apparently caused mutations in up to 30 (or 40) monsters. And yes, there's lots of destruction throughout these plots. They're all pretty simple. Grade: C

Characters: The original trio of Rampage monsters are George (gorilla), Lizzie (Lizard), and Ralph (werewolf). All of them are present in the original arcade game, but ports may have changed things, as the NES port doesn't feature Ralph and I think some other ports omit Lizzie. These characters all go into World Tour as well, with no real differences at all in terms of how they play. Universal Tour changes that by giving characters different stats for climbing, walking, and punching, and also introducing special moves. Plus, George, Lizzie, and Ralph are the three captured monsters, and it is up to Boris (rhino), Ruby (lobster), and Curtis (rat), the three newcomers, to rescue them. At the alien invasion, they also free a green alien named Myukus. There are even two more forms of Myukus achieved by using password cheats. These seven main characters will appear in Puzzle Attack as well as Through Time, with the latter game adding a new mutant named Harley (Warthog). Total Destruction apparently adds a whole slew of mutants, some of them aren't really memorable and may have actually contributed to the fall of the Rampage franchise. Grade: C

Gameplay: This is an arcade game, done in a way that it does the most to exemplify the Rampage experience. Your mutant can destroy buildings on their sides or on their tops, finding items like food and other stuff (some of it dangerous) as well as eating people to regain health. Health is lost from attacks from numerous sources, like people throwing dynamites and bombs, shots from people, tanks, and helicopters, and eating things that aren't really food. Losing all your health causes your mutant to shrink and become human again, completely naked, and walking away unless you hit the continue button (or in some games, there's lives). The game moves on when the city you are in is completely totaled, in terms of building destruction, that is, either by your mutant or by the airstrike, which happens if you take too long in World Tour and above. Most games are done in 2D, but Total Destruction takes the destruction to 3D (and makes your mutants burp and fart every time they eat something, which from what I saw, is pretty annoying). The majority of destruction in the Rampage series takes place in the US and Canada, with World Tour allowing you to reach cities around the globe. Universal Tour ups the world destruction further, while Through Time takes place in past, present and future. Puzzle Attack is actually a reskin of the puzzle game Drop Mania, which involves dropping two puzzle blocks, eliminating those by using a specific action block of sorts, with several game modes.

Since these are arcade games, you can play with multiple players, which can add to some fun "buddy bashing" moments in between the rampant destruction. Through Time is the only game that seems to add monsters to the playing field, regardless of whether you are playing alone or not. There's also several bonus games in the series, most of these minigames are okay at best, but Through Time, from what I've seen, takes this too far, and that might be why it's one of the least received games of the franchise. Of course, Total Destruction was also very badly received, and it seems that critics really just don't enjoy the repetitive destruction that is the game's real premise. Dunno why, but why would I listen to big-time critics like that? Oh, and if you want to know, my favorite of the series will always be World Tour, a game I've been playing since first grade. I will now close this review with my overall grades for each game.

Rampage: C+
Rampage: World Tour: A-
Rampage 2: Universal Tour: B+
Rampage Through Time: C-
Rampage Puzzle Attack: C
Rampage: Total Destruction: D